Cobots in Logistics: Machines Specially Designed to Work Hand-in-Hand with Humans


A collaborative robot, “cobot” is specially designed to ease human-machine interface and enhance security. This smart robot can work with human in same areas and manage risks as they have good sensitivity and programming. VIL project, in this case, mentioned that cobots can be taught easily so they can be deployed simply and quickly, at a low investment cost. Not only that, having cobots in your industry can also enhance security in robotic environment, automate picking for loose items and complex shape, as well as reduce picking error rate.

A survey from Rethink Robotics revealed that that collaborative robots will make inroads at Logistics Company. It is mentioned in the survey that trialling Sawyer and Baxter cobots in warehouse will not replace workers job, rather it will support and help improve efficiencies. For example, Praxis Packaging Solutions is successfully applying cobots in their industry. It is also proved that cobots can give the company ability to flex workforce quickly in order to meet customer demands.  

What other benefits can you get from cobots?

VIL mentioned that cobots will:

  • assist logistical staff with repetitive tasks (pacing, sorting, etc.) in a very user-friendly and safe way. It can as well increase productivity of workers in the process.
  • avoid cumbersome handling a heavy loads or unergonomic actions.
  • be simple and flexible for certain value added logistics (VAL) activities such as limited assembly, labelling, making up parcel, and e-commerce purposes.

Nonetheless, this automation still has deficiency. VIL project found that opportunities for logistic applications were currently limited. It was mentioned that cobots are still too underdeveloped to create any significant impact in the logistics sector. For example, they are not flexible enough to operate effectively in starkly varying logistics environments. Viability also depends on products type, how often products lines change and on the desired speed. Also, this robot is still too restricted and demands adjustments for different logistics processes.

In the end, collaborative robots are ideal for logistics industry. It can help human and solve economical solution for certain logistics processes. However, we can only await for new developments for this robot automation in order to increase the opportunities of cobots adoption.

Read also: Logistics Technology Trends Shaping the Future

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