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Collaborative Robots vs Industrial Robots: Choosing the Best Fit for your Manufacturing Needs

Collaborative Robots vs Industrial Robots: Choosing the Best Fit for your Manufacturing Needs

Industry insights

15 Apr 2024

Collaborative robots, or cobots, have gained a lot of attention in industrial automation circles in recent years. Cobots, which offer more flexibility, safety, and user-friendliness, have been projected as the manufacturing industry's future. However, traditional industrial robots continue to rule the scene in terms of utilization and scale despite their rising popularity. This raises the question of whether the excitement over collaborative robots is warranted or if it is exaggerated when compared to industrial robots. Let's find out in this article!

Distinguishing Between Cobots and Traditional Industrial Robots

It's critical to understand the key differences between collaborative robots and traditional industrial robots before getting into the discussion.

Traditional industrial robots are usually big, strong devices used to swiftly and precisely complete repetitive tasks. Because of safety concerns regarding potential harm from their motions, these robots are frequently kept apart from human workers.

Collaborative robots, on the other hand, don't require physical barriers to operate alongside people in a shared workspace. They can recognize and respond to human presence due to their sophisticated sensors and safety features, which guarantee a secure working environment. 

Cobots vs Traditional Industrial Robots: Which One Is Better?

Depending on the application, cobots, and traditional industrial robots each have unique pros and cons. 

Pros of Collaborative Robots

1. Flexibility: Cobots are perfect for quick reconfiguration and small-batch production because of their great versatility and rapid reconfiguration to carry out various duties.

2. Safety: By decreasing the requirement for safety barriers and lowering the danger of workplace accidents, cobots with integrated sensors and safety features can operate alongside human operators in a safe manner.

3. Ease of Use: Collaborative robots are often designed with user-friendly interfaces, allowing operators with limited programming experience to teach them new tasks quickly.

Cons of Collaborative Robots

1. Limited Payload and Speed: Cobots are less suitable for heavy-duty applications than traditional industrial robots since they typically have smaller payload capabilities and slower operating speeds.

2. Cost: Although cobots may initially be less expensive, ongoing maintenance and integration costs might mount up, making cobots less economical in some situations.

3. Performance: Cobots may not be able to match the performance capabilities of traditional industrial robots in some situations that call for high-speed, high-precision operation.

Pros of Traditional Industrial Robots

1. High Payload and Speed: Industrial robots are perfect for large production and assembly line activities because they perform well in applications requiring heavy lifting and quick cycle times.

2. Precision: Traditional robots provide better precision and repeatability due to their sophisticated mechanical designs and control systems, which guarantee constant quality in production operations.

3. Cost-Effectiveness: Traditional industrial robots can be more efficient and have cheaper per-unit costs than cobots in large-scale manufacturing scenarios where high throughput is important.

Cons of Traditional Industrial Robots

1. Safety concerns: Traditional industrial robots are less flexible and take up more area because they need safety fencing or barriers to keep human workers safe from unintentional accidents or entrapment.

2. Programming Complexity: Traditional robots are more difficult for operators without prior robotics experience to set up and operate since they frequently call for specific knowledge and training.

3. Rigidity: Once deployed, traditional industrial robots are typically dedicated to specific tasks and may require significant downtime and reconfiguration to adapt to changing production needs.

Use-Cases: Choosing the Right Tool for the Job

When choosing between cobots and traditional industrial robots the unique needs of the application at hand must be taken into account.

Cobots are ideal for jobs requiring small-batch production, frequent changeovers, and intimate human-machine cooperation. Businesses in the food processing, healthcare, and electronics assembly sectors can profit from cobots' flexibility and safety characteristics.

On the contrary, traditional industrial robots perform well in situations requiring a high throughput, accuracy, and dependability. To reach production targets and quality requirements, industries such as heavy machinery, aerospace, and automobile manufacturing depend on the speed, payload capacity, and repeatability of traditional robots.

Enhancing Traditional Industrial Robots with Augmentus

Traditional industrial robots are still essential in many manufacturing contexts, even though cobots have special advantages. The differences between the two are becoming less clear as automation technology advances and offers solutions that incorporate the best features of both strategies.

Augmentus is a cutting-edge platform that offers traditional industrial robots with improved safety, productivity, integration, and programming capabilities.

Safety: Before being deployed in the actual world, Augmentus uses offline programming to provide extensive testing and simulation in a virtual setting. Augmentus improves the safety of traditional industrial robot operations by lowering the requirement for onsite changes and the likelihood of accidents.

Ease of Programming and Integration: Augmentus' user-friendly, no-code graphic interface makes it easier for operators of all skill levels to program and reprogram industrial robots. Furthermore, a variety of robot OEMs and end effectors are compatible with Augmentus, guaranteeing a smooth integration into current manufacturing workflows.

Increased Productivity: Augmentus makes it possible for traditional industrial robots to operate more productively by optimizing the programming process and decreasing downtime. This results in cycle durations that are up to 30 times faster than those of manual programming techniques.

Robotic Sanding and Sandblasting: Augmentus empowers traditional robots to execute sanding and sandblasting tasks with unparalleled accuracy and speed. By leveraging advanced programming and integration features, manufacturers achieve exceptional results in surface finishing, enhancing product quality and consistency.

Precision Welding: Augmentus enhances traditional industrial robots for precision welding applications, ensuring optimal weld quality and efficiency. With Augmentus' intuitive programming interface and compatibility with diverse welding systems, manufacturers can streamline welding processes and meet stringent quality standards.

Schedule a Demo with Augmentus 

Ready to explore how Augmentus can enhance the capabilities of your traditional industrial robots? Schedule a demo today to experience the future of automation firsthand.


The discussion of whether collaborative robots are overhyped is complex and dependent upon the unique requirements and priorities of every manufacturing process. Traditional industrial robots are still necessary for high-volume production and applications requiring precision, even if cobots provide considerable advantages in terms of flexibility and safety.