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MSV
9.-13.10. 2017

International Engineering Fair

Robots replace workers on production lines

 

Cooperative robotics as the fastest growing segment in the field of industrial automation was the focus of the “Robot and Human in One Team” conference organized by the Industrial Robotics Forum. Universal Robots featured as General Partner, and ABB, Mitsubishi Electric and Stäubli Systems as partner companies also introduced their innovations.


A cooperative robot - cobot – has been a safe collaborator of humans in a number of factories and thanks to its affordability and relatively easy implementation; it is also applied with smaller manufacturers for whom another form of automation is not yet attainable. "The aim of this conference is to show that even small and medium-sized companies can now afford automation through robot arms, which was not possible a few years ago," says Jan Homola, organizer of the Robot and Human in a Team conference.

These mechatronic collaborators are usually lighter, cheaper than classical robots and also easier to set up. "We had a robot lent by Universal Robots two years ago and although we were no specialists, we were able to program it and bring it into operation," says Jan Homola, pointing out that the cost of an industrial robot alone is only part of the total investment, since an implementation of a large automated solution is a very expensive and time-consuming issue. That is why the advent of affordable and easy to implement robots is such a breakthrough. "Even smaller companies can now afford a robot that they can pay back in half a year because it can run in three shifts and does not need tens of thousands of service hours. The flexibility of these robots is quite an advantage, as it can solve the current shortage of workers.

To program a robot for a specific action on a production line to replace a currently missing worker, only takes several dozen minutes," says Jan Homola. The prices of these cooperative robots start at half a million Crowns, and thanks to its high flexibility, companies can also address the current workforce shortage.

The key issue of robot-human collaboration is safety. In order to free robots from safety cages, they had to be equipped with a series of sensors to ensure that no human injury would occur. Cooperating robots track the movements of a person and when they come into contact with them, they stop; they also perceive acting forces and react to them, some with eye contact. A colleague robot has to relieve the burden which a human is moving or let man guide the robot with hand positioning. A higher degree of co-operation is when a robot expresses consent or disagreement with the desired action and communicates with humans in the form of approving touch or movement.

These trends were introduced at the Robot and Human in One Team conference, where representatives of the leading cooperative robot manufacturers spoke, headed by Universal Robots. This Danish company is now probably the largest supplier of simple cooperative robots and offers three size versions of "cobots" with a six-axis arm and a repeatable precision of 0.1 mm. Furthermore, representatives of partner companies with a broader range of production took part as well. ABB supplies the well-known YuMi cooperative robot, which is very compact, light and easy to install in production where it is needed. Its constitution resembles human arms, and even by its size it is destined to replace man by the production line, for example, in the fine assembly of electrical devices. Smaller robots are being introduced on the market today by Mitsubishi Electric and Stäubli as hegemonic producers in the field of classic heavy robotics. An example is the robot TX2-60 of the Swiss manufacturer Stäubli, which at first glance does not differ from heavy industrial robots closed in cages, but thanks to safety sensors it cooperates with humans in demanding operations where its water resistance and high performance can be appreciated.

Datum: 12 Oct 2017 10:30:00

Concurrently with

Transport and Logistics
9.-13.10. 2017


ENVITECH
9.-13.10. 2017

 

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