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Collaborative Robots are Hot, Setting Trends for Industry 4.0

By Chung-Hung Huang

Industrial robot manufacturers are all very aware that even if factories are seriously under-staffed and have difficulties finding new recruits, the workforce will not be completely replaced by robotic arms. Hence the idea that robots could be used to assist the existing labor force, that is, robots for human-robot cooperation (Collaborative Robot) was born.

Around the year 2000, the application model for industrial robots was for the pipeline style of production, which featured coordinating steps with the extensive use of jigs and fixtures for synchronized processing. Around 2010, robot-robot cooperation came into being, where robotics applications are used in a continuous production mode, using robots to replace the jigs and fixtures. The application of human-robot collaboration emerged after 2013, where quick changeovers can take place on a production line, and teachable operations can be used to perform non-synchronized processing. The key issue for this type of collaboration is safety, i.e. human interaction safeguards.

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