Industrial Robots vs. Cobots – What is Better?

In today’s automation manufacturing industries, cobots ought to be a growing trend in the market. Collaborative robots, precisely cobots, are human-friendly to be worked with, in partnership. Unlike the age-old industrial robots, cobots are developed typically to work collaboratively with humans, not for humans. In spite of cobots being quite popular these days, many people still don’t have a vivid understanding of the differences between robots vs cobots. So, in this article we will check out all the key differences, uses, and more about collaborative robots and industrial robots.

Key Differences: Industrial Robots vs. Cobots


Work Collaboratively with Humans:

A cobot is more like an assisting body to help the human operator and is typically installed in such manufacturing industries or factories that have manual workforce. Conversely, the traditional industrial robots are designed and equipped to work alone through automation and complete the work in no time, with zero manual intervention. The later type is not at all human-friendly as it does the entire work alone. So, proper caging and fencing surrounding the traditional industrial robots are necessary to  prevent accidents and injury

User Safety:

Cobots feature seamless partnership with manual operators and  are embedded with certain sensing features that let them function in line with a human. They are prevented from operating even with the slightest accidental touch, thereby keeping the person nearby safe for mishaps. So, there is no need for safety caging or fencing in cobots installation.

user safety

User convenience:

Cobots are easily programmable and can learn faster. They work according to the instructions fed without requiring coding. Cobots can be reprogrammed by the operators as per the requirement and nature of the task. Industrial robots, on the other hand, require much-improvised programming abilities to get the task done through automation. 


Unlike industrial robots, collaborative robots are easy to move and can be utilized in various production sites. These are easy to install on any surface; be it on ceiling, vertical, or horizontal. Cobots are light enough to be carried by a single person, which is just the opposite case of a traditional industrial robot.

Use of Industrial Robots and Cobots

Industrial Robots 

Industrial robots are generally found in heavy manufacturing industries that require high speed, extensive  production while maintaining high-accuracy of the product. The high speed movement of the robotic arm makes it unsafe for human operators to work in partnership with an industrial robot.

industrial robots

That’s why certain safety measures like fencing or railings are installed around such robots to keep humans out of their work boundary. The robot and its safety caging installation costs add up to a substantial amount. Moreover, professional services and experts are needed to program these highly complicated robots and integrate the entire system with other machinery and equipment required in the production. These features make the industrial robots a perfect fit to be, where they have no plan of changing their processes in the next 2 to 3 years (approx.); where the ROI (Return on Investment) is going to take time.  

The End of Arm Tooling (EoAT) is highly task-centric in case of traditional industrial applications. As these types of robots do not require manual operators in any stage of the process, the robots are designed accordingly without collaborative safety. Plus, since its entire application will be integrator-programmed, no simplicity is required in its functioning and is therefore kept in cages for human safety.

Collaborative Robots (Cobots)

Cobots are generally used in case of high-mix, low-volume product manufacturing industries or factories, where human involvement is there in the process. It is a safer kind of automation which humans can freely work in collaboration with cobots and vice versa. It could be any repetitive task as we see in the dry food or other similar manufacturing industries, where the major part of the process is handled by the cobots while only some part of this complex assembly is handled by humans.

Working with Collaborative Robots

The upfront cost imposed in the installation of cobots is lower than the industrial robots. Since they are easy to program and operate, cobots do not need expensive professional services, nor do they require hands-on experienced professionals to run the cobots. Moreover, you get faster ROI compared to traditional industrial robots. You can modify the programming as per the manufacturing requirement (the type of product to be manufactured). Being lightweight and compact, cobots are easily movable from one production site to another. Cobots are versatile, user-convenient, and budget-friendly to let businesses of any scale and of any technical level drive up their productivity, improvise the quality, and be more agile in responding to ever-changing customer requirements.

The EoAT is a critical component to get the most out of a collaborative robot. These tools are highly flexible as they can be reprogrammed any number of times as per customer’s changing demands for the products. Moreover, you get quicker results and ROI (as mentioned above).

What is Better: Industrial Robot or Cobot? 

People have many doubts and questions and so, they are often confused when it is about choosing only one from the two. It becomes hard to decide which will be a perfect fit to serve your production purpose unless you are aware of the fields where an industrial robot or a cobot stands fit.

Industrial Robots vs Cobots

Now that you already have a good deal of knowledge regarding the use cases of both industrial robots & cobots, think about the amount of space you might require for their installation along with other automation equipment, your estimated budget, automation goals, etc. Then you need to make sure if your production processes are fixed or they tend to change quite often depending on the projects you get. Think about these and then act accordingly to find out which of these two robots could best serve your purpose. 

There is no universal solution to these questions as they keep on varying from one person’s perspective to another. Well, that was all. Hope that it helps in finding the right one for you. 

After working 5 years as a Software Analyst in reputed MNC, Rebecca decided to settle down and work from home. Having an expertise in business & being a life motivator, she loves to share similar stuff on our website by the means of her articles.