Collaborative robots are helping large manufacturers to automate industrial tasks that are too repetitive, too boring, or even too dangerous for human workers: jobs like packaging and palletizing, welding, plasma cutting, machine tending, demurring, pick-and-place, or quality inspection.

For a company that’s not quite a large manufacturer, however, can “cobots” still help with automation?

In a recent Tech Briefs webinar titled Collaborative Robotics: Safely Connecting Man and Machine, a reader had the following question:

How can a collaborative robot help manufacturers looking to scale their business? Are there any benefits that may vary from traditional industrial automation?”

Read the edited response below from Israel Nunez, an implementation engineer at the Denmark-based Universal Robots.

Israel Nunez, Implementation Engineer, Universal Robots: With collaborative robots, there are some additional benefits for a manufacturer who is trying to scale their business. You see collaborative robots a lot in the high-mix, low-volume environments, but they can really help any manufacturer that’s in these growing stages.

You may have to do a lot of changeover in between parts, or you may not know what’s coming down the line. With collaborative robots, not only are they easy to redeploy and program, you also have the peripheral ecosystem set up to allow you to also easily modify the tooling that goes on the robot. You can scale the actual application when it comes to the programming side, as well as the hardware required to make sure that you’re able to automate a variety of tasks that are maybe coming down the line and may be known or unknown at that point.

Have collaborative robots improved your manufacturing processes? Share your comments and questions below.