Cobots - The Future of Work
With increasing manual labour cost, there exists a need for the intervention of flexible automation to boost productivity, accommodate changes in customer orders quickly and spur innovation as China transitions to higher-value manufacturing.
Cobot (Collaborative Robot) automation is the newest solution, being the most versatile industrial robot developed in comparison to its bigger, more expensive, less flexible industrial robots. Unlike the industrial robots, cobots are designed to physically interact with humans in a shared workplace. The range of jobs which cobots can take on is limitless, with cobotics being the recipient of many of the new tech advances in vision systems and other sensors, edge computing, gripper tech, and artificial intelligence / machine learning (AI/ML).
Cobots can offer multiple benefits such as:
Suitable for small to mid-scale production
Increased efficiency, productivity and return on investment (ROI)
Improved robot human interaction
Published by the Shangai-based robot maker Jaka Robotics and Shenzhen Gaogong Industry Research Consulting Co during the China International Industry Fair, the report noted that 8,200 units of collaborative were sold in 2019, an increase of 29.75% year-on-year. It is forecasted that the cobot market will grow in the coming years to 26,500 units in China by 2023, with market scale exceeding 2.71 billion yuan.
Currently, the cobot market in China is still in its early stages and is small, with no cobot vendor with an insurmountable lead in China. Top domestic cobot competition includes: AUBO,Siasun, Han’s Robot and HIT Group, and it is projected that competition will be intensified in the coming years. This presents foreign cobot manufacturers with a promising opportunity for penetrating the Chinese market and enjoying first mover advantage.
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