A new generation of robots able to work alongside humans on the factory floor is a development that some experts at this week's industrial fair in Germany have described as "revolutionary."
The big deal about these "collaborative robots" is that they mark a departure from their predecessors which had to sit in cages or be fenced off to protect humans, said Olaf Kramm, the general manager at Fanuc Germany.
Fanuc is a machinery manufacturer showcasing its newest collaborative robot at Hannover Messe – the world's biggest industrial and technology fair.
"Collaboration is already a revolution," Kramm told CNBC late Monday. "The fencing we had around robots was a show-stopper. But that was for safety reasons; now we're talking about industry 4.0 – a smart factory with no borders, where robots and humans work alongside another."
He added: "What we're focused on is a workplace where if a human cannot work for a long time we use a robot instead -- for example working on spare parts."