Collaborative robots (cobots)

Collaborative robots or ‘cobots’ are making the world of human and robot interaction within a shared space rapidly become the norm. Human-robot interactions can now range from simple coexistence and cooperation to full collaboration. Currently most cobots are relatively small, with a maximum payload capacity of between 0.5 to 20 kg while maintaining a good reach and without sacrificing accuracy, speed or repeatability. They often operate with 6-degrees of freedom (6DoF), requiring a separate brushless DC motor on each of the 6 axis. While powered from a mains supply, cobots motors use either a 24 V or 48 V supply.

Block diagram

Highlighted components are Nexperia focus products

Design considerations

  • As cobots interact in shared space with humans, there cannot be any high power / live currents or elevated temperatures and ensure fail-safe mechanisms. 
  • BLDC motor is typically used - precise movement and positioning and torque sensing required.
  • Designs are moving from a centralised architecture where all electronics are located in a cabinet to a decentralised architecture where each axis includes a controller
  • Need for custom PCB design to sit in the joint alongside the motor, also increase need for small footprints with large power density

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