Automate a CNC Machine in 2 to 3 Hours with Cobots
The labor shortage is an ongoing concern in manufacturing, as the COVID-19 pandemic triggered employee moves across industries and put in place new guidelines for sick days and isolations at many manufacturing facilities. In short, it’s now more difficult to fill factory positions.
For decades, automation has been touted as the solution to labor shortages—to the point of workers fearing they would be replaced by robots. In reality, research has shown that the opposite is closer to the truth: when companies automate dull, dirty and dangerous tasks, they upskill those workers to tend the robots, or hire additional workers to support increased capacity triggered by the increased productivity of the robot. However, these trends take place over months and years, according to the equipment budgets and expertise of manufacturing companies. To address immediate labor shortages caused by the pandemic, solutions are needed immediately.
“When a machine shop owner struggles to find employees to do the work, their first instinct is to look for new CNC machines that can run unattended for longer and with shorter changeover times,” said Samuel Bouchard, CEO of Robotiq, in a press release. “But those machines are costly, and this, combined with a longer lead time, makes for a less than ideal solution.
”Bouchard’s company, Robotiq, specializes in these flexible automation challenges. The company manufactures collaborative end effectors, accessories and automation software.
What Are Collaborative Robots?
For readers not familiar with the term, collaborative robots, or “cobots,” are a subset of industrial robots that are designed to work safely with humans. This can include 6-axis arm robots, mobile robots, delta robots, or any robot that traditionally poses safety risks and other challenges that prevent humans from working in the area of the robot.