Rapid technological advancement has already introduced many sectors to the benefits of collaborative automation, but the COVID-19 pandemic has seen that accelerate.
Many industries have been forced to find quick and effective solutions to the unprecedented problems posed by the coronavirus. Automation has proved to be a solution to many of those. More specifically, cobots, which are designed to work alongside humans rather than in isolation, are part of the solution.
What Challenges Has the Industry Faced During COVID-19?
Few industries have managed to escape some form of disruption to their operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The pharma and life science sector has been particularly badly hit due to an increase in demand at a time when staffing levels have fluctuated and operations have been interrupted.
Measures to combat the spread of COVID-19, such as social distancing, have led to a reduction in the number of people who can work in a facility at any one time. Some companies have mitigated against this with staggered shifts and other logistical adjustments, but production has slowed.
Another area where workforces have been impacted by COVID-19 outbreaks is in facilities which require staff to isolate and buildings to be closed and deep-cleaned. Even without a concentrated outbreak, staff members falling ill and having to take time off work have impacted production.
These incidents have been felt in the pharma industry which, at the same time, has had to meet the demand for medication, medical supplies, and specific forms of personal protection equipment (PPE). They haven’t been able to cease operations for a prolonged period of time, which also rules them out of any state or federal assistance.
What Applications Have Cobots Provided Assistance With?
Cobots have been able to fill in many of the gaps in production and operations which have befallen pharma and life science companies during COVID-19.
Automation already plays a large part in manufacturing, but the added advantage of collaborative automation is that it allows robots and humans to work side by side. Therefore, when facilities have had to implement social distancing measures, cobots have been able to step up to fill the gaps and allow production levels to be maintained.
In addition to operations already potentially handled by robots such as machine tending, sorting, and assembly, cobots have been able to assist with end-of-line tasks such as packaging and palletizing. This has allowed human staff to continue to work while observing social distancing and taking all other precautions.
In the case of shutdowns and staff shortages or isolation due to outbreaks, cobots have been able to perform some tasks to keep things ticking over in the meantime.
The Time Is Now to Consider Collaborative Automation
A huge headache for the pharma and life science sector during COVID-19 is how to fulfill existing orders. Constant disruptions to operations have placed huge pressure on staff who are able to work while shutdowns have meant delivery targets have been missed.
Unfulfilled or late orders can lead to lost contracts, so don’t waste any time in exploring how cobots can help your business bounce back to health.
Schedule a Discovery Call Today to Find Out What Cobots Can Do for You.