Industrial Robotics / Network Infrastructure

Meet the cobots: Humans and robots together on the factory floor

By Peggy Hollinger for the Financial Times

May 12, 2016

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Walking across the floor of SEW-Eurodrive’s factory in Baden-Württemberg is like moving through a time warp.

On one side, the light is dim and workers stand at long assembly lines repeating the same task over and over. On the other, a fleet of low-lying robotic trucks scoot around the shop floor, restocking restyled workstations.

In these small cells, a single employee helped by a robotic workbench assembles a virtually complete drive system that will be used to power the production of everything from cars to cola. Elsewhere, a robotic arm called Carmen helps workers load machines or pick components out of bins.

Here, the light is brighter, and the workers say they are happier. “Everything is just where I need it. I don’t have to lift up the heavy parts,” says Jürgen Heidemann, who has worked at SEW for 40 years.

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