FIND­ING THE RIGHT ROBO-WORKER

Inc. (USA) - - LEAD -

The best col­lab­o­ra­tive ro­bots (cobots) have some great qual­i­ties, but that doesn’t make us­ing them a no-brainer. Con­sider the fol­low­ing be­fore you buy a me­chan­i­cal em­ployee.

RENT THE FU­TURE

Some com­pa­nies, like Hire­botics of Nashville, rent cobots, thereby turn­ing a cap-ex into an op-ex. “Hire­botics comes down, sets them up, pro­grams ev­ery­thing ac­cord­ing to our re­quire­ments, and charges on the ba­sis of when the ro­bot is work­ing, just like an em­ployee,” says Ei­nar Rosen­berg, of Cre­at­ing Rev­o­lu­tions.

DON’T GET HOOKED

Ro­bots are more pre­cise than hu­mans, but they’re not as fast—un­less the hu­mans can’t take their eyes off them. “Some of our projects took a small dip be­cause the cobots are re­ally fun to watch,” says Joe McGil­livray, of Dy­namic Group. “There’s noth­ing in na­ture that is ob­serv­ably that con­sis­tent.”

DO THE IN­SUR­ANCE MATH

There is not a lot of ac­tu­ar­ial data on cobots—the ma­chines them­selves, or how safely they in­ter­act with hu­mans. This can make them dif­fi­cult to in­sure. Rosen­berg was able to find a pol­icy for $800 a year, but many in­sur­ers, in­clud­ing State Farm, will not yet write poli­cies on cobots.

FAC­TOR IN THE UN­KNOWN

Cobots are in­ex­pen­sive work­ers. An en­try-level, one-armed model can cost less than $30,000, more for an ex­tra arm, spe­cial tool­ing, or cus­tom cod­ing. But, be­cause they’re new, no one can be sure how long these ma­chines will last. The bot­tom line is that “the cost sav­ings may not be as dra­matic as ap­pears at face value,” says Jeff Burn­stein, pres­i­dent of the As­so­ci­a­tion for Ad­vanc­ing Au­to­ma­tion.

BOT FOR HIRE Hire­botics will rent you a cobot like this one, made by Univer­sal Ro­bots.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.