Collaborative Robots vs. Traditional Robots

by Lily White
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If you’re not familiar with collaborative robots, or cobots, they are industrial robots designed to work safely alongside humans. The idea is that they can help relieve workers of repetitive and often strenuous tasks, freeing them up for more meaningful work.

Cobots have been around for about a decade, but advances in artificial intelligence make them more intelligent and more practical, and their cost is coming down. They are finding their way into the small-business sector, where they can be used for tasks like picking orders and packing boxes.

Collaborative robots are a new technology. Like all developing technologies, it will take time for them to be fully understood by the public. This can lead to confusion about what collaborative robots are and how they differ from traditional industrial robots.

So, what exactly is a collaborative robot, and how does it differ from a traditional robot? Here are some differences to consider:


Safety is a primary concern with traditional industrial robotic systems. To program and operate them, one must have extensive knowledge about the robot, its controls, and its capabilities. The robots are usually stationed behind physical barriers to protect the operators from any accidents. This ultimately limits the use of robots in industrial manufacturing.

A collaborative robot, on the other hand, can be programmed and operated by individuals without extensive knowledge of robotics or programming. The robots are designed with safety features to work alongside humans while not being caged off. They can be easily deployed in different tasks throughout a workspace.


Traditional robots are generally bigger and have more payload, meaning they have a heavier capacity to carry and move things. On the other hand, Cobots have a much lower payload — usually about six to ten kilograms.

The maximum speed of cobots is also lower than that of traditional robots; cobots usually have a total speed of about one meter per second, whereas traditional robots can reach speeds of up to five meters per second.

This means that traditional robots are better suited for huge production lines where they can be protected from human contact. On the other hand, cobots are ideal for smaller or medium-sized companies working in niches such as food or pharmaceuticals where there is a need for flexibility and customization.


There is no doubt that collaborative robots are a cost-effective alternative to traditional industrial automation. One of the main reasons for this is the price of the robot itself, which is significantly lower than that of an industrial robot. Because they are so much cheaper, they can be purchased in more significant numbers and placed in areas that would not have been possible with a traditional robot.

However, the price of the robot isn’t the only reason cobots are more cost-effective than traditional industrial automation. The other primary reason is the ease of programming and deployment. Traditional industrial robots require extensive programming knowledge, whereas cobots are built to be easy to use and require little to no programming experience.

This difference in programming knowledge means that you can deploy cobots in various applications, from simple pick and place tasks to complex assembly operations. There is no need to hire new staff or train existing staff with expensive training courses before introducing a collaborative robot into your operations.


Collaborative robots are a new breed of robots that make it possible for a human and robot to work together on a task in the same workspace. Traditional robots need to be separated from humans by cages, but collaborative robots can safely operate alongside human workers. This flexibility makes it easier to deploy cobots in many different applications, from picking and packing to machine tending to assembly tasks.

The flexibility of collaborative robots is excellent for companies looking to boost productivity across multiple processes or even multiple products. Traditional industrial robots require expensive reconditioning each time they need to be redeployed.

Collaborative robots can easily be moved around — even retrained — with minimal time and cost. What’s more, these cobots have built-in safety features that allow them to operate within a shared space without safety guarding.


Collaborative robots are much smaller than traditional robots. The size of a collaborative robot ensures that it does not take up too much space. This is important for manufacturing companies who want to use a robot on their lines but do not want to make significant changes to their facilities or processes to accommodate it.

Collaborative robots also weigh less than traditional industrial robots. This means picking up and moving the robot is simple and easy for a human. For the robot itself, it can be moved from one location to another without additional equipment or help from a human.

Traditional robots are often big, bulky, expensive, and dangerous because they can’t sense their environment. Traditional robots will keep going until they hit something or someone and then try to go again from where they stopped. This can disrupt production if these robots hit people, bins, tools, or other obstacles in their workspace.

Ease of Programming

Collaborative robots are designed to work with human workers, while traditional robots are designed to perform their tasks in a different environment.

A cobot is an industrial robot designed to interact with humans in a shared workspace. In addition, a cobot typically requires little or no safety fencing for the operator. This makes them easier to set up and program than traditional industrial robots.

In contrast, traditional robots are often caged off from employees because they might be dangerous if they come into contact with a human. Traditional robots have traditionally been used in manufacturing and other applications without human assistance.

Cobots can be programmed in minutes using the teach pendant or simply by guiding the robot arm through its motions manually. Thanks to their intuitive programming interfaces, they can also easily be reprogrammed to perform a new task.

Industry Adoption

The adoption of collaborative robots has been driven by the rapid development of technology, plus the need for a flexible and cost-effective automation solution to address labor shortages and reduce operating costs.

Collaborative robots have been proven to increase production levels with improved consistency and accuracy while lowering the total cost of labor. In addition, they are easy to use, can be quickly changed to perform various tasks, and can be easily moved from one location to another.

The cost-effectiveness of collaborative robots is the primary driver for their increased adoption. Most industrial robots require costly safety systems that can increase the initial investment by two times. Nevertheless, collaborative robots do not require such extensive guarding because they work closely with people in a shared workspace.


Traditional robots could do things other machines could not, but they were not very accurate. They were also not user-friendly and required expertise to operate. This meant that the number of people who could use them was low.

Traditional robots are programmed to perform a specific task by their operator. Once the job is complete, the robot is reprogrammed for a new task. If the robot cannot complete a task, it must be shut down immediately to prevent damage.

Collaborative robots are more accurate than ever before and they can also be programmed to perform multiple tasks by their operators without downtime. Collaborative robots require minimal programming knowledge and can be operated by anyone.

Final Thoughts

Collaborative robots are a hot topic in manufacturing right now. They are affordable, flexible, and easy to program and use. These characteristics have opened up new applications in areas that were previously out of reach for traditional industrial robots.

Therefore, collaborative robots take the day if you are trying to decide between the two.


By Ghazanfar Ali

Bio: I am an expert in search engine optimization on both on-page and off-page.I have experience in this work of 4+ years and working online is my passion. Additionally, I know that getting a good ranking is very important for a website of a small business owner and it is becoming more and more difficult to get a good decent ranking for the website on Google. I am totally aware of the marketing system and keep myself up to date.

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