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Collaborative Robots as Important Tools in Battling COVID-19
October 13, 2020 News

 

This pandemic has proven that technologies can help, assist or replace humans in doing numerous tasks as the deployment of the workforce is limited. Robots, for instance, have definitely been used extensively in many industries. But what about as a viable solution to help businesses and their employees to observe protocols and mitigate the spread of COVID-19?

This was one of the central issues discussed throughout the 3-day “WeAreCobots APAC” virtual expo organised by Universal Robots last week. According to Pradeep David, General Manager, South Asia, Universal Robots, it is now imperative for organisations to invest in cobots, or collaborative robots, as they can do multiple tasks that help in future-proofing the business, whether during the pandemic or after.

“When you make an investment in a collaborative robot, you’re not just making the investment for a particular purpose itself. Cobots are so flexible, you can use them for emergencies as and when you see fit”, said Pradeep during a session titled “Conquering Manufacturing in the COVID-19 Era with Cobots” – one among the many sessions during the event that explored the collaboration of humans and robots in many industries.

The flexibility and usefulness of cobots have become even more apparent today, as collaborative robots are now used as alternatives in jobs that are deemed risky for humans, such as detecting a person’s temperature, sanitising surfaces and objects and even enforcing social distancing in many locations. These cobots are now deployed in many places, in malls that have automated alcohol dispensers, as disinfecting robots and some robots are even equipped with speakers.

“Think of it as a human arm. You use a human arm for just about everything, right? That’s exactly what a collaborative robot can do, and it’s multi-purpose. That’s where the beautiful return on investment calculation comes in. You don’t need to buy it just for one application”, explained Pradeep.

Another advantage of cobots is their quick deployment and redeployment. In many cases, like in establishments using cobots for health protocols against COVID-19, they are lightweight and can be moved from one location to another easily.

With these features and capabilities, cobots can help businesses, whether they are small or big, in battling the pandemic. For Pradeep, humans and technologies should go hand in hand in these particular times because “even small companies can now deploy cobots, not just the large companies that have plenty. We’re in a period where human and a robot can now work right next to each other”.

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