Throw some light on the company's
India journey and its presence in the automotive industry. Besides, the auto
industry which are the other industries where these cobots are in use?
As stated above, we entered the Indian market in
February 2016 and since then have been successful in deploying 400 cobots
majorly in the automotive industry and its ancillaries, followed by FMCG,
Electronics, and R&D centers. We believe that the Indian market has lot of
potential. The demand for cobots in India is increasing as Indian manufacturers
are looking forward to inculcating latest technologies in their production
How do you describe a cobot? How
different is it from a robot? What are the different features or
characteristics that differentiate the two?
Cobots are light – weight, easy to use robotic arms
and their latest technological advancement are in sync with Industry 4.0 –
automated revolution in manufacturing industry. Cobots are easy to program,
install and their collaborative in nature allows them to work side-by- side
with the workforce for high-quality output and handling them requires no special
training. They work as a ‘helping hand’ that helps the workforce in carrying
out monotonous tasks, increases productivity and efficiency. The primary goal
of Universal Robots is to empower workers by enabling them with smart
manufacturing solutions which involves the utilization of collaborative robots’
technology and automation.
The human-robot collaboration is different from
traditional robots. The idea is for humans and robots to be inter-dependent and
achieve what each of them does best, safely. There are a few things requiring
human ingenuity that are best done manually, whereas the accuracy, precision
and repetitive mass production at higher efficiency is best taken care of by
robots. These cobots provide an added incentive to the workforce as consistent
quality production is possible with human supervision. The company has seen the
evolution of robot arms from the UR3, UR5 and UR10, which are built for
respective payloads of 3kg, 5kg and 10kg.
UR3: The ultra-flexible Universal Robots UR3 delivers
high-precision accuracy for smaller production environments. The UR3 can
modulate payloads of up to 3 kg (6.6 lbs), bringing value to scientific,
pharmaceutical, agriculture, and electronics and technology facilities.
UR5: The lightweight and flexible Universal
Robots UR5 lets you automate repetitive and dangerous tasks with payloads of up
to 5 kg. Low-weight collaborative processes, such as: picking, placing and
testing are all perfect for the UR5. With a working radius of up to 850 mm, the
UR5 puts everything within reach, freeing up your employees’ time to add value
to other stages of the production.
UR10: The Universal Robots UR10 is our largest
industrial robot, designed for bigger tasks where precision and reliability are
still of paramount importance. Automate processes and tasks that weigh up to 10
kg. Heavier-weight collaborative processes, such as: packaging, palletizing,
assembly and pick and place are all well suited to the UR10. And with a reach
radius of up to 1300mm, the UR10 is designed to be more effective at tasks
across a larger area. This can save time on production lines where distance can
be a factor.
In the auto industry, in which
segment have these cobots become popular? Is it more in the bigger OEM segment
or the small and medium companies encompassing auto component players? Do name
a few clients in these different segments of the industry where you have a
The history of robotics has always been closely tied
to the automotive industry. In fact, in 1962 General Motors was the first-ever company to deploy industrial
robots and from the 1970s onwards, the whole automotive industry was
characterized by the comprehensive use of large robotic systems in their
production lines. The automotive industry has evolved and the customers are
increasingly demanding that their cars be customized and thus, batch sizes in
production are becoming smaller and smaller. For car manufacturers and all
their suppliers, this development means they always have to be prepared for
changes in their production layout in order to address the new changes in
customer demand. Therefore, next to precision and efficiency, flexibility has
also become a key factor in the industry. Flexibility, however, is not
considered a core competency of traditional industrial robots that stay bolted
down in a cage, dedicated to one task only. This is why many manufacturers are
now using collaborative robots in their production.
Although the need for flexibility is steadily gaining
importance for manufacturers, it is not the only reason why leading automotive
companies opt for cobots. The opportunity of releasing human employees from
strenuous and health-damaging activities is also an important factor. Not only
manufacturers, but also their suppliers count on cobots. Large multinational
companies are not the only examples from the industry that cobotized their
production, cobots are also finding their way into production lines at smaller
Robots work towards making robotic technologies accessible to small and medium
enterprises (SMEs). People in India,
especially the small and medium OEMs, still believe that robotic technology is
very expensive. But with cobots, there are many
reasons for its emergence: Manufacturers, (especially small and medium-sized
enterprises) are eager to adopt this technology because they can be placed
alongside humans in small-spaced electronics assembly lines, they are
affordable, highly adaptable, almost plug-and-play, and are flexible to handle
short runs, repetitive and boring jobs, and ergonomically challenging tasks.
Some analysts expect this segment will see massive growth in the next few
Application areas for car manufacturing robots:
Our three different collaborative robotic arms are
easily integrated into existing production environments in the automotive and
subcontractor industry. A robotic arm from Universal Robots can be used in
robotic car manufacturing systems just like any other car manufacturing or
automobile robot. They can be used in dangerous environments where high quality
and precision are business critical including: engine foundries, laser-cutting
rigs, forming presses, moulding machines and packaging and palletizing lines.
In addition, our cobots can also be used in screw driving, assembling,
labeling, handling and quality control process.
Bajaj Auto Ltd. saw a gradual rise in the productivity
and efficiency in their production. It also increased the productivity of their
employees along with their product quality after associating themselves with
Universal Robots. They have deployed over 150 cobots since 2010 and are now the
3rd largest motorcycle manufacturer in the world. They are of the
view that the added benefits of the cobots are easy use, very low annual
maintenance and higher energy efficiency.
SMEW Textile Machinery
Pvt. Ltd. has been in the Textile Machine
Manufacturing since 1958. They collaborated with Universal Robots and deployed
their first UR10 robotic arm in January 2017. The UR cobots are used for pick
and place application. This was a new addition to the workforce but the
simplicity and operator friendly features of the cobots made the completion of
tasks easier and faster. For a 24-hour production, SMEW has deployed the UR10
by Universal Robots. This has enabled them to continue unmanned production
after factory working hours.
addition of the cobot to their manufacturing, SMEW realised that their
production had increased from 30 pieces per week to 80-90 pieces per week; a
300% boost in production, over a brief period of 8 months. The staff too, is
extremely satisfied with their new co-worker as the cobot is easy to program
according to their requirements, and are enjoying working alongside robots.