#ThoughtsOnRobots: Nicolas Bouhet
In this interview, director of HMI-MBS in France, Nicolas Bouhet shares his five-step guide to making your first collaborative robotic automation a success.
"It is our job to guide our customers to have positive first experiences with collaborative robotics", says Nicolas Bouhet, director of HMI-MBS in France.
Once the customers - mainly small and medium-sized companies - get a taste of what collaborative automation can do for their businesses, they tend to come back, hungry for more:
"At the beginning of 2020, we had a customer who was interested in collaborative applications. Together with the customer, we identified a simple pick and place application with OnRobot's RG2 gripper attached to a collaborative robot from Universal Robots. It took just two months from the first contact until the application was up and running. After this first experience, the customer bought two more robots that same year!" says Nicolas Bouhet.
Here, he shares his five-step guide to making your first collaborative automation a quick success:
A 5-step guide to collaborative automation success
Get employee buy-in
One of the most important aspects of any automation project is getting buy-in from your workers.
It is only natural for them to be concerned when you introduce new technology that interferes directly with their daily work. Your job is to allay their fears. Speak to their main concerns, usually job security and work safety.
Job security: The collaborative application works as a third arm
"The collaborative robot is not made to replace three operators by a super highspeed system; rather, it is a third arm for the operator meant to help him in his work and reduce the drudgery of dull and dangerous tasks", Nicolas Bouhet explains.
Safety: Collision experiments demonstrate safety
To demonstrate the level of safety of collaborative applications, Nicolas Bouhet sometimes asks customers to experiment with collisions with the robot.
"That's the best way to convince them of its safety! Once, a big company asked me to come and make all the users experiment with collisions for an entire day. All the users were surprised by the sensitivity of the robot and how safe it was for them!" says Nicolas Bouhet.
Identify the task for automation
Next step is to identify the best task for your first collaborative application.
"There are two kinds of customer: the ones who want to start with the most complex project, thinking if we can do this, we can do anything and the ones who want to become familiar with the technology by starting with a simple project. In my experience, the complex projects often fail", cautions Nicolas Bouhet.
He recommends that you start with a simple application that is suitable for collaborative robotic technology.
Define the robot and accessories necessary
Once you have identified a suitable application for collaborative automation, you need to define which robot and which accessories, such as end of arm tooling, are necessary to complete the task. Look at the robot's payload, cycle time, etc. Ask your robot supplier for help if in doubt.
Create Proof of Concept
Now, you need proof of concept. Test that your collaborative solution works before making the final investment. That way, you reduce the risk of making the wrong investment, and you can make modifications to the solution to customize it to your need.
Deploy quickly and efficiently
A quick and efficient deployment ensures continued support of the new technology.
With collaborative applications, you can be up and running in a few months, if not weeks. Accessories such as end of arm tooling are all plug and produce. The programming is so easy you can often do it without the help of specialists, and most robot suppliers offer training and support.
"If the first collaborative automation project is a success, the entire company will have more confidence in the technology", says Nicolas Bouhet.
How to Grow your Business with Collaborative Applications
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