Cobot

Recent Posts

What’s Next to Interact with Industrial Robots

Date:

Human interaction with industrial robots has been limited over the last 50 years. Imitation learning, cobots, and natural language processing are enabling new human-machine interactions. Elsewhere AI techniques continue to adapt to industrial needs.

Assembly Line

SoftBank-backed Chinese robot maker, JAKA, to build plant in Toyota's backyard

Date:

Topics: Cobot

Organizations: JAKA, Softbank

JAKA is one of a number of companies looking to challenge Denmark-based Universal Robots’s lead in collaborative robots, also called co-robots, which play a complementary role to the hulking machines on automated assembly lines. Other contenders include Japan’s Fanuc and Chinese startup Elite Robot. JAKA’s advantage comes from the size of its home market, as well as its track record as a Toyota supplier. The company’s mean time between failure is 80,000 hours, the equivalent of one incident every nine years or so.

JAKA now makes all of its robots in Changzhou, China, at a factory with an annual capacity of about 10,000 units. For JAKA, the Nagoya plant is not only about serving Japanese buyers. In preparation for the expansion, JAKA Robotics raised a total of 1 billion yuan ($148 million) from investors including SoftBank Vision Fund 2 and Prosperity7 Ventures, a fund under Saudi Aramco.

Read more at Nikkei Asia

Collaborative robot programming with MachineLogic

Cobot tutorial - Hand-E adaptive grippers - How to program a pick and place

Collaborative Robotics in Manufacturing Assembly

Date:

Topics: Cobot

Assembling transformed materials into components is a key step in the manufacturing process. Due to growing product complexity and variety, there is a need for the design of components that are constructed out of a variety of materials for diverse functional purposes alongside aesthetic value. Moreover, trends in manufacturing and industry are toward mass customization in highly competitive global markets, with assembly a key value-added activity at the end of the supply chain.

Collaborative robots (cobots) are a key development in the field of robotics that show vast potential for multiple industries, including manufacturing. Technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, neural networks, and sensors (such as vision, contact, torque, and force detecting sensors) have given Cobots improved interaction with their environment. This has facilitated a new paradigm in robotics where operators and robots work together to share tasks.

Read more at AZO Materials

Marlan Lets Cobot Perform Heavy Repetitive Sanding Work

Date:

Topics: industrial robot, cobot

Organizations: Robotiq, Universal Robots, Marlan

One of the operations that are common when processing solid surface products is sanding. This is heavy, repetitive work that requires skilled personnel. Such personnel is becoming increasingly difficult to find. In addition, it is important that the quality is guaranteed. It became increasingly difficult for Marlan to organize this task properly. The company therefore went in search of a way to automate this process as much as possible.

After delivery, the cobot was deployed within two weeks. Heerema was able to program it within half an hour, without any programming experience. After the implementation and installation, two employees were trained and the cobot was fine-tuned to determine the correct pressure when sanding. This step was also the start of further optimizing other parts of the production. According to Heerema, some employees were immediately enthusiastic, but others were afraid of losing their jobs. “But that’s not what we’re about at all. We want to make it easier for employees and give them the opportunity to increase their output.” The employees are now fully accustomed to the cobot and see it as a kind of colleague.

The cobot at Marlan is currently used for sanding bathtubs. This is a large object that is difficult to sand manually. A major problem here is monitoring consistent quality. Heerema: “But with a cobot you can guarantee an even pressure which also ensures constant product quality.”

Read more at Robotiq Blog

This Factory Is Using AR To Help With A Hiring Crunch

Date:

Author: Patrick Moorhead

Topics: augmented reality, cobot, wearable technology, bearing

Organizations: Taqtile, PBC Linear

One of the challenges associated with AR has been in trying to turn a complex physical process, such as wiring a component or working a machine, into code that could run on a headset. Taqtile CEO Dirck Schou said the company’s software makes programming for AR glasses simple, and based on my conversation with Tim Lecrone and Beau Wileman of PBC, the software Taqtile developed is easy to use. Once PBC has created a module for training it pays for itself after 1.44 employees train with it according to Wileman.

The cobots help handle processes that are repetitive and free up people to take on different tasks. Given how tough it is to hire people to work in the factory, using them helps reduce the overall staffing load. But the biggest gains so far have been in training and getting employees quickly up to speed. Now PBC can hire a person and get them working on a machine in a few days as opposed to that taking up to six weeks. It also helps reduce the cost of training a cobot and staff. Wileman told me that an intern, which costs $17 an hour, can train a cobot or map out a process in less than four hours, while it might cost around $30,000 for an outside expert to manually train a cobot.

Read more at Taqtile Blog

Plug-and-Play Robot Ecosystems on the Rise

Date:

Author: Tanya Anandan

Topics: robotics, cobot, robotic arm

Organizations: Fanuc, KUKA, Universal Robots

Robot ecosystems are bringing plug-and-play ease to compatible hardware and software peripherals, while adding greater value and functionality to robots. Some might argue that the first robot ecosystem was the network of robot integrators that has expanded over the last couple decades to support robot manufacturers and their customers. Robot integrators continue to be vital to robotics adoption and proliferation. Yet an interesting phenomenon began to take shape a few years ago with the growing popularity of collaborative robots and the industry’s focus on ease of use.

Campbell describes the typical process for engineering a new gripping solution for a robot: “You have to first engineer a mechanical interface, which may mean an adapter plate, and maybe some other additional hardware. If you’re an integrator, it must be documented, because everything you do as an integrator you have to document. You have to engineer the electrical interface, how you’re going to control it, what kind of I/O signals, what kind of sensors. And then you have to design some kind of software.

“When I talk to integrators, they say it’s typically 1 to 3 days’ worth of work just to put a simple gripper on a robot. What we’ve been able to do in the UR+ program is chip away at time and cost throughout the project.”

Read more at Association for Advancing Automation

Improving Cycle Time with Veo FreeMove – Estimating the Benefits with a General Example

Date:

Author: Alberto Moel

Topics: robotics, cobot

Organizations: Veo Robotics

In our model, the design and operation of the application will determine how and how often the human and robot will collaborate. At one extreme, there is no collaboration, and the application runs unattended throughout the operating cycle. At the other end, human interactions can occur multiple times a cycle, as in a parts presentation for assembly application. We concluded that the shorter the cycle time and the more frequent the required human interaction the more collaborative the application.

Read more at Veo Robotics Blog

Making Welding Accessible to All

Date:

Author: Ed Sinkora

Topics: robot welding, cobot

Organizations: Miller Electric, Universal Robots

With the ongoing shortage of skilled workers and the pickup in the economy, suppliers of welding equipment are finding ways to making welding easier for those working in manufacturing. Automation is the leading technique among many.

“Manual welding is an area with a very high degree of repetitive motion injury, resulting in turnover and associated costs,” he said. “OSHA puts out a statistic that says any investment in safety yields a six-to-one payback. So, robotic welding is an investment in safety, as well as productivity and quality. Take all these factors into account and you get a pretty big payback number.”

Read more at SME Media

Innovation Fuels Stanley Black & Decker's Transformation

Date:

Author: Peter Fretty

Topics: cobot, digital transformation

Vertical: Machinery

Organizations: Stanley Black & Decker, DeepHow, Bright Machines

With more than 100 manufacturing plants globally, the 178-year-old Stanley Black & Decker (SBD) has entrenched itself one of the world’s most recognizable and innovative brands.

A key component of the company’s staying power? The company has stayed on a clear journey of continuous improvement with dedication to innovation that includes regularly applying advanced technologies across the company’s operation, ultimately resulting in a culture dedicated to seeking “game changing solutions” that consistently yields an impressive number of new products and world firsts each year.

Read more at IndustryWeek

Collaboration requires presence sensing

Date:

Author: Rick Rice

Topics: cobot, robotics, worker safety

Organizations: Crest Foods

The challenge of automation has always been to keep people safe while trying to produce more product in the same footprint. The faster a machine runs, the more physical space is required to guarantee that, if something goes wrong, the machine has enough time to come to a complete and safe stop before potentially making contact with humans or other machines around it. Traditionally, this would involve a physical cage around the piece of automation. This cage could take the form of a frame with either polycarbonate or expanded steel (fence) panels.

Made to physically defend a person from getting too close, these types of guarding systems also take up a lot of real estate. For this reason, they are not well-suited to a cobot application where we don’t want the new automated device taking up any more space than the human it is replacing.

The technology required to respond to this need for an ever tighter operating envelope has advanced dramatically, especially over the past two or three years. While we will delve into that momentarily, it is important to note that the robot manufacturers, in addition to coming up with new ways to sense the presence of people in proximity to the robot, have had to come up with ways to safely limit the range of operation to be inside the normal operating range of the robot.

Read more at Control Design

Using tactile-based reinforcement learning for insertion tasks

Date:

Authors: Alan Sullivan, Diego Romeres, Radu Corcodel

Topics: AI, cobot, reinforcement learning, robotics

Organizations: MIT, Mitsubishi Electric

A paper entitled “Tactile-RL for Insertion: Generalization to Objects of Unknown Geometry” was submitted by MERL and MIT researchers to the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) in which reinforcement learning was used to enable a robot arm equipped with a parallel jaw gripper having tactile sensing arrays on both fingers to insert differently shaped novel objects into a corresponding hole with an overall average success rate of 85% with 3-4 tries.

Read more at The Robot Report

Can a cobot offer the flexibility of a human on the shop floor?

Date:

Author: Dan Davis

Topics: cobot, robotics

Organizations: Mid Atlantic Machinery, Universal Robots

Since the Great Recession more than a decade ago, metal fabricators aren’t necessarily employing people unless they are absolutely needed. Manufacturing companies are lean, which helps to keep fixed costs down and the business more manageable when business slows.

It’s also a gamble. Unless shop floor personnel are cross-trained, the absence of a machine operator can sabotage productivity goals for the day. While more automated bending systems are being sold to North American fabricators, many shops still require an operator to sit in front of the press brake to get parts formed.

Read more at The Fabricator

Teradyne and Universal Robots Announce Agreement for Teradyne to Acquire Universal Robots, Leader in Collaborative Robots

Date:

Topics: Cobot

Organizations: Teradyne, Universal Robots

Teradyne, Inc. (NYSE:TER) and the shareholders of Universal Robots (UR) today announced they have signed a definitive agreement under which Teradyne will acquire privately held Universal Robots, the Danish pioneer of collaborative robots, for $285 million net of cash acquired plus $65 million if certain performance targets are met extending through 2018. The acquisition has been approved by the Board of Directors of each company and is expected to close in the second quarter of 2015 subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approval.

Read more at Universal Robots News