Unimate, the first ever industrial robot was created by George Devol, an American inventor, who was in operation on a General Motors assembly line at the Inland Fisher Guide Plant in Ewing Township, New Jersey. The inception of 4000 pound robotic arm transported die castings from an assembly line, and welded these parts on auto bodies, which was a dangerous task for workers, who could be poisoned with the toxics released by gas, or even could lose their limbs if they were not careful.
When we talk about present scenario, Industrial automation has instituted a great shape and is already streamlining the manufacturing process, as the industrial robots are consistently used for assembling products, spray painting, cutting and polishing, inspection of products, handling dangerous materials, and what not.
In this piece, ELE Times has portrayed today’s unprecedented trends and technologies in the robotics technology for the industrial automation.
Industrial Robots already in race
The fourth industry revolution is at a win with the emergence of intelligent industrial robotics on factory floors. Although, the robots have been used by the manufacturers for quite a long time. The constant development of robotic technologies has undoubtedly broadened potential applications for smart industrial robots. Robotics experts are working day in and day out to leverage the industrial automation with all dimensions. Here, we have a list of some of the latest industrial robots and their applications:
Honeywell Intelligrated’s Truck Unloader
A new robotic technology has been developed by Honeywell Intelligrated for unloading trucks, trailers and shipping containers at general merchandise or parcel distribution centers. The fully automated unloader significantly reduces the manual effort required to operate the receiving dock, without a need of an operator.
This helps warehouses and fulfilment centers improve workplace safety, reduce staffing challenges and minimize damage to packages. The robotic unloader is designed to work within existing fleets, eliminating the need for special configurations or modifications. The robotic unloader uses a straddle arm to perform picking activities and set packages onto an articulated nose conveyor.
Honeywell Intelligrated is developing a next-generation robotic controls platform. The new platform uses advanced AI and machine learning to enable critical decision-making, intelligent motion, collision avoidance and real-time sensing in unpredictable warehousing environments.
Application: Truck Unloading
KC Robotics’ Redline EZ-Load system
KC Robotics’ latest Redline EZ-Load system, a user-friendly, compact, robust and economical machine tending solution aims at helping manufacturers address the skilled worker shortage.
KC Robotics is focusing on creating a material removal system. From material removal and cutting, to arc welding and machine tending, KC Robotics leverages their expertise to find industrial application solutions ranging from fully automated to collaborative.
Application: Machine Tending
Lincoln Electric’s Pro-Pak H-Frame robotic welding cells
Lincoln Electric has created a Pro-Pak H-Frame pre-engineered robotic welding cells, a laser welding and cutting system, press automation, flexible automation and assembly systems. The pre-engineered robotic welding cell is engineered for automotive suppliers to speed up production, reduce labor costs and downtime, and improve weld integrity and consistency. The Pro-Pak robotic welding cells have the latest technological improvements in robotic welding and position your operation for sustained progress, efficiency and profits.
Laser welding and cutting provide the speed, accuracy, low heat input and high energy efficiency required in today’s metal fabrication industry.
The Flex Lase, a self-contained robot-based system, is a sound production solution to achieve all types of laser processing applications. For stamping challenges, fab shops want to increase press capabilities.
Application: Robotic Laser Welding
Stäubli’s TS2 SCARA
The new TS2 SCARA is a completely redesigned four-axis machine that offers incredible flexibility for the production line and features a fully encapsulated design, compact footprint and ultra-short cycle times with a high degree of repeatability. The robots also can be modified for sensitive environments to deliver hygienic and safe solutions for the food, medical and pharmaceutical markets.
Also making its North American debut is Stäubli’s HelMo mobile robot system, which is capable of navigating with complete autonomy by continuously monitoring its environment with three integrated laser scanners. This automated guided vehicle (AGV) features a Stäubli six-axis TX2-90L collaborative robot, which allows HelMo to work alongside employees at any stage of the process. Stäubli Electrical Connectors, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of electrical connectors, has been using HelMo in its own factory production to handle spikes in demand and to offset unforeseen absences among its human workforce.
Application: Human-Machine Interaction for Smart and flexible manufacturing
Omron Automation’s human-machine interaction robot
Omron Automation has unveiled its latest multifaceted Factory Harmony exhibit. This series of demos is designed to give a broad overview of the company’s diverse solution portfolio including traceability, flexible manufacturing and human-machine interaction.
Omron’s latest Factory Harmony includes a fully integrated vision-guided robotics pick-and-place demo, a traceability demo with laser-marking technology that enables customization, a safety demo, and real-world applications.
Applications: Human-Machine Interaction for Smart, Flexible Manufacturing
Sisu’s VUDU Robot
Sisu has introduced the robotic system integrator’s new robot programming technology, VUDU, which requires no robot programming experience. VUDU’s visual programming interface and unique handheld controller make programming faster and easier than ever. Program your robot in minutes, not hours. VUDU eliminates the need for an experienced robot programmer and expensive offline programming software.
VUDU is fast and intuitive. By using the VUDU motion controller, your movements are seamlessly transmitted to the robot in all six degrees of freedom. VUDU works on robots of all sizes and speeds. Whether your robot requires the raw strength to lift a car, or precise control to assemble electronics, VUDU will scale to your needs.
Application: Easier Robot Control and Programming
AUBO Robotics has revealed its three new six-axis collaborative robots in 3 kg, 7 kg and 10 kg payloads, rounding out the AUBO product line. AUBO Robotics’ four models have a small footprint and lightweight design. This versatility makes them ideal for mounting on the floor, ceiling, or even a wall, saving valuable floor space
Robotic automation is now a possibility for companies of any size. The fast return on investment, quick deployment, and easy-to-use and versatile automation solutions increase flexibility, lower cost and accelerate innovation. AUBO robots feature a rich, user-friendly setup and hand-guide-to-teach motion planning, which makes them easy to implement without programming skills and ideal for most high-mix or small batch applications. Manufacturers gain a competitive advantage while removing dangerous and repetitive tasks performed by today’s workers.
Application: Cobots’ Ease and Versatility
Plus One Robotics’ Crew Chief
Plus One Robotics has created a software platform that is able to digitally link a human Crew Chief to a fleet of warehouse robots, giving the robots the intelligence of a human on-demand, while the Crew Chief enjoys the productivity and endurance of a crew of automated workers.
Plus One incorporates a dynamic vision-guided tote transfer application in which mixed items are sensed in 3D using their PickOne perception software, then grasped and placed into a box for pack-out. Whenever an unknown item is encountered, Plus One’s software instantly puts the Crew Chief in charge via a secure web application. The Crew Chief can then see what the robot is seeing, and command the robot’s next pick with the touch of a mouse. The data from this process is also used to train an AI system, making the robot more accurate over time.
Application: Artificial Intelligence
FANUC’s CR-7iA Cobot
FANUC CR-7iA collaborative robot, designed and developed by FANUC has gathered a lot of attention. FANUC’s series of power and force limiting collaborative robots can handle 4-35 kg payloads and a 550-1813 mm reach. Easy to program and use – even for those with little or no experience, FANUC’s cobots are equipped with FANUC’s iHMI intuitive touch screen user interface that includes step-by-step programming instructions right from the teach pendant. Simple and straightforward programming helps reduce costs associated with operator training, minimizes setup time and increases system productivity. In addition, FANUC’s Hand Guidance feature allows operators to teach a collaborative robot by leading it through paths at the press of a button and/or use it to lift heavy objects manually.
FANUC’s six cobot models combine world-renowned automation technology, proven reliability and very sensitive built-in sensors that allow them to work safely alongside people in a variety of industrial/manufacturing jobs including machine tending, dispensing, inspection, kitting, palletizing, e-commerce, and more. In addition, FANUC’s collaborative robots are equipped with intelligent options such as iRVision and force sensing.
Application: Machine Tending
KUKA’s KR 3 AGILUS robot
KUKA has unveiled its latest KR 3 AGILUS human-robot collaboration, which plays in automation and the critical capabilities robotics require, such as mobility, flexibility and reliability, to effectively support manufacturers.
KR 3 AGILUS has enhanced fastening capabilities. The latest robot is ideal for handling, screw fastening, adhesive bonding, packaging and inspecting, the lightweight. KR 3 AGILUS works in small spaces while maintaining maximum production value. The robot has capabilities to take a micro screw from a feeder and fastening it into a large plate – a technique that is particularly useful for the production of small electronic devices.
Application: Pick and Place
India enters the revolution
‘Better late than never’, this famous saying perfectly suits on the Indian approach for Industrial robots. Though India started late, the use of industrial robotics in India is soaring with due time. In fact, according to the International Federation of Robotics, India now ranks third in the world in implementing industrial robotics for its core business processes. India’s contribution to the world of robotics can be highlighted with the introduction of its latest ASYSTR 600, a 6-axis industrial robot, developed by a company named Systemantics India Pvt. Ltd. ASYSTR 600 is the first industrial robot, which has been completely designed and manufactured in India.
Capable of handling applications such as CNC Machine Tending, Inspection, Dispensing and Palletizing, the ASYSTR 600 allows for easy configuration to fit several shop floor requirements. Through patented innovations that optimize running costs and simplify usability for robot operators, the ASYSTR 600 is well geared to establish a new paradigm in industrial robotics in India.
Future of Industrial Robots
We can expect that a robot of the future will be highly connected. The concepts introduced by Industry 4.0 like IoT, will potentially make robots highly powerful by providing them with a network of robots to communicate with. This means that apart from human-robot collaboration, robots of the future would be able to communicate with each other and issue a synergetic response to any change in parameters within the industry. Such changes would truly make a human’s job repetitive, and reserved only for emergency cases.
The use of industrial robots will increase further with improvements in technology. The use of servo motors, a generic motor used to make motions of robots smooth and human-like, is also increasing. Many such motors are used in a single robot.