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What are cobots?

2 November 2019

Man and robot, hand in hand, is no longer a distant future. With a collaborative robot (cobot), it is daily business. The safe, flexible and cost-effective cobot simplifies production automation more than ever.

While most industrial robots work independently or are only controllable to a limited extent, cobots are fully designed to safely collaborate with people in a common working environment. A cobot cannot work without physical interaction. They are also very easy to program, which means they can be used flexibly. This fits completely within the framework of industry 4.0, for which we have been evaluated. When devices, machines, people and data connect and communicate with each other, this is industry 4.0.


The emergence of a cobot: back to the nineties

The idea of the cobot stemmed from a General Motors project. The intention was to further develop existing robots so they could safely work with people. The first version of the cobot was designed in 1996 by J. Edward Colgate and Michael Peshkin, both professors at Northwestern University in America. The cobots had no drive and were controlled by human employees through physical interaction.  In the meantime, cobots have been given their own drive capacity, to a limited extent.


Cobots are multi-functional and easy to use

In addition to collaborating with people, cobots have many other benefits that facilitate the production activities of a company. Cobots are lighter, easy to move and cheaper than a larger standard industrial robot.

Cobots can be used in various places and situations. On the one hand, a cobot in the office can work independently with people, on the other hand, cobots can function in an industrial working environment. In this instance, cobots work with people without a requirement for safety screening being in place. Cobots are used to support and relieve human employees in a joint process. The company is also supported by the control that the device offers. Part of the staff consists of “machines”, which means you will not often be confronted with surprises.


Market leader Universal Robots

Since the inception of the cobot concept, it was taken over by various companies who designed their own version of the collaborative robot. For example, Universal Robots is the market leader in the development of cobots and they offer a range of Universal Robots accessories and cobot solutions to optimise their use even more. This is where our Linear Motion Kit or simply LMK comes in. This is an accessory that increases the reach of Universal cobots. The kit has a UR+ certified label, which means it can be perfectly integrated with the cobots from Universal Robots.


Check out our blog for more information about Universal Robots.


Accessories are also available for cobots from other companies. This is how the Linear Motion Axis was designed. Just like the Linear Motion Kit from Cobotracks, it serves to expand the working area and does not have a specific UR+ certificate. The length of the Linear Motion Kit goes up to 50 metres, but the device can also be combined with other LMAs.


Would you like more information about the Linear Motion Kits or Axis? Please do not hesitate to contact us!