Collaborative robotics’ benefits for manufacturing startup

The productivity and low cost provided by collaborative robots allow startup companies to scale production quickly without a major upfront investment.
By Robotic Industries Association (RIA) August 28, 2017

Collaborative robots are quickly gaining popularity in the manufacturing world, particularly with startup companies. These robots are designed to work safely alongside humans and provide many benefits over their larger, more dangerous industrial counterparts, depending on the application.

Overall robotics spend is expected to climb to $13 billion in 2025. Much of this growth will be fueled by increasing demand in collaborative robots. As a portion of all robot sales, collaborative robots will grow from 3% in 2016 to 34% in 2025.

Collaborative robots are not suited to perform the heavy-duty tasks of industrial robots. However, they are smarter and feature advanced technology to perform more complex tasks, which is a major reason why they’re gaining popularity.

There are other reasons though, especially when you view the benefits of collaborative robots through the eyes of a manufacturing startup.

Collaborative robots’ role in manufacturing startups

Collaborative robots provide great opportunities for small companies to start competing with their larger competitors who have drastically higher production capabilities. Three reasons why collaborative robots are so popular with manufacturing startups are:

1. Low initial investment. Collaborative robots are far cheaper than industrial robots, but can provide similar productivity gains. Not only does this help startups justify the cost of automation, but it also helps these same startups realize quicker ROI once they do implement robotic solutions.

2. Short integration period. Avoiding downtime is important for any manufacturer, and it’s no different for startups. A collaborative robotic solution can be implemented very quickly, sometimes in as little as 5 days. This keeps integration costs low—the cost of a robot and the cost of integration are two separate things.

3. Easy to use. Collaborative robots are notoriously easy to use. Companies don’t need highly trained programmers on the floor to use a collaborative robot—another way in which collaborative robots are cheaper—and they can be "taught" different skills quickly and easily.

For manufacturing startups, collaborative robots make sense more often than industrial robots do. The productivity they provide, along with their low costs, allow small companies to scale production quickly without a major upfront investment.

This article originally appeared on the Robotics Online Blog. Robotic Industries Association (RIA) is a part of the Association for Advancing Automation (A3). A3 is a CFE Media content partner. Edited by Carly Marchal, content specialist, CFE Media, cmarchal@cfemedia.com.