Collaborative Applications - Alan Livingston from iCobotics | OnRobot

In this interview with OnRobot, President Alan Livingston from iCobotics shares his views on collaborative applications and gives tips to manufacturers deploying new applications.

After more than 25 years working with manufacturers and applications, Alan Livingston has witnessed the impact of collaborative applications firsthand.

“Collaborative applications have allowed robots, automation and operators to work together in a way that was previously not possible. For example, the robot has sensors built in that can detect if it hits something and can stop until it is time to resume. There is no doubt that the expanding technology for solutions and new application possibilities will continue to drive change.”  

Can be deployed in two days
According to Alan Livingston, one of the biggest advantages for collaborative applications is that they can be deployed easily and quickly.

“Collaborative applications can be deployed in as little as two days from start to finish with dedicated resources. It is simple to deploy a basic material handling application with integrated grippers and no additional safety. But of course, as the complexity of the application goes up, the time goes up.” 

Flexibility and modularity
As for the future, Alan Livingston expects continuous growth in the use of collaborative applications for high mix, low volume production which demand flexibility and modularity: “Electric grippers designed for use with collaborative robots and vision systems to locate parts has allowed these types of applications to be successfully executed. This combined with intuitive interfaces will drive future growth and possibilities.”

6 important tips to manufacturers
For manufacturers about to deploy a collaborative application, Alan Livingston has 6 important tips:

  1. Start simple and get early wins:
    Early wins with equipment and the support team is important to show the possibilities of the technology and that it will profitable. One can find an application and get to 75% functionality pretty quickly.
  2. Define your process requirements:
    You must understand all the things that are required to produce good parts. Your operators and process experts are the place to start. It is important to document and track key metrics in the development stage and later in production.
  3. Do prototyping and mock-ups early:
    It can take several iterations to learn how to marry the equipment, process, and people together, and it is recommended to do prototyping and mock-up work early in the discovery process. Once you get close to a solution that will be suitable for production, you can develop drawings and have production grade components made. 
  4. Identify the application expertise needed to support your automation solutions: 
    Start by understanding your internal experience and capabilities. Then look to your trusted suppliers and partners for help. Any additional support required can come from new suppliers you will identify in the buying process.
  5. Understand the full integration cost of deploying a cobotic solution:
    Material cost is easy to identify and track. The amount of labor required to integrate components can vary greatly. The skill required and the cost of labor is a variable too. Therefore, you must look at both material and labor to find the best value. Spending a little more in material cost upfront can lead to big savings in the end.
  6. Include your internal resources that will run and maintain the equipment:
    The best way to learn equipment is to be in the design and build process for that equipment. Your team has the expertise to manufacture the goods you produce. Include them early so that the new combination of equipment and people will be most successful.





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This data protection policy applies to OnRobot.

The purpose of the policy is to ensure and document that OnRobot protects personal data in accordance with the rules for processing of personal data. The policy will also contribute to OnRobot providing information about its processing and use of registered personal data.

The policy will be reviewed each year.

Record of the processing of personal data

OnRobot processes personal data about:

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  • Suppliers

  • Applicants

OnRobot has prepared a record of the processing of personal data. The record provides an overview of the processing for which OnRobot is responsible.

The personal data must be provided in order for OnRobot to enter into employment, customer and supplier contracts.

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Personal data are processed and archived in connection with:

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Processing is legal by the authority specified in the appended record.

OnRobot does not use the personal data for purposes other than those listed. OnRobot does not collect more personal data than necessary to meet the purpose. 

Storage and erasure

OnRobot has introduced the following overall guidelines for storage and erasure of personal data:

  • Personal data are stored in physical folders.

  • Personal data are stored in IT systems and on server drives.

  • Personal data are not stored for longer than necessary to meet the purpose of the processing.

  • Personal data for employees are erased five years after employment has ended, and personal data about applicants are erased after six months.

Data security

Based on the appended risk assessment, OnRobot has implemented security measures to protect personal data:

  • Only employees with a work-related need to access the registered personal data have access to the data, either physically or via IT systems with rights management.

  • All computers are password protected and employees may not disclose their passwords to others.

  • Computers must have firewall and antivirus software installed, which must be updated regularly.

  • Personal data are erased securely in connection with phasing-out and repair of IT equipment.

  • USB flash drives, external hard disks, etc. containing personal data must be stored in a locked drawer or cabinet.

  • Physical folders are placed in a locked office or in locked cabinets.

  • Personal data in physical folders are erased by shredding.

  • All employees must be instructed in what to do with personal data and how to protect personal data.


Website and Cookie

  • The Personal Data Regulation allows you to treat personal data only legally for the purpose for which they have been collected. If you want to use data for purposes other than the original, you must always have the consent of the registrant.

  • Upon receipt of a business card from a customer you have his consent. If you write his information you need his signature on this paper to have a formal requirement for consent if you want to use his information. Then the customer allows OnRobot to use his data for purposes other than communication, upcoming promotions, product updates or further news including upcoming promotions, product updates and further news.

  • According to the Cookie Act, OnRobot must have the user’s consent to use this software on the user’s equipment. On The company’s intranet or similar closed group, the rules in the E-data protection directive do not apply.


Personal data about employees may be disclosed to public authorities such as the Danish Customs and Tax Administration and pension companies.


OnRobot only uses processors if they are able to provide the required guarantees that they will implement appropriate technical and organisational security measures to comply with personal data law. All processors must sign a processor agreement before processing commences.


OnRobot safeguards the rights of data subjects, including the right to access, withdrawal of consent, rectification and erasure and will inform the data subjects of OnRobot’s processing of personal data. Data subjects are also entitled to appeal to the Danish Data Protection Agency.

Personal data breach

In case of personal data breach, OnRobot will report the breach to the Danish Data Protection Agency as soon as possible and within 72 hours. The manager is responsible for this reporting taking place. The report will outline the breach, the groups of persons affected and the impact the breach may have on these persons and how OnRobot has remedied or intends to remedy the breach. If the breach entails a high risk for the persons about whom OnRobot processes personal data, OnRobot will also notify these persons. OnRobot s will document any personal data breach on an access-controlled drive.

Erasure of data

The customer should assess when personal data need to be erased by asking the question:

When is it no longer necessary to store the personal data?

OnRobot follows the practice of the Danish Data Protection Agency:

Applications Are erased after 6 months in connection with job interviews. Unsolicited applications are erased immediately.
Employee data Are erased 5 years after termination of employment.
CCTV surveillance Is erased after 30 days.
Telephone conversations Are erased immediately or after up to 3 months.
Accounting records Must be stored for 5 years from the end of the financial year.


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How to Grow your Business with Collaborative Applications
How to Grow your Business with Collaborative Applications
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How to Grow your Business with Collaborative Applications
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