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Robots or Cobots: Which Path to Automation is Right for You?

Drew Kellogg
By Drew Kellogg Regional Automation Manager, Acieta

Automation options have never been more diverse. We’re here to help
you navigate the choice between robots and cobots with the question:
‘Which Path to Automation is Right for You?’

Blurring Boundaries: This image of a collaborative robot exemplifies the seamless integration of automation with human interaction.

While collaborative robots (cobots) are currently in the spotlight, it’s important to remember that their popularity doesn’t necessarily mean they’re the best choice for every situation. The suitability of cobots versus traditional robots hinges on various factors, and the decision isn’t as straightforward as following the latest trend.

Here are a few things to consider when choosing between a robot and a cobot.

Fixed location vs mobility

A traditional robot is installed in a fixed location while cobots can be cart-mounted and moved around a facility to be reallocated to different tasks.

Space needs

Robots require safety enclosures and often have a larger footprint. Cobots do not require an enclosure, and people can work safely in proximity to them.

Product volume and mix

Cobots fit best in low volume/high mix applications because changeover is relatively fast.


Mechanical Mastery: Industrial robots demonstrate immense power, rapid speed, and unwavering precision.

Cobots are easy to program and change over to another task. Traditional robots can are generally programmed offline from a connected PC and often require a more trained professional.

Operating speed/throughput

Traditional robots can operate at speeds over to 2,000 mm/s. For safety reasons, cobots operate at speeds around 250 mm/s.

Payload size

Traditional robots can handle payloads up to 2,300 kg, Cobots typically handle small payloads of 3 to 10 kg although some models can handle up to 35 kg.

Part characteristics

Because cobots do not have safety enclosures, they cannot be used to manipulate dangerous parts with sharp edges or corners, such as blades.


Acieta-cobot-768x432.jpgCobots are generally less complex and require fewer accessories, such as safety fencing, so they are most often less expensive than traditional robots. However, there are standard robot and cobot systems on the market today that are pre-engineered for the most common applications and have all the hardware and software needed in a single package. Standard systems can cost up to 50% less than a custom robotic system.

Overall, cobots are best suited as an entry level option for those just getting into robotic automation or for companies that need to ramp up their automation quickly. Traditional robot systems are ideal for higher volume, repeatable tasks that require faster speeds and tighter quality control.

Get expert help

The best way to match a proper automation solution to an application is through a trusted, certified system integrator. When providing a recommendation, an experienced integrator will take many aspects of the operation into account, such as production speeds, price per piece, employee utilization, work conditions and ROI.

Choose an A3 Certified Robot Integrator with experience in your application and successful examples to share, as well as full training support and 24/7 service.

Take the first step towards a more productive future.

Contact us today! 844-4-ACIETA |

About the Author

Drew Kellogg is a Regional Automation Manager at Acieta with over 20 years of manufacturing experience and a degree in Machine Tool Technology. Drew specializes in solving manufacturing process challenges and enhancing efficiency and profitability through robotic solutions. His extensive background spans CNC operation, quality control, customer quality engineering, and account management with large OEMs. Drew’s expertise covers sheet fabrication, robotic welding, tube lasers, painting, tolerance analysis, Six
Sigma, and Lean practices. When you work with Drew, you’re partnering with a seasoned expert dedicated to improving your manufacturing operations. Connect with him today to elevate your manufacturing efficiency and profitability.

About Acieta

 A robotics leader for over 40 years, Acieta provides a wide range of robotically automated solutions and services for the manufacturing industry. With locations in Waukesha, Wis., and Council Bluffs, Iowa, Acieta has integrated more than 5,500 automation systems for customers across the United States, Mexico and Canada. As part of its mission to be a true partner to its customer base, Acieta is committed to solving challenges facing all manufacturers, such as lowering costs, increasing productivity and addressing labor shortfalls. Serving most manufacturing segments, Acieta has 110+ employees across the United States and is committed to creating a positive future for North American manufacturing. For more information about Acieta, visit

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