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PH manufacturing industry urged to leverage cobots to help reduce workplace injuries

Universal Robots (UR), a Denmark-based collaborative robots (cobots) technology maker, urged local manufacturers to accelerate robotic automation and increase productivity while reducing workplace injuries.

Quoting data from the Philippine Statistics Authority’s Safety and Health in the Workplace Cases of Occupational Injuries, UR said the manufacturing industry has the biggest share in safety-related accidents since 2015. The numbers are still increasing across industries in recorded workplace accidents which only adds to businesses’ operational costs and employee suffering.

With this, UR cobots ensure to help workplaces in the Philippines generate a healthy and safe environment. Cobot has the potential to decrease work challenges with its advanced technologies that deliver productivity and process innovation for companies.

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“Cobots can perform tasks that may be dangerous or injury-prone for humans,” said James McKew regional director of Asia-Pacific in Universal Robots. “With built-in safety features that slow the robot arm when a human enters its workspace, cobots can keep human colleagues safe from occupational injuries as it addresses repetitive and dangerous tasks in the manufacturing sector.”

Recently, the IHS Markit Philippines Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) survey reported a promising outlook of the manufacturing industry in the Philippines. This shows the need to leverage technologies that can further help the industry improve by boosting employee’s morale, productivity, and lessen workplace injuries.

Safety system

Universal Robots’ adjustable safety system allows companies to adjust a range of parameters to reduce the risks involved with implementing an industrial robot application. These include limiting the force, speed, power, or momentum of the robot, or restricting its workspace using safety boundaries. Productivity gains along with the inherently safe design of cobot solutions mean this new automation technology could reduce up to 72% of the common causes of injury in manufacturing environments.

“As we move closer to the vision of Industry 5.0, where man and machine work together on the smart factory floor, the need to consider the safety and compliance requirements of this new kind of workplace has become paramount,” said McKew. “Undoubtedly, a collaborative workforce featuring human and robots complements each other in their roles and offers significant opportunities to enhance manufacturing productivity, innovation, safety and overall job satisfaction in the workplace”

McKew pointed out that companies can achieve a faster return on investment (ROI) by using cobots to free up workers’ time, allowing them to tackle higher productivity processes and ultimately acquire new skills.

Human-machine interfaces

Unlike traditional robots that require engineer-level programming, cobots are designed to make programming simple through human-machine interfaces (HMI) familiar to anyone who has used a smartphone. For more complex applications, Universal Robots has a comprehensive network of Certified System Integrators and Authorized Training Centers ready to support users with day-to-day operations after the initial installation.

By eliminating the need for formal education in programming or robotics, such interfaces and capabilities make the skills gap and learning curve for using cobots diminishingly small. Universal Robots encourages local manufacturers to adopt the perfect man and machine collaboration. With cobots, manufacturers in the Philippines need not fear the impacts caused by work challenges and workplace accidents. The collaboration greatly reduces the time, effort, and cost associated with using the same cobot for various tasks as a cobots’ flexibility translates to a significantly faster return on investment.

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