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Demystify 5 Cobot Myths
June 30, 2020 Blog


By: Darrell Adams, Head, Southeast Asia & Oceania, Universal Robots

When we think about robots, we tend to imagine large, menacing industrial robots that tower over us, assembling large parts in an automotive plant or moving heavy components across a shopfloor, with humans standing a safe distance away, separated by fencing.

Yet, there are smaller cousins of industrial robots, known as cobots (collaborative robots), that are found easily in bakeries and even surgery rooms, which work harmlessly beside humans, yielding to every demand of their human operators. Let us dispel myths surrounding cobots.

1. Cobots replace jobs

For ages, the message within manufacturing has been that robots steal jobs. However, it is not true in the case of cobots. Cobots actually relieve workers from strenuous and repetitive tasks so that they can take on better, more exciting roles within the company. And, with the cobots helping to increase productivity, companies often find themselves in a position to hire more people, thus creating jobs, not eliminating them.


  1. Robotics automation is for complex, large-scale operations

When most people think of robots, the image of a large, lumbering box used on assembly lines often comes to mind. But the reality is, with the flexibility of cobots, companies can automate even the simplest of tasks. Regardless of the scale of output, cobots can be deployed for processes that are repetitive, manual, or potentially strenuous for workers.


  1. It’s a hassle to implement and maintain robots

It is true that some robots are large, cumbersome and difficult to operate. But not cobots. Cobots are easy to implement, operate, and maintain. Cobots are compact and lightweight, there is no need to change the production layout when switching the cobot between tasks. They are easily programmed or re-deployed and require minimal maintenance.


  1. Cobots are dangerous

With traditional robots, it is impossible to work with them side-by-side without some serious safety concerns. Given their built-in safety functions, cobots and individuals can work in tandem without needing cages (subject to assessment).

One company that relies heavily on the ability to work closely with cobots is PLC Industries in Singapore. PLC Industries places employee safety as a top priority, since workers need to work in close proximity of the robots. The company wanted to ensure that the robots were able to operate efficiently and safely within confined spaces. After extensive evaluation, PLC Industries determined that the Universal Robots’ UR10 cobots meet such requirements, with no need for safety guarding.


5. Cobots are costly

There is some truth to this myth – robots can be expensive. But that is not true for every kind of robot. For cobots, upfront costs are typically only 20% of traditional robots, with an average payback period as short as six to eight months. Cobots are cost-effective and their installation requires minimal investment, given they do not need major infrastructure changes. And, unlike traditional robots, they can also be redeployed to different functions in the production line and used around-the-clock.