Active Contact Flange can simplify complex assembly applications

Touch sensitive automation allows for precise buffing, polishing, surface processing, gentle material handling. Keba's Active Contact Flange combines highly sensitive sensor, positioning and control technologies.


KEBA Corp., an Austrian based industrial automation products manufacturer with U.S. operations located in Michigan, announced the launch of a new product, the KEBA Active Contact Flange, a purportedly revolutionary device combining highly sensitive sensor, positioning and control technologies. For the first time in the industrial automation industry, this product enables automatic, touch sensitive surface processing independent of the robot or end of arm tooling device through a combination of lightning fast and targeted force regulation.

“The combination of active pneumatics and sensing devices along with KEBA’s closed loop control platform will streamline implementation processes of robotic positioning based on force, dramatically cutting implementation times, while increasing quality and productivity,” said Helmut Schreiberhuber, Vice President, KEBA Corp.. “The reaction time of this product eliminates typical delayed response times when compared to existing technologies which allows for unparalleled touch sensitive positioning of the tooling. We are proud and excited to offer this unique touch sensitive device to the automation market.”

This product offers a multitude of key benefits including:

  • Universal Application Capability
  • Simplified Robotic Integration
  • Versatile Implementation Techniques
  • Collision Damage Protection

Universal Application Capability

The Active Contact Flange can be used to simplify and improve a multitude of processes, including surface treatment procedures, force sensitive and complex assembly applications. The touch sensitive handling of the work piece is vital in automating sanding, polishing, buffing, stripping, cleaning and deburring procedures, to name a few, because the device automatically compensates for position and force control. This is equally key in applications such as force sensitive applications including gluing, bonding, testing and delicate positioning.

Quality and productivity gains have been proven by customers, including Volkswagen Bratislava, MC, Neubacher, Wifi – Linz and Austrian-based systems integrator, SPS Technik.

Simplified Robotic Integration

The KEBA Active Contact Flange allows for robotic path programming to be greatly simplified since the Flange independently and automatically compensates for positioning to maintain a constant force on the work surface regardless of its contour (within the 100mm stroke envelope of the Flange.) For example, this allows for a straight line (linear move) to be employed in the robot program while buffing a curved object. All that is required is to set the force required and the system takes care of the rest.

Versatile Implementation Techniques

The KEBA Active Contact Flange is available as a stand-alone product solution or can be a part of a total KEBA solution for the turnkey control of the complete application from robot kinematics to I/O interfaces to system wide control.

As a stand-alone product the KEBA Flange package can be employed immediately in a variety of applications. The program logic can be quickly and simply extended in the IEC program language. Common communication interfaces through Ethernet, field bus, or digital I/O provide quick and straightforward integration into existing control systems. Data concerning the actual force, position, and contact situation is tracked on a permanent basis, providing a comprehensive accessible parameter log eliminating the need for separate process and quality controls.

As part of a total KEBA control solution, the Flange acts as an integral device on the KEBA master control platform. Scalable software provides system control including motion, I/O, process, supervisory, and HMI visualization packages. According to KEBA, hardware such as motors, drives, I/O, process controls, and fixed and mobile HMI devices round out the KEBA product offering for the ultimate turnkey coordinated automation solution.

Collision Damage Protection as a Bonus

The special mechanical design of the KEBA Active Contact Flange minimizes the risk of work piece damage due to tool collisions in a highly effective manner. Even in the case of sudden interference, the system reacts at great speed and gives way. The combination of touch sensitive features and collision protection are very economical when compared to the high investment solutions offered to date.


- Edited by Gust Gianos, CFE Media, Control Engineering,

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