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How well is your cobot really performing? If you don't measure it, you can't know for sure

Date:2018/04/30 Author: Views:40

By Universal Robots

Your new cobot is humming along, increasing production output, improving quality, helping employees avoid injury and add more value, and in general, is paying for itself day by day. All is right with the world.

Or is it?

How do you know for sure? Even if you’re thrilled with your cobot’s performance, could it be even better? And what if it’s great today, but productivity starts to degrade over time? How will you know? A big advantage of cobots is their ease of use that lets you optimize programming over time to boost productivity and adapt to process changes, but you can’t just make changes on-the-fly. You need hard data to make sure your changes are effective and that cobot processes are running at their highest capabilities at all times.

Key performance indicators (KPIs) are essential for monitoring your robot and for guiding decisions that will help you get the most bang for your cobot buck, year after year. Of course, your business likely uses KPIs already for everything from employee reviews to measuring the success of overall business strategies, and they’re a great way to measure the performance of many types of manufacturing equipment as well.

UR3 cobots has lessened the burden on workersAt PT JVC Electronics Indonesia the adoption of UR3 cobots has lessened the burden on workers to perform menial and repetitive tasks, including separating cut pieces of a Printed Circuit Board (PCB) and attaching a glass display on the car stereo units. The cobots also stabilized takt time - the cycle time of a specific process – while reducing the time per task by half.

Overall equipment effectiveness (OEE)—which measures the performance, availability, and quality of a machine—is often considered the "gold standard" KPI for manufacturing businesses. And while it’s used to measure the performance of manufacturing equipment from CNC machines to packing machines, it’s not necessarily the most effective KPI for robotics. You need cobot-specific KPIs that are designed to identify exactly which aspects of the cobot’s operation need adjustment and why.

To help you define those, we recently collaborated with Robotiq, a leading robotic gripper manufacturer and UR+ partner, to create a comprehensive ebook on “The Top 5 Cobot KPIs: How to Measure and Improve the Performance of Collaborative Robots.” The ebook walks you through cobot KPIs from beginning to end, explaining what they are, how they apply to cobots, and how to measure and calculate them. And while data is great, it’s how you apply it that makes a difference, so the ebook also walks you through how to use your KPIs effectively.

This new ebook covers these topics in depth:

  • Why all metrics are not equal and how to apply KPIs to robotics
  • Why the gold standard OEE isn’t enough for collaborative robots
  • What are the 10 most common losses in cobot operation
  • Four possible ways to record cobot KPIs
  • The top 5 KPIs for collaborative robots (plus an IoT bonus KPI)
  • 6 steps for using KPIs to monitor and improve performance

At the Czech metal parts manufacturer Baumruk & Baumruk, the investment into the UR10 cobot can be returned within 9 months, counting its full load, two-shifts operation and 30% of costs on a human operator.

Armed with hard data, you can prove—to yourself and your management team—that your adjustments are continuing to drive performance and ROI. That information can help open doors for future automation projects. But while you need hard numbers, your proof is based as much on what you’re measuring as the measurements themselves. The fact is, there are many things you could measure that are interesting, but that aren’t directly related to ROI. A key element of proving ROI, is using the right metrics. The 5 KPIs covered in our ebook can be directly linked to ROI calculations.

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