Working with robots and without enclosures
Ask Control Engineering: What’s going on with collaborative robotics? Collaborative robots work in proximity to humans, often without enclosures. Robots can be retrofit with sensors or designed from the start to operate without enclosures, depending on the application and end effectors used. A number of examples were shown or demonstrated at the Automate 2015 show in March.
Ask Control Engineering: What's going on with collaborative robotics?
Answer: Collaborative robots work in proximity to humans, often without enclosures to separate people from robots. Robots can be retrofit with sensors and the appropriate programming or designed from the start to operate without enclosures, depending on the application and end effectors. Examples were shown or demonstrated at the Automate 2015 show in March, in Chicago. A few are described below. See photos.
Mitsubishi Electric showed how a robot can reduce risk to human working in the area by using sensors that detect humans within a certain zone. Stepping into the yellow zone slows the robot to safe speed. Going onto the red area stops the robot. One application could be to decrease the number of enclosures and increase floor space.
Adept Technology showed Adept Lynx autonomous intelligent vehicles (AIVs), considered mobile robots, rather than automated guided vehicles (AGVs), which rely on a stationary path-based guidance system. With mobile robots, on-board intelligence works with location-based technologies, such as machine vision and lasers, for navigation, around humans, objects, and other changes in its environment, while continuing the mission of the Lynx.
Universal Robots introduced a third model UR3, a 3 kg robot that uses the same intuitive teach software as the larger payload UR5 (5 kg) and U10 (10 kg), and provides 6 axes of movement for 4 axes of cost. Unlike the two other available models, the UR3 stops with 50 N of force (a finger touch) as opposed to 150 N for the others.
Kuka Robotics previewed its new collaborative robot, LBR iiwa, prior to an anticipated June introduction. It will be available in 7 kg and 14 kg versions, and it uses the open source operating system, Sunrise. A medical (all white) version will be ready later in the year, the company said.
Yaskawa Motoman showed its new two-armed BMDA3 collaborative robot, next to a vintage 1986 welding robot (right in the photo). The biomedical robot is intended to duplicate human range of movement from the waste to wrist.
- Mark T. Hoske, content manager, CFE Media, Control Engineering, email@example.com.
See the Control Engineering robotics page.