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Do you need a collaborative robot?

Do you need a collaborative robot?

Automation and artificial intelligence have been widely integrated in many science and technology industries. Now collaborative robots (cobots) are making their entrance but is your business ready? Do you actually need a cobot or are you concerned about behind left behind if you don’t acquire one? LG Motion have recently considered this exact proposition.

LG Motion, providers of electro-mechanical solutions for science and industry, are in the business of motion technology; things that go up and down, in and out and round and round. Their bespoke solutions help enable research, development and manufacturing to move forward. Therefore, it was logical for the company to consider not only how, but if, cobots could fit into their customers’ processes.

In 2019, LG Motion signed a deal with HMK to supply and integrate the Techman cobots alongside LG’s motion control systems. They had realised the practical applications and advantages such technology could bring to the workplace and so started to design solutions for their customers that incorporated cobots.

Cobot considerations

Automation: A top line benefit of a cobot is its suitability to undertake repetitive tasks and automated systems, such as sorting, assembly, inspection and loading.

Labour costs: Labour costs are only going to keep rising so it makes sense to audit processes and understand where the labour intensive pinch points are. If these are occurring around repetitive and low-skilled tasks, it makes perfect sense to look for an automated alternative. This would also enable staff to be redeployed to jobs more suited to their skillset, making a much better use of their time and expertise.

Cost: As cobot technology develops, so the cost of manufacture and therefore purchase reduces. However, investing in a cobot or two is undoubtedly a significant time and money cost – learning how best to integrate a cobot will take time. But when compared to the constant rise in labour cost, and the ability to put that labour to more effective use, we may have reached the financial tipping point.

Purpose: Budget permitting, it’s tempting to acquire a cobot immediately. LG Motion have been painstaking in making sure a cobot is the right fit for their customers. They offer a consultative approach, looking at current systems and seeing first if there is a motion control solution. Businesses need to understand their own processes and break them down: could a cobot enhance any area, financially or logistically?

LG Motion might have the technology ready to sell on to their partners and customers, but they are also advising them to carefully consider their options. Is their business actually ready for cobots? Are cobots the right fit for the business’ purpose?

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