The aim of the project: to increase the use and spread of collaborative robots in industry and to familiarize companies with the technology. The use of collaborative robots (cobots) increases production flexibility and at the same time relieves the strain on employees. When humans and robots interact in shared workspaces, robots can take on physically demanding tasks (such as overhead work or lifting heavy parts).
With the tools developed, even companies that have little or no experience with cobots can assess the economic aspects of possible cobot scenarios without the need for elaborate simulations.
The research team developed a few simple questions to find out whether the use of cobots makes economic sense for a company and where it stands in relation to these aspects. The analysis is the starting point for further considerations such as which skills still need to be developed, whether cobots should first be introduced on a trial basis or whether they can be implemented on a large scale right from the start.
Once the decision to deploy cobots has been made, it is important to examine the economic viability of potential cobot scenarios. Using a tool developed by Fraunhofer IPA, the process time can be calculated based the cobot’s movements. This, in turn, can be used to calculate the process or machine costs (taking into account investment costs incl. safety precautions, e.g. sensors), thus enabling a comparison with the existing cost structure to be made.