Collaborative robot performance is lacking — distributors warn

Shockingly, 79 per cent of automation distributors do not believe their customers understand the safety requirements of installing a collaborative robot. That’s according to the results of the Global Robotics Report.

Shockingly, 79 per cent of automation distributors do not believe their customers understand the safety requirements of installing a collaborative robot. That's according to the results of the Global Robotics Report. Published by Toshiba Machine distributor, TM Robotics, the report is available to download and expresses the opinion of automation distributors on current challenges related to robotics.


The report states that over 55 per cent of automation distributors do not believe collaborative robot technology is advanced enough to deliver the performance demands of manufacturing or packaging industries. This coincides with over 80 per cent of distributors witnessing no decline in industrial robot sales since the dawn of the cobot.

However, the report also highlighted issues in the traditional, industrial robot market. The report emphasised distributor's concerns about existing robotics software, with 45 per cent of distributors stating that difficult to understand software was a common problem. Additionally, 38 per cent of distributors highlighted the issue of robot software incompatibility with existing automation systems.

Cyber security was raised as another area of uncertainty. Over three quarters of automation distributors stated their customers did not ask for advice about cyber security when upgrading to a smart factory. In the era of Industry 4.0, cyber security should be an important consideration. However, when respondents were asked about the feature's customers specified when choosing a robot, security protocols were not mentioned.

Instead, the most popular features customers are perceived to be looking for were related to simple robot programming at 79 per cent, integrated vision at 55 per cent and collaborative abilities at 48 per cent.

"Customer expectations of industrial robots are changing," explained Nigel Smith, managing director of TM Robotics. "As a result, the way we deliver robots must change too. No longer are robots simply a tool to increase manufacturing output, but a fundamental part of manufacturers' goals for digitalisation. To meet these expectations, distributors must consider what factors are important to today's manufacturers.

"Data has been collected from distributors on six out of seven continents — we're still working on Antarctica. To put some rhetorical flesh on the statistics of these responses, we have also collected some anonymous quotes from distributors of robotic equipment, to deliver an undiluted view on the state of the industry and its customers."

The Global Robotics Report is available to download from the TM Robotics website. TM Robotics is the authorised distributor of Toshiba Machine robots for the EMEA region and North and South America. For more information on TM Robotics, please visit the website or contact the team directly on info@tmrobotics.com.

Featured Product

 IPR Robotics - Right-Sized 7th Axis Robot Linear Rails

IPR Robotics - Right-Sized 7th Axis Robot Linear Rails

IPR Robotics offers a wide range of servo-driven 7th axis linear rails for industrial robots. These rails come in ten different sizes and are constructed from modular high strength extruded aluminum sections to handle payloads of 100 kg to 1600 kg or from steel to handle 2000 kg payloads. This variety of rail sizes allows each application to be sized correctly, controlling the space required and the price point. The drive train design of these rails utilizes helical gear-racks and is proven over 10 years to be repeatable and reliable, even in tough foundry applications.