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Differences between a robot and a cobot

When you’re in the business of collaborative robots, or cobots, you often get asked the question – well what is the difference between cobots and robots? So, while I have your attention, let’s have a quick look at the key differences between the traditional idea of robots and cobots.

Naturally, the kind of robots Hollywood shows us and the kind of robots factory workers are used to are two very different things, so just to clarify, we’re going to be talking about the differences between traditional factory robots and cobots.

Firstly and most importantly, cobots are built to be so safe they can work alongside people without there being a risk. Classical industrial robots are often very large and very fast and as a result, are kept behind guards to protect the humans working in the same area. With a cobot this is eliminated entirely as they are specifically designed to work together with people rather than for them.

Secondly, robots are often programmed to do one job and repeat it continuously, whereas cobots can learn by demonstration and can be easily reprogrammed to learn a new job. Also with the ever-growing range of End of Arm Tools available, changing the nature of the job is simple.

Next and a really big advantage of using cobots instead of a more traditional robot is that they are lightweight and easy to move around, most of them can be mounted to any surface and are light enough to be moved by just one person. As mentioned before, traditional factory robots are contained in cages and are difficult to install and move around.

Moving on from that point, because they’re so easy to move around and teach, cobots see a much quicker return on investment. Though of course, it also helps that they’re significantly cheaper than most industrial robots.

Finally, the most important, cobots are generally a lot more fun to look at than your traditional robot. Who wants to look at a large metallic spider-like machine when instead you can have a Rethink Robotics’ Sawyer robot with its friendly looking face or a UR arm with its fashionable colour scheme?

Now you’re a little more clued up on the differences between robots and cobots, can you think of any other key differences to add to the list?