‘Cobots’ are becoming popular in Canada.

Businesses offering collaborative robotics and related technology may find receptive clients in Canada’s manufacturing sector.

Automation has allowed manufacturers to increase productivity, profitability, and stay competitive – at the perceived expense of the factory worker. However, statistics indicate that human-robot collaboration is far more productive than humans or robots working alone.

Collaborative robots (‘cobots’) are easy to deploy, safe to use, versatile, and accessible to people without robot experience. They’re programmed to take over repetitive tasks and allow employees in those roles to engage in higher-skilled jobs that add value. Because cobots are plug n’ play and require less training, they can be implemented quickly and deliver competitive return on investment.

Denmark-based Universal Robots is sponsoring a pan-Canadian webinar series called Cobots in Canada, that examines the domestic use and integration of collaborative robots. The first webinar took place on August 25 and was moderated by Jim Beretta, President of London, Ontario-based Customer Attraction and host of the Robot Industry Podcast.

Webinar participants included representatives from JS Foster Precision Manufacturing and Skeans – two Canadian companies currently using cobots. JS Foster and Skeans speakers agreed that manufacturers in Canada are adopting an innovative mindset and welcoming new technology that is safe, multipurpose, quick to learn, easy to use, and offers a competitive advantage – without displacing the existing workforce. They added that collaborative welding robots “are big in Western Canada” due to the presence of heavy industry (such as mining) but noted that they have many uses including medical manufacturing, loading/unloading, and computerized numerical control (CNC) machining.

Canada is an exporting nation, and its manufacturing community faces numerous challenges. As per Manufacturing Automation, “We have to be innovative and flexible in our approaches to manufacturing, costing, quality and delivery. Capital investment in automation is a critical conversation, especially post-COVID, where attracting, securing, retaining skilled personnel is one of Canada’s looming labour challenges.”

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Photo courtesy Pexels

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