Uni­ver­sal Ro­bots of­fers higher pro­duc­tiv­ity with the help of Cobots

Auto components India - - COVER STORY - Text : Anusha B

The De­namrk-based Uni­ver­sal Ro­bots, which started its In­dia op­er­a­tions in Oc­to­ber 2015, has sold about 200 ‘Col­lab­o­ra­tive Ro­bot’ (Cobot) here in In­dia. The Cobots, which col­lab­o­rate with hu­man be­ings and makes op­er­a­tions more ef­fi­cient, were supplied to small and medium-scale in­dus­tries and OEMs. The com­pany claims that with the use of Cobot, there will be high pro­duc­tiv­ity with cer­ti­fied qual­ity. The num­ber of labors could be min­imised and the same labors could be de­ployed in tal­ent-based op­er­a­tions. As its busi­ness ex­pands, Uni­ver­sal Ro­bots may con­sider set­ting up a fa­cil­ity in In­dia, but still the plan is in a nascent stage.

Pradeep David, Gen­eral Man­ager, Uni­ver­sal Ro­bots, In­dia said, “We have 10 part­ners in In­dia who sup­port us with tech­ni­cal in­puts like pro­gram­ming. Our Cobots do well with re­mote di­ag­nos­tics too. It is easy to use Cobots by in­te­grat­ing them with the dash­board server and control the com­mands. If the busi­ness in In­dia be­comes a ma­jor hit, we would like to es­tab­lish a fa­cil­ity in In­dia. Our Cobots are spe­cific to au­to­mo­tive op­er­a­tions. The auto com­po­nents are of less than 10 kg and we have Cobots with pay­load ca­pac­ity of 3, 5, 10 kg. We want al­ways to be col­lab­o­ra­tive and that is the sweet spot for us,” he said.

Cobots open new pos­si­bil­ity to au­to­mate any op­er­a­tion. Un­like the tra­di­tional ro­bots that are pro­grammed to do a spe­cific task with zero in­ter­ac­tion, Cobot can au­to­mate any process with hu­man par­tic­i­pa­tion. The com­pany claims that with the use of Cobot there will be bet­ter pro­duc­tiv­ity with cer­ti­fied qual­ity. The num­ber of pro­duc­tion staff can be min­imised in risky pro­cesses and they can be de­ployed in more skilled op­er­a­tions.

Ap­pli­ca­tions of Cobots

Cobots can be used ex­ten­sively in the au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try. Some of the op­er­a­tions could be pick­ing and plac­ing, in­jec­tion mold­ing, CNC ma­chine op­er­a­tions, pack­ag­ing and pal­letis­ing, as­sem­bly op­er­a­tions, glu­ing, dis­pens­ing and weld­ing. With these Cobots, 80% of the process is au­to­mated. The other 20% of op­er­a­tions are too ex­pen­sive to au­to­mate as those op­er­a­tions de­mand de­ploy­ing vi­sion systems. For ro­bots/Cobots, vi­sion systems are placed to guide them to pick parts, place com­po­nents, in­struct pack­ag­ing and other re­lated ac­tions. Au­toma­tion car­ried out with this process will be too ex­pen­sive to im­ple­ment.

“Based on a study by MIT, au­toma­tion lines will be very much ef­fec­tive with hu­man-ro­bot in­ter­ac­tion (Cobot). Cobots can re­duce idle time to 85% and in­crease pro­duc­tiv­ity to 80%. There are huge im­pli­ca­tions for In­dia, es­pe­cially in costs, in adopt­ing the Cobot-based au­toma­tion. The study shows that the pay­back pe­riod is 195 days and Rs 70,000 can be saved an­nu­ally in en­ergy cost com­pared to other ro­bots in the mar­ket. This I could high­light as our unique strength. For shopfloor op­er­a­tions it is enough to have sin­gle phase power. Also there are pro­vi­sions

in the Cobot to mul­ti­task and if a Cobot is free in 1 line we can pro­gramme to carry out op­er­a­tions in other busy lines,” David said.

Cobot in­stal­la­tion

Cobots can be in­stalled on the shopfloor eas­ily. They should be as­signed the haz­ardous and po­ten­tially dan­ger­ous tasks. The com­pany claims that the Cobots have a bet­ter re­peata­bil­ity and can do the same move­ment over and over again for many hours with pre­ci­sion. In In­dia, Ba­jaj Auto is us­ing Cobots in its shopfloor. It saves space as it can be mounted even in ceil­ing. Be­ing the third largest mo­tor­cy­cle maker, the com­pany has im­proved pro­duc­tiv­ity through Cobot au­toma­tion, he said.

Uni­ver­sal has its R&D cen­tre in Den­mark, and an ap­pli­ca­tion lab in Ben­galuru where the fea­si­bil­ity of ap­pli­ca­tion and its po­ten­tial in the au­toma­tion level is tested. The com­pany has plans to open ap­pli­ca­tion labs in Delhi and Pune also in the com­ing years.

Uni­ver­sal Ro­bots is work­ing with sev­eral com­pa­nies and in­sti­tu­tions in In­dia

and they in­clude TVS, Auro­labs, Trelle­borg, IIT kan­pur, and Ba­jaj. It has also been listed as one of the 25 smartest com­pa­nies in the world by MIT. Cobots are light, sim­ple to pro­gramme, re­duce in­stal­la­tion time, save space and are very fast in pay-back. Uni­ver­sal Ro­bots had a rev­enue of 418 mil­lion DKK in 2015. By 2020, it hopes to have an es­tab­lished mar­ket in In­dia with sub­stan­tial rise in rev­enues.

Pradeep David, Gen­eral Man­ager, Uni­ver­sal Com­po­nents

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