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A small step for automated cups of tea, a giant leap for Universal Robots

06 June 2019

Universal robots (UR) have been chosen by Babo Arms, a Taiwanese food and beverage store, to add a twist of modernity into their production process.

Babo Arms were searching for an automated device to enhance operations and address the ongoing recruitment issue faced by the food and beverage industry. The safety record of UR cobots, and the ease at which they can be installed and deployed in factories, physical stores and temporary outdoor venues, made them the perfect fit for all their needs.

Babo Arms value the intimacy of a traditional tea shop, with employees building relationships with customers and ensuring that their experience is pleasant and welcoming. However, the low birth rate in Taiwan and the high turnover rate in the food and beverage industry have led to an urgent need for the industry to find a solution to maintain a stable workforce and reduce the amount of time spent on orientation training. 

Babo Arms were searching for almost two years for a suitable collaborative robot that would be able to take over the most repetitive and simple tasks whilst working safely side by side human workers. The UR5 was chosen for its utility in helping staff make tea and drinks, meaning staff were no longer required to memorise a mass of ingredients. This allowed for more time and effort to be put into more creative aspects of the business, such as in product development – providing more innovative flavours and drinks ahead of competitors. 

The collaborative aspect of the UR cobot also proved beneficial as it was helpful in areas that were limited on space. More traditional automated devices for production must be kept at a distance from workers and usually function in a closed off area, taking up space and not allowing for resources to be fully optimised. These other unmanned tools also cost the business in customer interactions; Babo Arms determined that they must maintain customer intimacy in their shift to automation. Ultimately, the cobot didn’t replace manpower with robots, it simply enhanced the value of human resources. 

The cobots are perfectly suited for simplistic, repetitive tasks and offer great flexibility as they can rotate 360º, mimicking a human arm. The right gripper allows for the cobot to carry out more monotonous work alongside employees, such as making tea, cleaning cups, tilting, grabbing and handing out drinks. Employees can therefore turn their attention away from these mundane tasks and towards time to interact with customers, taking on feedback and improving quality of service. 

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