COBOTS: The Robots for Gar­ment & Tex­tile In­dus­try

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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.

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