Automation has made it possible for companies in the automotive industry to produce parts with high levels of precision. It has allowed them to maximize their facilities’ production capacity, reduced the overall operational costs, and enabled them to adapt to the rapidly changing demands of their customers.
However, when it comes to the ordinary assembly line, automation alone is not enough. Human input is always required. Whether it is a matter of quality control, maintenance, monitoring, or simply handling tasks that humans can do easily or way better than machines, human input is always necessary. It is because of this feature of the automotive production line that there is a need for efficient and safe automotive robots.
Collaborative robots are perfect for use in the assembly line mainly because they are designed to allow for human interactions. They have safety features that make it possible for safe collaboration with human beings. The following are the safety features that make them safer than traditional robotic systems, and thus perfect for automotive assembly line deployment.
AI-driven monitored stop
Most collaborative robots use advanced AI systems that make it safe for them to use in environments where human beings also work. One of the features that these AI systems make possible is the ability of the cobots to stop operating the moment a human being gets close to the robot’s workspace.
The cobots use a system of cameras and advanced systems to ensure that no human being risks getting injured during production, something that makes it easy for workers to monitor the system. This AI-driven start-stop mechanism also provides room for human beings to feed necessary raw materials or inputs, something that makes collaboration easy and safe.
In some collaborative scenarios, there is no need for a robotic system to move from place to place automatically. A good example of such a scenario is driving screws into different parts of a car. In such a scenario, the robot can automatically pick up the screws and then wait for the human being to guide it to the exact area that needs to be screwed, and once it has been guided to the given area, the robot then drives the screw.
Since the robot only moves under the direction and influence of the operator, the operator has a greater degree of control over the robot. As such, it is safer for the operator to be around the cobot since he does not have to worry about any unexpected movements that may lead to injuries or accidents.
This safety feature allows for increased productivity since both the human operator and the cobot can be assigned to complete tasks that they are perfectly suited for without necessarily getting in each other’s way.
Automatic speed adjustment
Another feature that is common in collaborative robots is speed variability. To make these robotic systems safer to use, they are designed with the ability to reduce their speeds as soon as they detect a human being approaching their station. They can even automatically come to a stop when they are about to be touched.
This ability to monitor separation between them and an approaching object makes them safer as it reduces the risks of accidents. And in cases where an accident occurs, the reduced speed reduces the extent of the damage or injury that results from contact. With this feature, employees can work safely on the same floor with the robots without worrying about catastrophic injuries.
Force-limiting safety feature
In addition to speed variability, a collaborative robot has the flexibility to adjust the force that it uses at any given point. In essence, you can limit the amount of force that the robots use to execute their tasks in cases where the robot operates next to a human being. By doing this, you will ensure that in case there is accidental contact, the effect of the contact wouldn’t be as devastating as it would have been if the robots were operating with full force.
This, in addition to the softer surfaces and rounded edges that such robots usually come with, makes them safer to use in an assembly line that requires human input.