Collaborative Robots vs. Traditional Robots

Since their inception, traditional robotic arms have worked in welding and assembly for automotive, manufacturing, and parts fabrication industries over the last couple of decades. These machines had one distinguishing characteristic, and they had no interaction with manual operators as a safety measure until they later evolved to collaborative robots.

Collaborative robots or cobots, rather, are robots that are built to interact with human beings. The robots and manual operators share floor space and work in close proximity with one another. 

In contrast to traditional robots that execute major tasks, cobots are more reserved and carry out light duties. In a way, both of these robots can be classified as universal robots. But the evolution that has taken place over the last few decades has created some distinguishing characteristics between them that this review will look at in detail.

The Key Differences between Traditional Robots & Collaborative Robots

Working In Close Partnership with Human Beings

As the name suggests, this is about collaborative robots since they are the robots able to work in close partnership with manual operators. Traditional robots, in contrast, do now work with humans but rather for humans. 

This new age of robots negates the need for enclosed compartments for the robots. Cobots generally act as assistants in sensitive tasks that cannot be automated. They are also capable of learning, picking an object, and handing it over to the operator. Traditional robots do not have the same cooperation.

Enabling Focus to Be On the Core Business

In a manufacturing setting, collaborative robots are tasked with carrying out tough or very low value-added tasks. This provides for technicians to direct their attention more on the core business and create more value-added jobs. Human intelligence is focused on other tasks in the production chain. This is not the case with traditional robots.

Close Attention Paid To Safety of Operators

Designed to work in close contact with human beings, collaborative robots are built to pay close attention to the safety of human beings. The features built into these cobots allow for seamless collaboration with human beings. 

Some of these robots are equipped with vision and motion sensors that allow them to identify where an operator is located at every moment hence avoid a collision. They are programmed to immediately stop when they are almost coming into contact with manual operators. Traditional robots, in contrast, have enclosed compartments, and they do not employ safety gear for operators. This means they are more probable to collide with operators.

Flexibility & Scalability 

Another key difference between collaborative robots and traditional robots is that cobots are very easy to program. Where traditional robots require advanced computer programming skills due to the nature of their build, cobots are capable of employing the machine learning technique.

To vividly explain this, take for instance a new robot can be taught tasks by an operator and perform the required tasks using its advanced robotic arms, and it will remember these movements and repeat them if need be. An older robot cannot do the same because its build design is not up to date.


Collaborative robots are built to be flexible, and this allows them not to be confined to executing a single task. They can be integrated into numerous projects, and this surges their value and reduces the cost of doing business. Traditional robots lack the flexibility to incorporate numerous tasks.

Adoption by Mid-Sized Factories

There is a stigma surrounding robots and that they are only meant for large organizations. This was the case with traditional robots, which were large and expensive to acquire hence reserved for large companies. Cobots, on the other hand, come in various variations, including small sizes ensuring all companies can purchase them.


To sum it all up, both traditional robots and collaborative robots have their benefits in a working environment. But the above discussion indicates cobots are establishing superiority due to the endless possibilities associated with them.