#ThoughtsOnRobots: Simon Potzkai
Simon Potzkai, Head of Sales at Smart Robotics, Germany - answering our questions on robotics
Why do you think the sale of collaborative robots has increased in recent years?
In my opinion, there are two main reasons for the growth. Firstly, the easy programming of the robots means that the companies don’t need a person with a high level in programming, as it was the case a few years ago where it could be very complicated to program a robot. Secondly, the big flexibility of the robots means that you can get the robots to do many different processes which is a big advantage.
What do you see as the biggest trends within the field of collaborative robots right now?
Welding is currently a big topic in Germany, as it is difficult to find skilled workers for welding. In addition, welding for human health is, in my opinion, not so healthy. CNC Machine loading is also a big topic because many young people nowadays don’t want to work at the CNC machines the same way people did years ago. But obviously it’s different in different regions: Yesterday I a talked to a guy who opened a production line in Turkey, and he said that they have many skilled workers who would love to do CNC machine tending.
How do you see the current trends within the area of end of arm tooling?
The biggest trend right now is flexible grippers which are easy to integrate with the software. The factories I visit need grippers with big flexibility, especially the fingers, so they can process one part and then change the fingers and brackets to process a different part.
Where do you see the biggest potentials for collaborative robots in the years ahead?
I think a big market will be physiotherapy and the health sector as a whole. For example, when you have broken a leg or an arm and go to the physiotherapist, the robot can do the same movement with the same exact force in a certain period which will make the healing process faster. That’s not possible today with a human physiotherapist.
How do you see the perspectives for the use end of arm tooling in the next 5 years?
I think we will see smaller, more flexible systems with more payload. Maybe we will also see systems that combine electric and air grippers together. That could be a big advantage in for example the electric industry handling circuit boards.
What are the biggest challenges the collaborative robot industry in the future?
Often, the big focus on safety in Europe means that projects with collaborative robots don’t go as fast as we would like them to do. Getting more speed in collaborative projects is a big challenge, and more often than not, ISO comes in the way. We have many discussions with our customers about how to speed up the process.
Do you have a favorite collaborative robot or application?
Doosan is a favorite of mine. The robot is very easy to program and very safe, and it has a nice cockpit with 5 buttons which are very easy to control. Also, the LED band showing the robot’s status is a good feature.
What has surprised you the most working in the robot industry?
Is has surprised me how easy the robots are to program. Before I started in Smart Robotics, I thought you needed to have big courses to program them, but I quickly found out that was not the case. The current flexibility of the robots has also surprised me – it’s amazing how the cobot market has moved in the latest 3-4 years.
#ThoughtsOnRobots is a series of blogposts on onrobot.com where world leading experts, industry influencers and companies answer a number of questions about their views on the industry, trends, challenges and potentials.
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