#ThoughtsOnRobots: Peter Hern

Peter Hern

Should you choose collaborative or traditional industrial automation? In this interview, Peter Hern, Business Development Manager at Diverseco in Australia, shares his thoughts on why it is not a matter of either/or, but of choosing the right robotic application for the task at hand.

There is an increasing, worldwide demand for collaborative robotics, but is it always the best choice?

Collaborative robotics hold a lot of attraction for manufacturers, both small and large, with their rapid deployment, ease of setup, small footprint, the growing capacity in both payload and reach and the ever-expanding range of simple to use end of arm tooling that results in a great ROI.

But there are some tasks that still require traditional industrial automation, says Peter Hern, Business Development Manager at Diverseco.

“Collaborative robots are not full-on industrial robots, capable of high speeds while carrying large payloads. It is vital to acknowledge that each type of robot has its place in the factories of today and tomorrow,” he says.

Increasing scope for collaborative applications

The lines between collaborative and industrial robots are starting to blur with some collaborative robots handling a 25 kg payload and up to 1700 mm reach. But the “collaborative” aspect of collaborative applications imposes certain limits on design and speed:

“The robot has to work in close proximity with humans without endangering them. This functional requirement dictates the design and the safe operating speed of collaborative robots,” says Peter Hern.

That same safe ability, however, is leading collaborative automation to be used for tasks that were, traditionally, the realm of industrial automation.

“Take welding for example. Today there are many collaborative welders available to small, short-run manufacturers who would never have considered an industrial welding cell. Others are using collaborative robots for assembly processes using multiple tools – something that may have required a Special Purpose Machine previously,” Peter Hern explains.


Initial investment vs. time to market

While on the face of it, collaborative applications may appear more costly, their flexibility, agile implementation and short time to market speak in their favour.

“You can purchase a collaborative robot plus a good quality end effector and have the application up and running in a day or two. 

“Compare that to the time and cost of the delivery and installation of a traditional industrial robot cell including safety fencing etc. That easily takes upwards of 12 weeks before it’s operational. This is the winning formula for many engineers and factory managers,” Peter Hern says.


What is the next frontier for collaborative applications?

Collaborative applications can perform a growing list of tasks: everything from the standard packaging processes, assembly, machine tending, inspection, to welding, painting, sanding and polishing, through to services such as delivering physiotherapy and making and serving your takeaway coffee or bubble tea.

The possibilities are endless, and that makes it hard to predict where collaborative automation is headed next:

“I’m no longer surprised at what some people want a collaborative robot to do. The opportunities are only limited by the imagination. That’s why I’m always happy to talk with anyone about collaborative automation – no matter how left field the application may seem,” says Peter Hern.




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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.

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  • 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.

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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
With the dawn of smarter, more adaptive tooling, robots can now function with greater speed, strength, safety and precision, accomplishing a wide range of tasks, while maximizing ROI. Learn more on how you can enable faster production at lower costs by downloading our free eBook.
How to Grow your Business with Collaborative Applications
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