Why Cobots? Why SP Elements? – SP Elements One Year On


February 2021

SP Elements One Year On


Since 2020, SP Elements has been the sole Scottish distributor of Universal Robots collaborative robots. Although SP Elements is a relatively new name on the cobot front, the cobots we distribute have been on the market the longest.

Cobots have been on the market for over 15 years, with Universal Robots initiating the technology. Since their launch, over 50,000 Universal Robots cobots have been installed worldwide. Designed to work next to humans, and carry out repetitive tasks, this technology has seen an exceptional growth, particularly over the last decade. Since the launch of SP Elements, we have installed cobots in assembly, furniture manufacturers, medical device companies and numerous educational establishments.

SP Elements is a division of SP Automation and Robotics, who have been designing and manufacturing bespoke automated systems since 1984. These solutions have been for SME’s and global manufacturing companies in the medical device, pharma, automotive, munitions and food and drink industries.

Universal robots official distributorSP Automation & Robotics were approached by Universal Robots in 2018 and asked if they would become a distributor. As with everything that you sell as a company, the product or service that you are promoting and selling must align with the values of your company. SP Automation & Robotics pride itself on quality, transparency, and customer relations, so it’s fair to say that the Universal Robot distribution agreement had to match these values. SP Automation & Robotics installed several cobots in some of their automated solutions, and the quality, flexibility, and simplicity of the cobot soon came to light. The SP Automation & Robotics offering is to design and manufacture complete solutions, and where this can fail is with many SME’s. A couple of reasons for this is that they either feel they don’t have the skills to embrace automation or there are financial constraints.  In short, automation is key to companies becoming more competitive and small steps are sometimes required. The beauty of Universal Robots is how simple they are to use and install and how quickly they can be redeployed.

How Simple are Universal Robots Cobots to program?

Where Universal Robots come into their own is the simplistic nature of their programming. There is no need to have any coding or programming knowledge. Users can either learn to program them by attending a training course or utilise Universal Robots online academy. In reality you can have your cobot up and running within a couple of hours after following some of the online resources.

Can I get the Cobot to control other devices?

The Universal Robot has its own control system, and has a controller with 16 I/O which allows you to add valves, sensors etc. In addition, it also has 16 safety I/O which are used to integrate with safety measures such as floor scanners, guard switches and so on. Safety scanners may be required in some applications, but they also allow the cobot to work faster (uncollaborative speeds) and slow down to collaborative speeds when it detects someone or something within its range.

Universal Robots also have one of the biggest selections of “standard” add on’s which are called UR+ Products. From grippers to mounting platforms, to conveyors, each has been certified by UR to ensure seamless integration with the cobots.

Are Cobots Right for my business?

This is quite simple to answer. If you have tasks within your manufacturing facility that are repetitive, then the answer is yes. Cobots are used for applications such as machine loading/unloading, wiring of light fittings, dispensing, polishing, assembly, screwing, inspection…… the list Is literally endless. Introducing cobots into your facility may seem like a big step, but it is really simple. If you look around your production line and see people carrying out the same job daily, image having a cobot there to do that. It doesn’t take breaks, won’t go off sick and can easily be redeployed in other areas to carry out other tasks. Once a program has been created, its saved, so changing between tasks is as simple as selecting a program.

Can I afford to invest in cobots?

In today’s climate, the effects of covid-19 and Brexit are becoming more evident. Companies are needing to adapt to change quicker and those who can’t, fail. The question of can I afford to invest in cobots is a financial decision that has to be looked at on an individual case. However, if you have struggled with change due to recent events, then the answer could be can you afford not to invest in cobots? In general terms the payback on a cobot can be as short as 3 months but usually it’s around 12 months. After 12 months the cobot will still be producing, you won’t have a wage to pay and if you decide to put on more shifts, then this won’t affect your bottom line. If cost is still a barrier then all Universal Cobots can be leased. This allows you to benefit from using the cobot and minimise your outlay.

Cobots are there to make companies more productive and in many cases improve quality. If you are looking to improve how you can adapt to change, then please get in touch, and we can show you at first had how cobots can benefit your business.



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