When collaborative robots (cobots) were first introduced, most applications focused on simple machine tending, and/or various repetitive motion actions in assembly applications. More recently, we’ve been seeing cobots applied in high-precision, industrial uses that showcase the potential of cobots in harsh environment, complex applications.
ABB, which showcased its 6-axis GoFa cobot in 2021 at PACK EXPO Las Vegas, highlighted the cobot’s new applicability for welding at IMTS 2022. GoFa was designed to help businesses automate processes involving heavier loads and longer reaches to assist workers with repetitive and ergonomically challenging tasks.
Conklin explained that the GoFa’s intrinsic safety means that it requires no guarding and its block-style programming capability makes it easier for beginners to learn robot programming. The actual code created by the block-style programming interface can be easily accessed so that users can see the underlying code created to advance their knowledge of robot programming.
In its announcement surrounding the GoFa welding application, ABB says it has developed more than 30 new robot, software, digital, and educational products in the last year designed to help industrial manufacturers of all sizes increase their operational performance and gain ready access to a well-trained workforce. ABB explained that it has been focusing on this in response to global trade disruptions, supply chain issues, and widespread labor shortages. ABB says: “The role of automation in reshoring and improving productivity in the U.S. also depends on bridging the skills gap in robotics education and better educating and upskilling workers.”