The factory of the future will have only two employees, a man and a dog. The man will be there to feed the dog. The dog will be there to keep the man from touching the equipment.

Warren G Bennis

That old joke paints an intriguing picture but is this really where industry is heading? Are human industrial workers destined to be replaced by robots and technology? What about artificial intelligence? Are sentient computers displacing humans to the point of the dystopian future predicted in the 1968 film, 2001: A Space Odyssey?

What is a Cobot?

A cobot (short for collaborative robot), unlike the traditional industrial robot that works for humans, is made to work with humans, designed to work alongside us in a shared workspace or collaborative environment. Unlike traditional industrial robots that are typically isolated in safety cages and programmed to perform specific tasks, cobots are specifically designed to interact with humans and assist them in various tasks.

Schneider Electric’s new cobot in the Lexium range is part of an advanced robotic system that helps workers perform heavy, repetitive and complex tasks. The cobot is easy to implement into existing industrial environments and improves workforce empowerment and safety. It can accurately perform highly technical tasks, lift objects of up to 18kg, and work side-by-side with people on production lines. Users can intuitively program and operate the cobot through an Android app.