“Collaborative robots are Industry 4.0 compliant and safe to work alongside humans”
Universal Robots, a Danish company, headquartered in Odense, is one of the pioneers in the manufacturing of advanced, userfriendly and light industrial, Collaborative Robotic arms (Cobot). These Collaborative Robots safely work alongside humans, and more as a “worker’s assistant” or “third arm” or “helping hand” or “portable tool” which traditional industrial robots cannot be used as.
The company has a network of 200 distributors in 50 countries. The company is dedicated to bring in safe, flexible and easy to use 6 axis industrial robotic arms to business of every size, all over the world. Universal Robots develop industrial collaborative robot arms that automate and streamline repetitive industrial processes. This approach enables production departments to assign their staff members more enjoyable tasks – creating jobs that provide them with new challenges that add value to the company.
Collaborative robots (cobots) help in creating, not losing jobs. Instead of replacing human and causing job loss, collaborative robots helps companies in expanding operations, thereby creating job opportunities. Cobots help companies to expand multifold, thus creating jobs and many more opportunities at supervision roles. Universal Robots manufacture 3 robotic arms namely UR3, UR5 and UR10 which have a payload capacity of 3kgs, 5kgs and 10kgs respectively. With the goal of making robot technology accessible for small and medium sized enterprises, the robots are designed to be used by all levels of production staff. Their major markets are Automotive industry followed by FMCG, Electronics, Education and R&D Centres. Since the first robot was launched in 2008, the company has experienced considerable growth with the user-friendly robots now sold in more than 50 countries worldwide. In India Universal Robots has 12 distributors (Pan India). In an interaction with BioSpectrum, Pradeep David, General Manager, Universal Robots – South Asia shared his views about the market potential for Cobot and how Cobot is addressing the challenges before many industries.
What diverse sectors are being catered to through cobots, in the healthcare industry?
Automation of healthcare sector has the potential to do so much good: to bring medical care to regions where even today there is none to be found; to lighten the load of medical professionals; to help people walk again. To reap the benefits and avoid the potential dangers of such a technological revolution we need to keep informed about the strides that science makes so that we can better prepare and adapt to the notso-distant future where robots play a crucial role and work closely with us.
With recent technological developments, robots are venturing into the healthcare industry with careful manual supervision. Robotic medical assistants monitor patient vital statistics and alert nurses when there is a need for human presence, allowing a nurse to monitor multiple patients simultaneously. These assistants also automatically enter information into the patient electronic health record. Robotic carts may be seen moving through hospital corridors carrying supplies. Robots have also started assisting surgeons, which allow the surgeons greater precision and a higher success rate with their operations.
These robots also undertake simple tasks like drawing blood, check patients’ vital signs and conditions, and take care of the patients’ hygiene if needed. Robots also prepare and dispense medications in pharmacological labs. There are also “gears and wires” robotic assistants that help paraplegics move and administer physical therapy.
Physiotherapy treatments are widely applied to help restore movement and functions to individuals who have been affected by injury, illness or disability. Traditionally, many physiotherapy treatments have
been performed manually by physiotherapists who repeat the treatments regularly - usually on a daily basis - for a prescribed number of weeks to mobilize joints and soft tissues.
How cobots are lending a helping hand to the healthcare industry in addressing the current challenges?
Cobots can perform various applications like drawing blood, monitor patient vitals and checks patient hygiene. Robots have also started assisting surgeons, which allow the surgeons greater precision and a higher success rate with their operations. The easy programming, installation and collaborative nature of the industrial robot arms allow surgeons, nurses, theater staff, and robots to work side-by-side and care for patients. Collaborative robots have also been assisting health professionals with rehabilitation of bed-ridden patients in Denmark; that provides patients with the best possible care to help them recover quickly.
With this technological revolution, are there any potential dangers involved along with benefits? How do you intend to address those?
The collaborative robots are Industry 4.0 compliant and which promotes Human – Robot collaboration and are ISO/TS 15066 patent certified thus, safe to work alongside humans in the workplace. The patented safety system of UR robots features eight adjustable safety functions; Joint positions and speeds, TCP positions, tool orientation, speed and force, as well as the momentum and power of the robot. This eliminates
any potential risks the workforce might have to face.
How is your company planning to contribute towards the MSME sector in India?
The MSME sector has always been the focus area for Universal Robots. Due to various benefits, collaborative robots make the suitable automation solution for Indian SMEs. The inclusion of latest technology to their manufacturing processes equalizes the field and makes it possible for small enterprises to compete on a global platform. The small footprint, easy programming, short commissioning time allows SMEs to have the flexibility of automating different production lines at different times/seasons for small batch/seasonal productions.
What market potential do you foresee for cobots in India, as compared to the traditional robotics market?
The SMEs of India are its backbone and our target market. The main aim is to promote the cobot technology and spread awareness among the small and medium manufacturers of the market. This technology is efficient and affordable with no AMC, which will help the SMEs to complete on a global platform by increasing their productivity and output. The Indian market is gradually maturing and we can see a rapidly changing and an accepting mindset from the manufacturers. We have doubled our business in India in the past two years and we are hoping to continue the trend.
WITH RECENT TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS, ROBOTS ARE VENTURING INTO THE HEALTHCARE INDUSTRY WITH CAREFUL MANUAL SUPERVISION. ROBOTIC MEDICAL ASSISTANTS MONITOR PATIENT VITAL STATISTICS AND ALERT NURSES WHEN THERE IS A NEED FOR HUMAN PRESENCE, ALLOWING A NURSE TO MONITOR MULTIPLE PATIENTS SIMULTANEOUSLY. THESE ASSISTANTS ALSO AUTOMATICALLY ENTER INFORMATION INTO THE PATIENT ELECTRONIC HEALTH RECORD. ROBOTIC CARTS MAY BE SEEN MOVING THROUGH HOSPITAL CORRIDORS CARRYING SUPPLIES. ROBOTS HAVE ALSO STARTED ASSISTING SURGEONS, WHICH ALLOW THE SURGEONS GREATER PRECISION AND A HIGHER SUCCESS RATE WITH THEIR OPERATIONS. THESE ROBOTS ALSO UNDERTAKE SIMPLE TASKS LIKE DRAWING BLOOD, CHECK PATIENTS’ VITAL SIGNS AND CONDITIONS, AND TAKE CARE OF THE PATIENTS’ HYGIENE IF NEEDED. ROBOTS ALSO PREPARE AND DISPENSE MEDICATIONS IN PHARMACOLOGICAL LABS. THERE ARE ALSO “GEARS AND WIRES” ROBOTIC ASSISTANTS THAT HELP PARAPLEGICS MOVE AND ADMINISTER PHYSICAL THERAPY.
General Manager, South Asia, Universal Robots
Pradeep David, General Manager, South Asia, Universal Robots