Cobotics are a current hot topic in the Metal Working Nation. Innovation within the AI spectrum is opening new doors and possibilities for manufacturing leaders who are willing to embrace change. Guest speaker, Craig Zoberis, shares his “Aha!” moment when he realized cobots could help him create a more efficient and life-giving environment to his team. His passion for innovation and the power of the cobotic ecosystem led him to create his own cobotics production line - empowering the Metal Working Nation to perform at their absolute best. 

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Enabling your team’s greatest potential by eliminating menial tasks

Growing up working at his father’s manufacturing business, Craig entered the industry as a college graduate with a wealth of knowledge and familiarity. Starting his own business focused on assembly, he eventually recognized the need for in-house machinery. Wanting maximum control of his own schedule as well as his team’s, Craig began researching the impact that cobots can have on improving efficiency and helping to close the skills gap. Encouraged by his team to pursue a future in cobotics, he began implementing them into his workforce. The impact was so powerful that Craig and his team at Fusion OEM were inspired to create their own line of cobotics. 

Collaborative robots - cobots - are designed to operate around people and often with people. Not only can they help you eliminate the menial tasks that take up your team’s valuable and limited time, but they can also help keep integration and employee turnover costs low. Cobots are easily taught by those working in their space. There is no need for a cobotics consultant to train it in every new function. Using cobots to fulfill repetitive and menial work frees up your team to focus on areas of work that require their expertise - allowing them to grow in their knowledge and application instead of being bogged down by time-consuming tasks. 

Eliminating the dull, dirty, and dangerous 

Craig explains that knowing where and how to utilize cobots can be overwhelming to those who are first installing them. He encourages listeners to focus on the jobs on the shop floor that are dull, dirty, or dangerous and to begin implementing cobots in those tasks. Cobots are especially helpful in highly repetitive work because they don’t slow down or speed up as a human would throughout the day. The consistent speed and functionality of the cobot allows for more predictable output timetables and eliminates the dull work that keeps your team tied. Deburring, polishing, sanding, quality inspection, sensing, and making/recording measurements are all tasks that a cobot can accomplish - freeing you and your machinists to focus on what really matters. 

Investing in your team’s expertise by investing in cobotics

Training up the new generation of manufacturing leaders and machinists is incredibly important, especially when considering the huge portion of the current manufacturing labor force that is made up of baby boomers. Planning for the turnover that comes with retirements can be made smoother by implementing cobots into your workforce. While training new employees, cobots can cover tasks left by retired machinists and keep your output steady. Cobots also allow you to put more time and energy into training new employees and seasoned team members in new skills. The skills gap dilemma doesn’t have to slow your business. Using cobots can not only help you close that skills gap but make your production time more efficient while doing so. 

Educating yourself in the cobotic ecosystem

Jumping into cobotics implementation and utilization can be intimidating. Craig encourages listeners to take small steps and to familiarize themselves with what the cobotic ecosystem is all about. Visiting manufacturing shops and production lines that use cobots will allow you to see for yourself what they can accomplish. Find easy wins for cobotics within your own workforce. Test out cobots on jobs that you know you could use them in. Cobotics is a paradigm shift, but it doesn’t have to be a difficult one. Chip away at the automation transition and watch your business grow! 

Here’s The Good Stuff!
  • Craig’s “Aha!” moment: implementing cobots for greater efficiency. 
  • The difference between robots and cobots.
  • Investing in future expert machinists by using cobots.
  • The phases of training for a cobot. 
  • Eliminating the three Ds with cobotics. 
  • Understanding how cobots “talk” with other machines. 
  • Ways to engage in the cobotic ecosystem. 
Tools & Takeaways This Week’s Superstar Guest: Craig Zoberis Connect With MakingChips

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