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Robots VS Cobots

Robots, the independent equipment used within automation VS Cobots, the co-dependent equipment used alongside humans in automated industries.


Industrial robots are automated, programmable systems used for manufacturing, they are capable of movement on three or more axes. Typical use for these type of robots are welding, painting, assembly, disassembly, pick and place (for printed circuit boards, packaging and labelling), palletizing, product inspection and testing. Industrial robots can assist in material handling and accomplish this at high speed and precision without the limitations of human speed and safety.


According to the International Federation of Robotics (IFR), "in 2020 an estimated 1.64 million industrial robots were in operation worldwide."


There are 6 major industrial robot types based on mechanical configuration, these are:

Articulated robots, cartesian robots, SCARA robots, Delta robots, polar robots and cylindrical robots (or spherical coordinate robots). Apart from mechanical configuration, industrial robots can also be categorized based on motion control, power supply control and physical characteristics.


Another type of robot is of course collaborative robots, also known as Cobots.

The usual major robots used in industries are isolated from humans as they work independently, whereas these robots work in unison with humans to create a more efficient working environment.


The IFR recognise two types of robots;

1) Industrial robots used in automation (in an industrial environment)

2) service robots for domestic and professional use.

Cobots could be considered service robots as they work alongside humans. Industrial robots have traditionally worked separately from humans behind fences or other protective barriers, but cobots remove that separation.


The typical use for Cobots are service robots, logistics robots that transport materials to industrial robots that help automate unergonomic tasks such as helping people moving heavy parts, machine feeding or assembly operations.


According to the IFR, there are four levels of collaboration between industrial robots (cobots) and human workers. These are;

  • Coexistence: Human and robot work alongside each other without a fence, but with no shared workspace.

  • Sequential Collaboration: Human and robot are active in shared workspace but their motions are sequential; they do not work on a part at the same time.

  • Cooperation: Robot and human work on the same part at the same time, with both in motion.

  • Responsive Collaboration: The robot responds in real-time to movement of the human worker.


To keep up with the fast paced environment of various industries that use automation both Robots and Cobots have important functions to keep companies on top of demand and evolution without affecting workflow.

Speak to us at Orion today to discover how we can help keep your company on top of your industry workload.



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