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Online forum discusses role of cobots in future manufacturing industry

Leading experts discussed the role collaborative robots (cobots) in the future manufacturing industry throughout Asia-Pacific at an online congress, entitled “Meet the Cobot Leaders”, early this week.

At the event, leading experts in the cobot industry gave insights and answered questions from practitioners and attendees online, with visionary and practical insights on post-pandemic manufacturing, and how manufacturers in Asia-Pacific can be future-ready.

Participants heard that the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 exacerbated existing challenges and exposed new vulnerabilities for manufacturers around the world.

The serious disruption to supply chains, sudden material shortages, and steep swings in demand left manufacturers grappling with changes.

Labour-intensive manufacturing has been hit painfully by the regional governments’ COVID-19 measures of extended lockdowns and social distancing. But such measures present an opportunity for labour-centric manufacturers to rethink their operations, on ways to keep production going while adhering to regulatory measures, without sacrificing cost efficiency, and to future-proof operations for more resilience.

“In Asia-Pacific, business owners and operators have to juggle costs, value creation, and profit. In some locales where real estate is costly, such as Singapore and other metropolitan cities, cobots can be a tremendous help in maximising floor space with human operators and cobots working in tandem to achieve the highest levels of production while adhering to physical distancing guidelines,” said James McKew, Regional Director of APAC, Universal Robots.

“We foresee cobots to grow exponentially in the very near future in our ASEAN region, especially in the small and medium businesses (SMBs) segment. COVID-19 has accelerated the adoption of cobots in many industries,” said Dr Yeong, moderator of “Meet the Cobot Leaders” conference, and Director of DF Automation and Robotics.

Experts said that cobots have been the perfect nimble tool for many innovative applications throughout the world, and especially in emerging ASEAN markets where the adoption rates of cobots and other industrial robots have been steadily outpacing the established Western markets.

Cobots do not require professional engineers or software developers, anyone with an ability to operate a simple graphical tablet will be able to command and control such cobots after some basic training.

Cobots have found their way into medical applications because of the COVID-19 crisis, with applications such as swab testing, sterilisation, and mobilised disinfection, including the disinfection of aircraft seat arm rests to alleviate the possibility of repetitive strain injuries or even infections in humans.

“Meet the Cobot Leaders” is part of “WeAreCobots APAC”, the first collaborative robots virtual expo in Asia Pacific, hosted by Universal Robots. “Meet the Cobot Leaders” and all 15 online keynote sessions, including “Meet the Cobot Leaders” will be on-demand at https://wearecobots.apac.vfairs.com/  from October 9 to November 7. – VNS

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