Imagine, after doing some research online, you’ve finally decided to invest in a cobot. But before you get too excited, you discover that there’s another decision you still need to make: should you get help from a robotic integrator? This can be difficult to think about. After all, robotic integrators can appear costly compared to just getting the cobot on its own. However, robotic integrators can be critical to the success of automating your business, and they provide a variety of benefits that make them worth the cost. Want to learn more about what robotic integrators have to offer? Here’s a quick guide on some of their benefits that make them a wise investment.

What’s a Robotic Integrator?

Before we dive in, you may still be wondering what an integrator is! Simply put, robotic integrators are the bridge between the functionality of a robot and the needs of a business. Without an integrator to help tailor a robot’s specifications, the robot will struggle with effectively meeting the needs of your business.

To better understand this idea with an analogy, let’s compare robotic integrators and chefs! When you’re hungry, you need to eat some food to feel full. Pretty simple, right? However, even if you know the type of food you’re craving and have the ingredients available, you can’t do anything to satisfy your hunger unless you know how to prepare the dish correctly. Even if you have a general idea of what the food tastes like, you still need to know the recipe, while also having the skills and experience to correctly prepare that dish. Without that knowledge, you may accidentally undercook your food, over-season it, or even burn it entirely, thus rendering it inedible. However, if you go to a restaurant and have an expert chef cook what you’re looking for, they can prepare the perfect dish for you and satisfy your cravings!

Similarly, if you’re looking to automate your business, but don’t have the expertise to properly install and program your robot, it won’t be able to effectively meet your needs. By getting help from a robotic integrator, they can utilize their in-depth knowledge to ensure that the robot’s specifications are set to match your needs. This tailored customization is especially important if your business is attempting to automate a unique process.

Benefits
Now you know what an integrator does, but you may still be wondering if they’re worth the cost. Maybe you even feel like an integrator is a waste of money since you want to handle everything yourself. However, there are a variety of benefits that integrators bring to the table, and they definitely shouldn’t be overlooked.

1) They customize your robot

As mentioned earlier, integrators help ensure that your robot is customized to fit your specific needs. While some robots may claim to be pre-programmed and easy to use, these functions are often very generalized and intended for simple forms of automation. The problem here is that in the real world, automation processes typically have varying levels of complexity, ranging from payload variation to dynamic environmental factors. This is where robotic integrators can help, as they will analyze your needs and see what extra modifications should be made for the robotic system to work effectively.

2) They keep your employees safe

Safety is another important factor to consider when implementing automation. After all, the last thing anybody wants is a newly installed robot to accidentally harm an employee! Even so, you may be thinking, “the robot I want is designed to be used around humans anyway, so why would I need to be concerned?” However, even though some robots have the capability to work without any safety guarding, there are a lot of complexities and exceptions to consider. Even if a robot has built-in safety features, it may still need additional protection if its environment or payload creates dangerous conditions. To address this issue, integrators can perform a full risk assessment then inform you of potential dangers and preventative measures, thus ensuring employee safety. Another bonus is that if any unexpected incidents were to occur, the liability would go to the robotic integrator. Without an integrator, if an incident were to occur after you had installed the robot entirely on your own, you would end up being fully liable for any damages caused. Robotic integrators are going to do everything they can to ensure that your employees stay safe, so you can enjoy the benefits of automation without any worries.

3) They save you time

An additional benefit of getting a robotic integrator is that they can stop you from unnecessarily wasting time. If you were to attempt installing a robot on your own without any robotics knowledge or experience, it could take you anywhere from 6 to 12 months to figure out the robot’s most optimal configurations. And, without the necessary in-depth expertise, you’ll have to go through trial-and-error processes to learn what works best. However, with the help of an integrator, they can conduct a thorough analysis of your business needs and the robot’s environment. This analysis stage allows them to quickly learn the most effective setup and application of your robot, and the installation time can be cut down to as little as 6 to 12 weeks! After the integrator helps install your robot, you and your employees will have extra time to focus on other tasks that matter, rather than use up months of labour on testing alone.

4) They provide ongoing support

Another key benefit of robotic integrators is that they can provide ongoing support after installation is complete. After you initially receive a robot from an equipment manufacturer, communication from them typically ends there, and you’re then left on your own. You may receive the contact info of the individual who sold the equipment to you, but they often won’t be obligated to give much support beyond the installation stage. In fact, there are some cases where that individual stops working at the company altogether, which leaves customers without a point of contact anymore. Robotic integrators address this issue by providing ongoing support and maintenance as part of their services. Also, businesses are usually able to get help from integrators more quickly than they would from an equipment manufacturer. This timely and ongoing support allows businesses to feel more secure, because they’ll know that there’s always someone who can help if anything goes wrong.

Overall, robotic integrators provide a wide range of benefits to the end-user. Even though they may appear costly in comparison to purchasing a cobot on its own, the fact that they can help customize your cobot, improve employee safety, save you time, and provide ongoing support, make them worth the investment.

If you’re in need of a robotics integrator, Apex Motion Control has an in-house expert available to talk about your business needs. With Apex’s help, you can discover an automation solution that works best for you, such as our Baker-Bot, to improve production efficiency and productivity.
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