Universal Robots offers higher productivity with the help of Cobots
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.
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