Collaborative Robots, much like their less versatile predecessors in the industrial robot field, are often fixed in place, where they can work on a single task in front of them. There are pragmatic reasons for this: even the smallest collaborative robots are heavy, powerful machines that need to be fixed to a solid, strong surface to function. Having them work from a single location on a single task also cuts down on the complexity of those tasks- you can easily imagine an automated production line in which each collaborative robot performs a simple task before the item they're building moves along to the next cobot in the line.
Because collaborative robots are getting smarter and more flexible, there is now the possibility of cobots being able to move from one place to another to get their job done. Although current technology doesn't allow them to be fully mobile just yet, it's getting there, and existing techniques allow you to do some very interesting things with off-the-shelf components and a little technical know-how (which we are happy to provide).
Let's look at how the TM Cobot works when it's mobile.
Most TM-series units will remain in a single place, with a limited field of vision. When movement is introduced the cobot has to not only see and interpret what's in front of its camera, but know where it is in the world. To achieve this, we use small tokens called Landmarks (which you can see to the left). The cobot's on-board camera recognises the unique design on the Landmark and can orientate itself from there.
This means that when combined with the TM-Flow software that controls the coboot you'll be able to create complex workflows easily. For example, you could have a TM5 cobot move to different sections of a large manufacturing project and perform different tasks at each one- tighten screws at point one, weld a joint at point two and so on. Alternatively, if the robot was combined with a mobile base, they could be programmed to pick up items at point one and drop them off at point two.
Collaborative robots are already the cutting edge of manufacturing, and with the ability to move themselves around your facilities they will really come into their own. Because of our close relationship with the manufacturer of the industry-leader in collaborative robotics, HMK is better placed than any other UK company to help you take advantage of major changes happening to manufacturing. Contact us to arrange a demonstration and see how far you can go.