Sustainable Development Goals, commonly referred to as SDGs, continue to guide the way in which work is done in 2023. Implemented by the United Nations, companies across the world are working towards achieving the 17 goals in order to help end poverty, protect the planet and improve lives.

Now, you might be wondering what collaborative robots (cobots) have to do with this? Well, cobots can be valuable allies in a manufacturer’s quest to help achieve three of the 17 goals.

Goal 2: Zero Hunger: Cobots play a role in overcoming food shortages. In 2016, we shared a story about the first robot-run lettuce farm, producing 30,000 lettuce heads at the time. The farm made use of fruit-picking robots to enhance output, quality (through inspection) and relieve workers of manual, mundane tasks.

From eggs to sugar to strawberries, and more, cobots are helping to stablise food supply chains the world over. Whether they are being used for picking or palletising,cobots play a key role in securing the supply chain and keeping up with the demand for production.

Goal 7: Affordable and Clean Energy: Cobots require very little energy to run. Despite pressure to perform, cobots require only as much energy as typical everyday household appliances, thereby reducing one’s carbon footprint. In addition, customers are able to monitor their usage remotely to help make informed energy saving decisions on the spot.

Every little bit helps in the manufacturing sector. While traditional robots still require 3-phase power , we are pleased to say that cobots present as an energy saving alternative.

Goal 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure: Robotics continues to advance the manufacturing sector and are an innovation welcomed by companies across the globe. What’s more, cobots boast a long life span (of around four years – at least 35,000 hours) reducing the amount of parts and replacements, as well as additional technology waste to landfill.

This can be best summed up as explained by International Federation of Robotics general secretary, Susanne Bieller: “Intelligent automation reduces production costs: This helps battery technology achieve a breakthrough in e-mobility for example or fuel cells production for hydrogen-power as an alternative to fossil energy. At the same time, highly efficient production technology reduces CO2-emissions.”

Beyond their cobot offering, Universal Robots is focused on achieving the UN’s SDG’s by practising responsible corporate citizenship. Universal Robots is dedicated to making the world a better place, one cobot at a time. We believe that people should be working with robots, and not like robots.

We understand the importance of the 17 goals, and while we cannot ‘fix’ everything, we can make a difference by setting our sights on goals that we can achieve and using these to make a difference.

Masayuki Mase is country manager for Universal Robots Oceania.