classic | mobile
 

Search...

 

The latest robots are friendly
4th Quarter 2016, This Week's Editor's Pick, Robotics & Mechatronics


We all know what a robot is. But then it really does depend on whether you immediately think of them in sci-fi films, or paint spray booths, or welding on automotive production lines, or stacking in automated warehouses. These have been the big applications, in big automated factories, with around 240 000 robots sold last year.

The emergence of the cobot supplier

However, there is a new breed of robot now: collaborative robots, or cobots, have only really emerged as practical devices in the current decade. A cobot is a robot that is intended physically to interact with humans in a shared workspace, so the special pens and protective light curtains around the robot operating area are gone. The cobot is designed to work alongside a human operator, typically maybe lifting the heavier items involved in electronic device assembly operations: it has smooth surfaces with no sharp edges, and protected joints, so a human working alongside cannot trap their fingers, plus it stops at the slightest external touch. Additionally, the cobot is flexible, it can be trained (taught) by the assembly operator, by guiding its arms and grippers to show it what to do.

Currently the cobot market is around 5% of the total, $100 m last year. These robots are lower in cost, say $24 000 each, but are aimed at the small to medium sized companies that account for 70% of global manufacturing, where flexibility is essential. New international standards for their safe design and use are emerging, and there are many suppliers, as the market is forecast to be $1 billion by 2020.

ABB’s YuMi

One such product is the ABB YuMi (you-me) desk-top robot: a dual-arm small parts assembly robot that has flexible hands, incorporates parts feeding systems, camera-based part location and automated control: yet it has twice the reach and more strength than an operator. It can collaborate, side-by-side (or across the bench), with humans in a normal manufacturing environment, enabling companies to get the best of both humans and robots, working together. In April, the ABB YuMi was recognised for outstanding achievements in commercialising innovative robot technology with the prestigious Invention and Entrepreneurship Award at the Automatica trade fair in Munich. There followed a Golden Finger award as ‘one of the best industrial robots of 2016’ at the China International Robot Show in Shanghai. One out of every four robots sold today is sold in China, which is the world’s leading robotics growth market: 68 000 units were sold there in 2015, 17% up on 2014. YuMi was specifically designed to help consumer electronics meet the challenges produced by the need for customised personal electronics products, by enabling operators and cobots to share tasks, with easy training when the task changes. The YuMi appears to be targeted at the assembly operations common with electronic equipment, significantly in Southeast Asia.

Universal Robots – another successful startup

Universal Robots (UR) was formed in Odense, Denmark in 2005, with the goal of making robot technology accessible to small and medium-sized enterprises. They introduced their first cobot in 2008, and particularly focused on food industry applications, with 3,5 and 10 kg payload cobots. Their average payback period of 195 days for customers is claimed as the fastest in the industry. Recently their cobot arms have been awarded certification for use in clean room applications, so UR robots can now be used in areas where purity and hygiene – such as particle emission, easy-to-clean surfaces and extreme reliability – are decisive criteria for precise automation processes. This opens up more applications in the food industry, in the production of microchips and semiconductors, and in the electrical and opto-electronic industries. At the end of 2014, more than 3500 UR robots were installed worldwide: currently they claim the figure is 6000 – annual sales growing by 2,5 in just over a year.

Mercedes-Benz has replaced old robots with humans on some lines, to better manage customised products. They are moving to having production workers guiding a part-automatic robot. Scientists at MIT, working with BMW, have found that robot-human teams can be about 85% more productive than either of them, alone. Subsequently Universal Robots were rated #25 on the MIT Technology Review’s list of the world’s 50 smartest companies: Teradyne Inc then acquired UR for $285 m in 2015.

For more information contact Alok Maharaj, ABB Robotics, +27 (0)10 202 5428, alok.maharaj@za.abb.com, www.abb.com


Credit(s)
Supplied By: ABB South Africa, Robotics and Motion
Tel: +27 10 202 6995
Fax:
Email: contact.center@za.abb.com
www: www.abb.com
Share via email     Print this page  

Further reading:

  • Does edge computing have the edge?
    Third Quarter 2019, Omron Electronics, This Week's Editor's Pick, Other technologies
    Implementing artificial intelligence in industrial manufacturing.
  • Underwater robot with a unique fin
    Third Quarter 2019, Festo, This Week's Editor's Pick, Robotics & Mechatronics
          Swimming like the natural model The longitudinal fins of the polyclad and the cuttlefish extend from the head to the tail along their backs, their undersides or the two sides of their torsos. To ...
  • Motors that let you know when it’s time for a service
    Third Quarter 2019, ABB South Africa, Robotics and Motion, This Week's Editor's Pick, Electrical switching & drive systems & components
    A new smart sensing solution from ABB can reduce downtimes of low voltage motors by up to 70% and extend their lifetime by up to 30%.
  • Cost-efficient production with 18 synchronous NC axes
    Third Quarter 2019, Beckhoff Automation, This Week's Editor's Pick, Electrical switching & drive systems & components
    Swedish equipment manufacturer, Ecmec has developed a high-tech machine for a supplier to the automobile industry that can complete several process steps simultaneously without having to remount the part ...
  • Contactless energy transfer system for automotive assembly line
    Third Quarter 2019, SEW-Eurodrive, This Week's Editor's Pick, Electrical switching & drive systems & components
    The Movitrans contactless energy transfer system from SEW-Eurodrive, in conjunction with its Movipro SDC decentralised drive, position and application controller, has played a critical role in an assembly ...
  • What is going on in the Milky Way?
    Third Quarter 2019, This Week's Editor's Pick, Electrical switching & drive systems & components
    One of the regions we know very little about is the dense part in the centre of the galaxy, where countless stars and gas clouds cluster around a presumed black hole. But a major astronomy project is ...
  • New docking system for space rendezvous
    Third Quarter 2019, DNH Tradeserve, This Week's Editor's Pick, Electrical switching & drive systems & components
    The European Space Agency (ESA) is working on a new system to enable easy docking between two spacecraft. maxon motor developed two special drive systems for this purpose. Even though it has been done ...
  • Data, light and the smart factory
    2nd Quarter 2019, This Week's Editor's Pick, Other technologies
    Photonics – the science of harnessing photons through the cutting edge use of lasers and fibre optics – has become a key technology for smart factories.
  • Five hydraulics technology trends
    2nd Quarter 2019, Parker Hannifin - Sales Company South Africa, This Week's Editor's Pick, Hydraulic systems & components
    In this article are five key technology trends presented by Parker Hannifin that are shaping the future of hydraulics.
  • Industry 5.0 – the best of both worlds
    2nd Quarter 2019, Cobots , This Week's Editor's Pick, Robotics & Mechatronics
    The convergence of robot capabilities and human skills.
  • SEW-Eurodrive and Film Riggers help French Spiderman
    2nd Quarter 2019, SEW-Eurodrive, This Week's Editor's Pick, Electrical switching & drive systems & components
    Specialist rigging company, Film Riggers, was recently called upon to ensure the safety of Alain Robert, aka the French Spiderman, while he scaled a skyscraper in central Johannesburg to create an advertisement for an international tyre manufacturer.
  • Beacon lights of the modern age
    2nd Quarter 2019, Horne Technologies, This Week's Editor's Pick, Electrical switching & drive systems & components
    Anyone who takes a look inside a lighthouse along the French coast has a good chance of experiencing drive technology from Faulhaber.

 
 
         
Contact:
Technews Publishing (Pty) Ltd
1st Floor, Stabilitas House
265 Kent Ave, Randburg, 2194
South Africa
Publications by Technews
Dataweek Electronics & Communications Technology
Electronics Buyers’ Guide (EBG)

Hi-Tech Security Solutions
Hi-Tech Security Business Directory

Motion Control in Southern Africa
Motion Control Buyers’ Guide (MCBG)

South African Instrumentation & Control
South African Instrumentation & Control Buyers’ Guide (IBG)
Other
Terms & conditions of use, including privacy policy
PAIA Manual





 

         
    classic | mobile

Copyright © Technews Publishing (Pty) Ltd. All rights reserved.