From “shaking hands”, to making a cup of coffee, to trialing new approaches to building cars.
These special collaborative robots – or co-bots – are helping workers fit shock absorbers to Fiestas, a task that requires pinpoint accuracy, strength, and a high level of dexterity; though for this video +Ford Europe also wanted to show some of their more light-hearted capabilities.
Employees, in Cologne, Germany, work hand-in-hand with the 1-metre high co-bots that are equipped with hi-tech sensors to ensure worker safety. They can stop immediately if they detect so much as a finger in their path.
Developed over two years, the robot programme was carried out in close partnership with German robot manufacturer, +KUKA Roboter GmbH. The trial is part of Ford's investigations into Industry 4.0, a term coined to describe a fourth industrial revolution.
“Robots are helping make tasks easier, safer and quicker, complementing our employees with abilities that open up unlimited worlds of production and design for new Ford models,” said Karl Anton, director vehicle operations, +Ford Europe.
Ford is now reviewing further use of the collaborative robots.
“Working overhead with heavy air-powered tools is a tough job that requires strength, stamina, and accuracy. The robot is a real help,” said production worker Ngali Bongongo.