With increase interest in collaborative robotics, it can get confusing trying to understand the terminologies being thrown around. That is not ideal, especially since collaborative robots may soon become part of everyday life. Yes, cobot enthusiasts envision a future where we shall have cobots helpers in our kitchens, laundry rooms, offices and gardens helping us do common, but tedious tasks such as folding laundry.
Digging Through Cobot Jargon- What You Need to Know
Are you curious about collaborative robots and want to know how you can use them at home or in your business? If so, then you have probably done some research and get constantly turned off by the terminology and jargon used. For instance, what exactly is an EAOT?
Luckily, you don’t have to know every single term as far as cobots are concerned. You will be forgiven for calling yourself a cobot aficionado if you understand these nine terminologies:
1. What Is a Cobot?
In the simplest terms, cobots are robots that are designed to share workspaces with humans. The term cobot started off as slang for collaborative robots but is now accepted in formal settings. For a robot to be considered collaborative, it has to have some form of interactivity built in -such as hand guiding- and not require any safety fencing to operate.
2. EAOT- Stands for end of arm tooling, the part that does the actual work in a collaborative robot arm. EAOTs are typically attached to the end of a cobot arm to perform a specific job. Examples of EAOTs include grippers, engraving tools, paint nozzles, labeling tools, among others.
It is the EAOT that make collaborative commercial robots as versatile as they can be swapped out, repurposed or reconfigured as needs change. For instance, a factory can use the same collaborative robot arm in manufacturing and move it to a warehouse to be used in packing.
3. Force Limiting- All collaborative come with force limiting- a feature that controls the amount of force applied by the end of arm tooling, especially if it detects contact with a human body part. This is one of the safety features that are unique to collaborative robots.
4. Collaborative Workspaces- Any workspace designated for a collaborative robot and its operator. Even though collaborative robots don’t require fencing, there is still a need to have a dedicated and well-designed workspace for them to work within. This will help prevent collision with third-parties or foreign objects whose presence is not catered for in the programming or operation.
5. Limiting Devices- These are independent devices used to limit the movement of the collaborative robot in a workspace. Limiting devices are not connected to the robot’s control unit in any way and are typically used in setups where programmable limitation is not possible. For instance, a limiting device can be used where there are several workers whose movement is not monitored or restricted. Examples of limiting devices include the rails used in Amazon warehouses to limit their collaborative robots’ movement across the floor.
6. Payload- Refers to the amount of weight a collaborative robot is handling at any given moment. Most collaborative robot arms have manufacturer-set maximum payload capacity. It’s advisable not to exceed payload capacity for optimal performance and safety.
7. Hand Guiding- Refers to a form of programming where an operator teaches the cobot arm to perform a set of movements to accomplish a given task. Hand guiding is also one of the unique abilities that come with collaborative robots. After “teaching” the cobot arm, it will be able to repeat the same movements independently.
8. Teach Mode- In collaborative robotics; teach mode refers to the state when a robot is being guided on how to perform a particular function/task before its left on its own.
9. Conservative Motion- This term refers to the movement of the end effectors- essentially the arm- using a pre-defined route without alteration or optimization.
There is so much to learn regarding collaborative robotics, but you don’t need to learn everything to use a cobot. A basic understanding is, however, not bad, especially for those who have an active interest in modern industrial automation and collaborative robotics.