Tech Talks

Cable Management for Collaborative Robots

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Learn more at www.igus.com/triflexR Designing energy supply systems for collaborative robots David Sandiland | Automotive and Robotics Industry Manager, igus ® Inc. Collaborative robots, or cobots, work side by side with human workers to complete a wide range of tasks, including welding, quality inspection, and component insertion/fastening. They were introduced in the mid 1990's, but took until 2008 to make it to the industrial marketplace (Engineering.com). With anticipated global compound annual growth of more than 60% over the next 5 years to an expected $3.3 billion by 2022 (Markets and Markets), collaborative robots are definitely here to stay. As collaborative robots become more relied upon, more attention must be paid to extending the service life and reliability of these systems, especially designing and protecting their energy supply system. Collaborative robotic technology Cobots are integrated with a number of sensors which detect humans and other objects, allowing the robot's speed and force to be immediately reduced. They are also designed without any exposed motors, and with a reduced number of pinch points and sharp edges to reduce possibility of injury if contact is made with a human coworker. These added safety features mean that cobots are truly able to work alongside people, without the need to add safety guards or light curtains. The robotic systems are much smaller than traditional industrial robots, often tabletop scale for small, light tasks. A range of models are available from manufacturers like Universal Robots, who started with smaller scale robots, and Kuka, which made its name in large industrial robots before branching out to develop cobots. Pictured: A collaborative robot, manufactured by Universal Robots

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