Plug and Play Technology: Cobots Are Up for a Makeover

Plug and play systems enable modular functionalities facilitating the expansion of cobotic ecosystem

Robots are on the rise. Thanks to plug and play systems, the robotic ecosystem is gaining greater value and functionalities. The plug-and-play systems are compatible hardware and software peripherals that evolved from the system or rather a network of robot integrators, which expanded in last 20 years to cater to the needs of robotic manufacturers and their customers. Even though robot integrators remain a critical component for robotic adoption and proliferation, collaborative robots, a new phenomenon in the robotics field, called plug and play technology have helped in the elaborate use of robots.

What is plug and play mechanism?

Robots, particularly industrial ones are rigid mechanical systems designed to perform a set of tasks such as welding or bin picking. The Plug and play systems are designed to fit into common applications while having customizable parts and intuitive programming. It is akin to building a lego toy. The modularity can also be extended into software and programming methods for robotic systems. They can be reconfigured with new programs to adjust to specific applications.

Collaborative robots with more functionalities

In robotics what started as a few quick-connect robot grippers, the ecosystem is now a thriving ecosystem of hundreds of compatible components, systems, and software designed to expand and enhance the grasping, sensing, safety, functionality, and interoperability of cobots. With the ever-growing market for robotics, plug-and-play functionalities have found more applications within the cobot space.

Beyond Plug and Play

Certain robotic ecosystems come with application kits, that are beyond the conventional peripherals, accessories like grippers, vision components, and safety systems. They provide hardware and software components designed to streamline the deployment of the most popular cobot applications. The applications are capable of a variety of tasks such as finishing, quality inspection, machine tending to material removal, welding, assembly, dispensing, and material handling—and one doesn’t need always to know programming to use cobot technologies. Everybody wins in these ecosystems: The robot manufacturers, partner developers, robot integrators of all scopes and sizes, and of course the customers and users of robots.

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