A cobot is intended to work hand-in-hand with humans in a shared workspace.
This is in contrast with full-fledged robots that are designed to operate autonomously or with limited guidance.
They support and relieve the human operator of his excess work.
The automotive sector is a large adopter of cobots. The global electronics industry is also an adopter. Industry watchers felt that manufacturing cannot be competitive without the extensive use of industrial robots.
Manufacturing is a capital-intensive sector and the idea that it can be used to create a lot of low- or medium-skilled but well-paid jobs, as it did in past centuries, is obsolete.
Benefits of cobots were compactness, low payback period, flexibility, lightweight nature, cost-effectiveness, accuracy and safety.
Other benefits include zero annual maintenance costs, reduced power consumption and retention of IP within the company.
Cosmetics firm L'Oreal has also deployed cobots.
It is estimated that a little less than 40,000 cobots have been deployed all over the world.
Big names that have entered into this field include Epson and ABB. There are about 30-40 players in this market.
The adoption has been low in India compared with China and the developed world. For every cobot sold in India, 30 are sold in China.