Cobots Take on Difficult, Dirty, and Dangerous Tasks

Ceiling painting, plasterboard finishing and overhead drilling are not typical applications for collaborative robotics (cobots). After all, cobots were designed with manufacturing applications in mind, such as machine tending, assembly, welding, and palletizing.

Manufacturing is where cobots have demonstrated their usefulness, convenience of use, and ability to assist manufacturers in adapting to quickly changing situations, such as pandemics and product shifts, supply chain shocks and labour shortages. However, by leveraging the ease of use, versatility, and small footprint of cobot systems–particularly those that support a wide range of third-party end-effectors and other peripheral tools–today’s cobot-powered systems are finding new applications even in traditionally under-automated sectors such as construction.

Because cobots are supposed to replace dull, dirty, and dangerous duties, and the construction sector still relies on unergonomic, human labour, this alignment makes perfect sense. For example, overhead drilling, a frequent construction operation that demands individuals to adopt unnatural postures to accomplish the task successfully and is a known trigger for an occupational shoulder injury. Finding individuals to perform these physically demanding and repetitive duties is getting increasingly challenging. Furthermore, manual drilling produces inconsistencies.

One unique answer to these issues is the Hilti Jaibot, a cobot-based construction robot. This cordless robot, mounted on a mobile platform for easy movement around the construction site, marks and drills holes using digital drawings. It’s also intended to be simple to operate, especially for those unfamiliar with robots.

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