Industry 4.0 is predicated on the application of four technologies: data and connectivity, human-machine interaction, advanced engineering, and artificial intelligence in manufacturing. Can one imagine a future wherein a supply chain is operated without any hindrances, and deliverables are produced without any delays? This is just one benefit that Industry 4.0 aims to deliver.

In this article, we’ll zoom in on collaborative robots (or cobots) and how they can impact manufacturing in the future.

Artificial intelligence such as algorithmic technology aims to simplify tasks and meet our needs according to our behavior. Today, we’re already witnessing how smart technology is penetrating everyday life — from computers to mobile phones, cars, home appliances, operational needs at work, and heavy-duty machinery.

Cobots are an example. They are designed to work alongside humans in a smart and safe way, enabling Industry 4.0 to take place. The way that cobots function fascinates many, as it tries to mimic human intelligence, and reminds people that this is just the beginning of AI’s evolution in the workplace.

With how humans execute knowledge transfer in the workplace, such as shadowing, new workers can easily perform and improve over time. Given that cobots are already being used today, it won’t take long before cognitive technology reaches a certain point wherein robotics and digitalization enable cobots to do more complex tasks.

Know More About Cobots

Capable of collaborative work with humans, cobots improve performance through safer and more efficient processes in the supply chain and manufacturing industry. Compared to industrial robots that are placed in cages to work independently, cobots have features, such as sensors and vision technology, that enable them to halt operation if immediate danger to humans is detected.

If you’re still curious about what cobots are, then think of it this way: cobots are named “collaborative robots” for a reason. They are intended to work alongside human employees, which means co-existing in the same workspace, but without hampering production or risking safety.

The development of cobots in the manufacturing industry is ongoing. So, we can expect that in the future, we’ll see cobots with faster reaction times, more precise patterns of movement, orientation capabilities, and smarter features that serve to replicate human workers.

In fact, it is being studied how a brain-computer interface (BCI) will eventually enable cobots to read a human worker’s brain signals and provide innovative processes to target leaps in productivity and efficiency. Indeed, exciting times are up ahead. 

The Value of Cobots

The impact of cobots is most evident in tasks that require proximity to human workers, such as guided work, process monitoring, and machine learning. Artificial intelligence in manufacturing, through the convergence of cobot and 5G systems, can mitigate risks in cobot environments.

To emphasize the value of cobots, safety zones in a manufacturing facility are crucial to ensuring the safety of workers without compromising operations. This means that for every cobot, there comes a corresponding safety zone with it. And while these spaces vary depending on the facility, it is the reliability that the AI offers which makes it efficient in that given space.

With remote network capabilities powered by high signals and bandwidth, alongside low latency, a cobot equipped with 5G systems can greatly add invaluable service to any manufacturing industry. The possibilities in the future are near endless, especially with newer developments and growing optimization opportunities in Industry 4.0 for AI and collaborative work.

Potential Impact of Cobots in the Future

While cobots are primarily used today as tools to aid human workers, the potential of cobots to impact the manufacturing industry in the future will manifest through the following: greater reliability, risk-free safety, and trustworthy performance.

The latest tech made for consumers, while ripe with potential, can be deemed untrustworthy, unreliable, and risky, thus burdening end-users. Laptops with tapes on the unit’s camera or microphone; vehicles with limited connection to mobile networks; or cloud-based applications used as backups but without containing any critical or sensitive data — these are a few examples that similarly hinder full cobot deployment at present time.

Cobot development and artificial intelligence in manufacturing, on the one hand, are reliant on a range of systems to prove effective:

  • Real-time decision-making
  • Speed in accessing large knowledge graphs
  • Capacity for processing power
  • A network that enables successful and uninterrupted connectivity
  • User-oriented software architectures

Developing these areas can enable the execution of robust, efficient, and reliable cobot systems in supply chains and manufacturing facilities.

Challenge in Scaling Operations with Cobots

In the same light, the reluctance to fully deploy cobots in various manufacturing industries can likely be credited to any of the aforementioned factors. But this does present the challenge in cobot development; when does the technology reach this higher standard of reliability, safety, and trustworthiness?

Automation is the key to the future, but before corporations and enterprises engage in full cobot deployment, massive data is necessary to assure that certain scenarios won’t yield disastrous results. At its core, is the technology mature enough to confidently allow the deployment of cobots to the market?

To effectively scale cobot deployment, the market must have use cases of successful business models. From hardware design to sensors, actuators, vision systems, data processing, artificial intelligence, and more, cobot technology requires the development of user safety and predictable results.

For these things to happen, service providers will need to guarantee risk-free service through their networks, especially in critical situations, to enable cobots to function and ensure safety and predictability. Technology vendors, meanwhile, will vet trustworthiness and security that comply with the latest regulations and standards. And lastly, enterprises and corporations will have to develop use cases that depict the possibilities of cobot applications.

Techman Robot: Using AI to Revolutionize Manufacturing Businesses

Cobot applications and artificial intelligence in manufacturing are relatively new, but have already been in use for a little over a decade. The TM AI+ Training Server empowers your enterprise with a software that processes huge amounts of data to deliver and build an AI’s deep learning capabilities. This allows a cobot to execute differentiation tasks via object classification or detection. 

Imagine the possibilities with AI in manufacturing. Allow us to help your business grow.

Contact us for more info.

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