Robots descending on industrial workplaces in record numbers

Go on, touch the robot.That’s what engineering manager Tom Borro told every worker at an auto supplier factory to do when the first of six “collaborative” robots arrived last year. The idea, he said, was to make assembly line employees comfortable with their newest, mechanical colleagues known colloquially as co-bots.The Universal UR10 robot’s task is both simple and repetitive: pick up flimsy insulation pads known as shoddy; transfer them to a machine to be inserted into a door panel; then move the panel to a human worker for inspection.It’s no Terminator. Bolted to the floor with a single, swinging arm, the UR10 stands less than 6 feet tall and can lift only up to 22 pounds.

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