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Collaborative robots and the role they play in industry 5.0

With industry 5.0, the need for human input in industrial processes is the most important implication of this new system.

robot using laptop and telephone
Image: Brett Jordan on Unsplash

For years, the manufacturing industry’s only goal has been to create production flows that are smart and automated, with emphasis on digital communication and data collection for production optimization.

This type of production model is referred to as industry 4.0, which encompasses the internet of things, cyber-physical systems, cognitive computing, artificial intelligence, and cloud computing. With continuous advancements in technology, there is a possibility of an even better industry system, industry 5.0.

Industry 5.0 is an advanced system that values human input and emphasizes the use of collaborative robots.

Understanding industry 5.0

Compared to industry 4.0, industry 5.0 is targeted at bringing back the human element into production and development. It is centered on making work easier for human workers by introducing the use of universal robotics for technical precisions and heavy lifting tasks.

The ability of these robots to perform laborious or difficult tasks with ease will introduce a higher control degree and allow individualization of different production levels.

With the industry 5.0 model, industries can enjoy a greater potential for process customization, which allows for more job creations in high-value career lines. This is done even as collaborative robots do the dirty, dangerous, and boring task. Human workers will be left to attend to more meaningful tasks in the company.

Collaborative robots and industry 5.0

Industry 4.0 is mainly focused on ensuring quality consistency, data collections, and flow. On the other hand, industry 5.0 will focus on these goals while paying attention to creating an environment where highly skilled individuals can work alongside collaborative robots. This will allow collaboration between human workers and robots in creating different products ranging from smartphones to cars for the benefit of the end-user.

Industry 4.0 does not support collaboration between robots and humans workers. While they may work on the same production line, there are clear boundaries when it comes to the work environment. This is because traditional industrial robots cannot work safely around human workers. With Industry 5.0, these boundaries are removed since humans can work alongside collaborative robots safely.  

Collaborative robots are changing the relationship between man and machine in production.

Benefits of collaborating man and machine

You can customize by adding a human element.

Even though robots can be relied on to manufacture high-quality industrial products, personalizing and customizing these products can be a challenge for robots, as they require guidance. This calls for the services of human workers in this critical step in production.

During production, it is only possible to utilize the full potential of automation when there is human creative influencing the processes. Without this human touch, a robot will only perform tasks as is programmed. Cobots can collaborate with human workers in projects where man and machine complement the processes. This allows the employee to use the cobot as a multi-functional tool in production.

Creation of jobs

According to a study, there will be 3.4 million jobs in the next decade, with only 1.4 million people to fill these positions. Collaborative robots are matches with most of these roles, with the ability to work alongside humans.

While most people imagine collaborative robots will take jobs from humans, these robots can actually increase employment opportunities by increasing productivity and encouraging the hiring of upgraded skills. This way, instead of replacing humans, robots can work with humans to better manufacturing processes.

As more companies aim to increase production output and create new products, collaborative robots make it easy to diversify the workforce as experienced employees transition to less monotonous positions.

With industry 5.0, the need for human input in industrial processes is the most important implication of this new system. With collaborative robots, humans and robots can work together on the same tasks side by side. Robots can do the rough polishing while human workers refine the work and perform spot quality checks before the product goes to the market. This is the future of industrialization.

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