COBOTS: The Robots for Garment & Textile Industry
The garment or the textile industry faces its share of problems that come with the lack of automation. The workers have to put in extra hours and the production is prone to human error, leading to lack of precision, efficiency, and reduces job satisfaction. It could also compromise the quantity as well as the quality of goods produced. Lastly, the SME owners are reluctant to invest in automated machinery as they require a high capital, with long wait for return on their investments. With this idea of higher production rate and the need for human interaction with machine automation, the Collaborative robots were first developed in 2008 by Universal Robots.
The idea is for humans and robots to be inter-dependent and achieve what each of them does best. The latest technological advancement in collaborative robots or ‘Co-bots’ was brought out in the international market with a peculiar intention which is in line with Industrial 4.0; which is in sync with the automated revolution in various industries.
Cobots can be used in any segment of textile manufacturing where precision and repetitive mass production is required. The fabric industry also needs high level of accuracy; whether it’s the application of picking the fabric parts from an exact location (by avoiding folding and minimize wrinkling) or cutting of materials in an exact shape or scraping denims. The world’s first robot which has been used for sewing garments is produced by Universal Robots. A recent study at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology undertaken by Julie Shah, who studies human-robot collaboration at the BMW plant, discovered that teams of human and robot collaborators worked with better efficiency and precision with higher productivity, when compared to an all human or an all robot team. This co-operative process reduced the human idle time by 85% and she also observed that humans do not mind robots taking the lead. The cobots by Universal Robots work alongside humans as per ISO/ TS15066 standards allowing the most productive partnership between human operators and the robots with precision.