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Ford tests collaborative robots in German Ford Fiesta plant

The co-bot took two years to develop and is being tried out at a manufacturing plant in Cologne, Germany.
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Written by Larry Dignan, Contributing Editor on
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Here's a look at a collaborative robot working with a human to install shock absorbers in a Ford Fiesta.

(Image: Ford)

Ford is touting the use of collaborative robots, or co-bots, for use on its assembly lines.

The trial is happening at Ford's assembly plant in Cologne, Germany. Ford is forming experiments to test more automation and data science in manufacturing.

Co-bots are being used to help workers fit shock absorbers in Fiesta cars. The robots and humans team up for accuracy, strength, and dexterity. Robots are used to lift and position shock absorbers into a wheel arch. A button is pushed to complete the installation.

More than 1,000 production line workers provided feedback.

The co-bots, developed with German robot manufacturer KUKA Roboter GmbH, are a bit more than 3-feet high and work with workers at two stations. The co-bots stop immediately if its sensors detect an arm or finger in the path. These co-bots are used in the pharmaceutical and electronics industries.

So far, the co-bots are deployed at two work stations and being evaluated on an ongoing basis.

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