Collaborative Robots – not just for manufacturing

It is easy to get stuck in a certain way of thinking, isn’t it? Conveyors are for manufacturing. Robots are for industry. I think that the biggest limitation to innovation is what we are used to. It takes a lot to get people to think outside of the box.

But that’s what we do. That’s what our partners do. How so?

Well, let’s take the medical or life sciences industry for example. I saw a great article on Reuters this morning showing a Universal Robot capable of handling some of the “hands on” tasks that are exposing doctors in China (and elsewhere – but this article is coming from Shanghai) to Covid-19, the Corona virus. By using a collaborative robot to gather samples, conduct ultrasounds, and administer tests staff are not exposed to the pathogens, and can actually diagnose patients remotely.

This isn’t new. One of our other partners, KUKA, has been in the field for a number of years providing their LBR series of robots. These robots are fantastic aids for applications ranging from diagnostics, to treatment, and even surgical interventions. The LBR is certified to the internationally recognized CB Scheme. (I will warn you, the website is in German, so you might want a browser that can translate for you.)

KUKA also has robots for higher payloads within the medical industry. They are suitable for things like: patient positioning, moving heavy equipment (like x-rays around a patient), or even attacking tumors. Videos of both are below.

Last, but certainly not least, MiR. You have probably seen a lot of pictures and videos of these robots moving pallets, or towing carts; but have you thought about how great they can be in a hospital setting? The MiR can be integrated with elevators and doors so that it can enter a clean room and distribute sterile goods, or it can bring medications to a quarantined room so that nurses don’t have to gown up to enter, remove their protective covering to leave to get supplies, and then gown up again to bring them in. A locked case on top of a mobile robot can bring greater efficiency to the system. There are many possibilities.

Frankly, there are probably a hundred more ways that collaborative robots can be used to increase safety and efficiency in the hospital and life sciences setting. I think we will see more and more applications and requests for automation from this sector as we go forward.

So, don’t get hedged in thinking that robots are only for manufacturing. Industry is industry, and the future is collaborative!