COBOTs enter industries
Automation at the largest scale possible is a typical feature of Industry 4.0, yet its implementation
depends on humans experienced in identifying proper areas in which and collaborators with whom
to integrate the process.
Collaborative robots (cobots) represent
a simple form of automation:
• They decrease the number of operators
in repetitive, monotonous, and/or
dangerous jobs and processes.
• They reduce the shortage of experts in
traditional automation both in spheres
of programming and maintenance.
• They increase the skills of staff and allow
them to work at positions with
considerably higher added value.
• The global development of automation
is tending towards collaborative
Nowadays, there is an average of sixty-nine
robots per 10,000 workers in production
worldwide. The greatest share of cobot sales
and the implementation is in Asian countries
(China, Japan, South Korea, etc.). The Czech
Republic is 19th in the world with ninetythree robots per 10,000 workers in 2015.
All of that (together with a general shortage
of employees) has inspired the Automobile
Cluster to prepare and, with the assistance
of MSIC, build the Centre of Collaborative
This attitude is extremely important for
small- and medium-sized businesses
who cannot afford to build their own
testing facilities, therefore they can share
knowledge and experience in other
innovation processes in the collocation
The efficiency of the centre will undoubtedly
increase thanks to the synergy of the
newly built Idea Hub whose management
decided to join in the Automobile Cluster.
Basic features of cobots
Cobots suppose and demand interaction
with a human as the operator and the
cobots become part of the process in
which they complement each other. They
are basically slower (in order to improve
safety) than traditional industrial robots,
and they are made so as to react to
a change in requirements and instruction
during the production process and/
or cycle. They do not demand a long
shutdown, and may be programmed and/
or reset by a collaborating employee. They
can handle components of relatively small
weight mostly in regards to momentum
and the need to stop the motion in case
the operator is in danger.
The use of cobots is desirable wherever the
routine demands challenging ergonomics
and/or high job precision, even at a slow
Cluster and MSIC
The initiative by Automobile Cluster to
establish the Centre of Collaborative
Robotics was most welcome by MSIC (the
Moravian-Silesian Innovation Centre).
Both organizations opened the Centre
on the occasion of the workshop
“Robotization and Automation in Practice”
held on Sept. 19, 2018.
However, the sole construction of the
Centre would not have been enough to
really support recent trends. Automobile
Cluster has therefore decided to develop
this infrastructural project with another
research and development project:
COBOTS – Development of Peripheries.
The project involves the research and
development of specialized tentacle robot
arms and other features in workstation
peripheries, their sensory systems and
control systems corresponding with the
demands of that particular workstation,
including safety analysis. The target
output is functional prototypes of specific
The user team consist of Automobile
Cluster members, and the pilot tests will
take place in the technological leaders
of the automotive industry: Continental
Automotive, Varroc Lighting and Brano.
The project intensifies co-operation of
businesses and universities, in this case
VŠB – the Technical University of Ostrava
– whose Department of Robotics in the
Faculty of Mechanical Engineering is the
Collaborative Robotics is an asset of
The introduction of collaborative robotics
will keep production efficient even in
countries with higher labour costs, and may
even bring back those production activities
that had moved and been outsourced to
countries with lower costs.
POSITIV ǀ 3/2018 27