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The robotic process automation market is projected to have strong growth over the next decade, jumping from more than $2 billion in 2022 to almost $70 billion by 2032.
Selective compliance articulated robot arm (SCARA) robots are capable of many types of movement.
MIT researchers created a system that lets robots effectively use grasped tools with the correct amount of force.
A mathematical model links up slithering with some kinds of swimming and walking, and it could make programming many-legged robots easier.
The International Federation of Robotics reported the industrial robotics market grew by 44% compared in 2021.
The Department of Technology at Illinois State University (ISU) is training students to program and operate industrial robots in preparation for careers in industry.
Manufacturing has gone through many changes in recent years and the rising labor gap and the need for continued productivity has companies turning toward robotics. Three robotic myths and five steps for successful implementation are highlighted.
West Virginia University engineers are deploying robots to help workers by saving them from potential slips, falls and workplace hazards.
The Association for Advancing Automation reports a record high for robot sales in the second quarter of 2022 thanks to a rebound in automotive sales.
The market for robots is growing rapidly. However, integrating them into the automation world can be very laborious and correspondingly slow. A new robot integration profile now provides a remedy.
Autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) are increasingly finding applications in the mobile robotics ecosystem as automation becomes the new normal.
Researchers are developing methods to show how collaborative robots (cobots) can help and even improve human workers' roles in manufacturing.
University of Washington researchers created a tool that can design a 3D-printable passive gripper and calculate the best path to pick up an object, which could help improve robots in their day-to-day tasks. See video.
Researchers are showing how to repurpose deceased spiders as mechanical grippers that can pick up objects, which can be used for soft robotics.
As collaborative and industrial robots grow in manufacturing, enhancing their usability so anyone can use them is a growing trend and priority for companies.
MIT researchers have developed a general-purpose optimizer that can speed up the design of walking robots, self-driving vehicles, and other autonomous systems.
While the many benefits that robots can bring in manufacturing applications are widely understood, misconceptions around complexity have deterred many manufacturers from investing in robotic automation.
Robots-as-a-service (RaaS) is a lets companies deploy automation and related services such as engineering, maintenance and remote monitoring.
After a 2-year period of contraction, industrial robot shipments saw a year-on-year (YoY) increase of over 30% in 2021, according to new research published by Interact Analysis.
Graduate students at the Georgia Institute of Technology have built the first graffiti-painting robot system that mimics the fluidity of human movement. Watch video.
Automated guided vehicles (AGVs) are being used by companies for outdoor applications in a variety of different industries and can provide a strong return on investment (ROI).
The North American robotics market experienced its best quarter ever to begin 2022 as companies from the US, Canada and Mexico ordered almost 30% more robots compared to the first quarter of 2021.
Researchers have developed soft robots that are capable of navigating complex environments without input from humans or computer software. See video.
Taking a conservative and fiscally-sensible approach to AMR technology goes a long way in making sure to avoid disasters.
Collaborative robot growth remains strong worldwide and China will be shipping more than 50% of the robots by 2023.
North American companies started the year by purchasing the most robots ever in a single quarter, with 11,595 robots sold at a value of $646 million.
Cornell researchers have developed an industrial robot capable of 3D printing large-scale structures that could make the construction industry more efficient and sustainable.
Traditional industrial robots will maintain their presence, but opportunities exist for the cobot market to grow in automotive spaces.
MIT researchers have created a design and fabrication tool for soft pneumatic actuators for integrated sensing, which can power personalized health care, smart homes, and gaming.
Researchers have developed collectives of microrobots, which they can move in every formation they wish.
Industrial robots used to be a mature market, but COVID-19 has turbo-charged factory automation and is attracting considerable new investment.
MIT researchers have developed a technique that enables a robot to learn a pick-and-place task with only a handful of human demonstrations.
Researchers from Duke University are applying lessons learned from decades of perfecting eye-imaging technologies to tomorrow’s autonomous systems sensor technologies.
Six winners were named for the 2022 Engelberger Robotics Awards and will be honored at Automate 2022 and Automatica in June.
Researchers have developed a technique that could enable a robot to manipulate squishy objects like pizza dough or soft materials like clothing.
The pandemic has encouraged more companies to try a cobot as a solution to virus-related disruption, on-going labor shortages and more.
In 2021, global autonomous mobile robot (AMR) revenues surpassed 100,000 units and overall sales are expected to increase to more than 600,000 by 2025.
Logistics 4.0 refers to the application of digitalization to create cyber-physical solutions and gain real-time control. Mobile industrial robots can help play a large role in that process.
Autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) have evolved quickly, and safety guidelines are catching up, forcing manufacturers to adjust.
Mobile robot options offer many potential benefits for manufacturing and are being used in a growing range of applications.
A study by CU Boulder researchers lays out the simple physics-based rules that govern how these ant rafts morph over time, which could help engineers design robots that work together in swarms.
Post-pandemic acceleration continues for robots in new sectors like logistics and retail, and speeds up for EV production as well as increased robotic adoption by manufacturers.
Robots, particularly collaborative robots, are taking a large role in manufacturing and offer badly-needed flexibility.
Articles about Engineers' Choice winners, advanced process controls, VFDs basics, HMIs and tuning a PM motor with a VFD were Control Engineering’s five most-viewed articles from March 7-13, 2022. Miss something? You can catch up here.
Researchers from MIT and Harvard suggest that applying theories from cognitive science and educational psychology to the area of human-robot interaction can help humans build more accurate mental models of their robot collaborators.
Advancements in industrial networking, machine vision, motion control, robotics, supply chain, and simulation were among Pack Expo Las Vegas developments.
Some of the main trends for robotics in 2022 include a greater emphasis on flexibility as well as developments in artificial intelligence (AI).
Two research projects from RPI have been selected by the Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing (ARM) Institute to receive funding to develop tools that will address critical aspects of robotic manufacturing technologies.
Robots' role in manufacturing and everyday life is growing and the International Federation of Robotics (IFR) highlights five trends involving robots.
University of Wisconsin researchers have developed a system of passive sensors that can sense the entire state of a soft robot with less cost and complexity. See video.
Carole Franklin, director of robotic standards development at A3, answers common questions regarding Robot Safety Standards.
DHL Supply Chain announced a $15 million investment in robotics solutions from Boston Dynamics to further automate warehousing in North America.
ETH Zurich researchers have developed a new control approach that enables a legged robot, called ANYmal, to move quickly and robustly over difficult terrain.
USC Viterbi researchers created a control algorithm that allows quadruped robots to adapt to unknowns in their environment, making them better-suited for delivering packages and other items in warehouse and other areas. See video.
Larger payload collaborative robot, artificial intelligence (AI)-enhanced robotics, laboratory-robotics integration, robotic order fulfillment, and virtual reality robotic software were among advances at Pack Expo 2021 Las Vegas.
A new design for thermal actuators has been developed to help create rapid movement in soft robotic devices.
No code programming seeks to make the automation industry more autonomous and to democratize the use of robotics at the shop floor level.
The industrial robot industry is expected to exceed $9 billion by 2025 and show a healthy rebound after a tumultuous period due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Model-free framework reorients over 2,000 diverse objects with a hand facing both upward and downward, in a step toward more human-like manipulation. See video.
Adopting robotics in the manufacturing sector can not only affect jobs, but it can result in the creation of new and upskilled jobs.
Researchers at West Virginia University (WVU) have developed a robot pollinator to care for individual crops efficiently, improve food security during insect declines and more.
A machine-learning system developed by MIT researchers can help robots understand and perform certain social interactions.
The autonomous mobile robot (AMR) market has been heavily driven by logistics customers and will overtake manufacturing as the largest user in 2022.
Using swarm robotics, can lead to reduced waste through better logistics, optimal use of water and fertilizer, and a reduction of pesticides
Robot ecosystems are bringing plug-and-play ease to compatible hardware and software peripherals while adding greater value and functionality to robots.
MIT researchers have developed a system that improves the speed and agility of four-legged robots as they jump across gaps in the terrain. See video.
Mobile robot revenues and shipments grew in 2020 compared to 2019 by more than 25% in spite of troubles caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Robot orders in the second quarter of 2021 were up 67% over the same period in 2020, indicating a return to levels before COVID-19.
By 2025, mobile robot deployments will have increased to over 53,000 sites according to an Interact Analysis report.
Blockchain technology as a communication tool for a team of robots could provide security and safeguard against deception.
An integrated robotic arm fuses visual data from a camera and radio frequency (RF) information from an antenna to find and retrieve objects, even when they are buried under a pile and fully out of view. See video.
A Cornell University team has created cell-size robots that can be powered and steered by ultrasound waves, which could be used for targeted drug delivery and other sensitive applications.
The soldering process has remained the same since 1896 when the patent was granted for an “electric heating apparatus” automation could change all that.
A University of Michigan research project aims to equip walking robots to adapt on the fly to treacherous ground, which could enable them to go into areas that are too dangerous for humans such as collapsed buildings, disaster areas and other hazardous situations.
Robotic welding automation, more common for many manufacturers, but it is fraught with potential issues that takes time and effort to resolve. See five methods for operational excellence in robotic welding in the short- and long-term.
A grant from the National Science Foundation will help robots learn like human apprentices to make construction work less dangerous and strenuous for humans.
Engineers at MIT and Shanghai Jiao Tong University have designed a soft, lightweight, and potentially low-cost neuroprosthetic hand that has better dexterity and could be useful for amputees and other robotic applications. See video.
Automated guided vehicles (AGVs), autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) and static robots have different needs and abilities. Knowing the difference is critical to understand which choice will be the best fit.
An algorithm has been developed to speed up path planning for robots designed to traverse treacherous terrain such as disaster areas or construction sites.
Aerospace engineers at MIT have devised an algorithm that helps drones fly around obstacles without crashing, which could help in search-and-rescue missions and other applications that use drones in time-sensitive situations. See video.
Choosing a collaborative robot (cobot) involves many aspects and manufacturers will need to decide on many things including whether to hire an integrator and what risks may be involved.
Autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) have a big future in the industrial sector and the buyers may come from unexpected places as manufacturing itself changes and evolves.
Cover Story: Collaborative robots offer a lot of potential for manufacturers, but they will only be successful long-term if companies are diligent in education, assessment and overall design.
Robots are going in new directions thanks to additive manufacturing (AM), which is letting them tackle complex geometries in cutting and collaborating with humans to improve efficiencies in composite layup.
Robots are getting smarter all the time and it's thanks to artificial intelligence- (AI) related systems.
ABB announced it will acquire ASTI Mobile Robotics Group (ASTI), a global autonomous mobile robot (AMR) manufacturer to expand their robot and automation portfolio.
Texas A&M University capstone team designs efficient way to sanitize classrooms with an autonomous ultraviolet (UV) robot.
Researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) have created an algorithm to help a robot find efficient motion plans to ensure physical safety of its human counterpart. See video.
Zebra Technologies has acquired Fetch Robotics for almost $300 million, but what does this mean for the company and for other robotics companies? Content partner Interact Analysis offers some insights.
Researchers from Germany and Canada work on new AI methods for picking robots.
3D morphing wings developed by University of Michigan researchers could help small aircraft safely navigate windy streets and other close-corridor situations.
The rise of high-mix, low-volume (HMLV) production has become commonplace with more customized items being produced. Collaborative robots can be a key enabler in this process.
As companies look to diversify to help improve sustainability, robot programming that is simple enough to be refigured to any kind of manufacturing environment is critical.
MIT researchers developed a robot that digs through granular material, like sand and gravel, and find the shapes of buried objects with tactile sensing, which could help inspect cables and more. See video.
3D-printable gels with improved and highly controlled properties can be created by merging micro- and nano-sized networks of the same materials harnessed, which could benefit biomedical and soft robotics applications.
MIT researchers have designed an algorithm to ensure the fruitful cooperation of information-gathering robot teams, which could be vital for robot teams’ success in complex, unpredictable environments.
The changes to robots and robotic products, along with their growing presence, makes it important to understand potential hazards associated with these devices.
Robot sales rose over 20% in the first quarter of 2021 compared to 2020 with non-automotive sales leading the way.
Demand for robot vision sensors are very high all over the world and will keep the global robot sensor market strong for the next several years.
A new law of physics that accounts for how robots grip objects, particularly web ones, has been discovered by North Carolina State University researchers.
PLC-controlled robots, companies were given the opportunity to manage a robotic automation solution with a single, unified point-of-control between industrial robots and controllers.
Growth in e-commerce and logistics require mobile and flexible robots and collaborative robots will play a key role in their growth as well as other industries.
Warehousing industry has huge automation potential, and artificial intelligence-driven robotics technologies are helping with labor shortages, rapid online sales growth, and greater demands for faster deliveries, according to a ProMatDX 2021 session. See 7 reasons for AI-enabled intralogistics robots.
The last year has been a trying one for many industries, but robotics manufacturers and distributors are using the current climate to develop new and innovative ways for robots to help in manufacturing.
Robotic process automation (RPA) can help drive business transformation forward, but only if it is implemented correctly.
A research team at the Georgia Institute of Technology has developed a modular solution for handling larger packages without the need for a complex fleet of drones of varying sizes. See video.
Articles about the top top 5 VFD parameter changes explained, free PLC programming software for education, 2021 engineers' choice awards, and more were Control Engineering’s five most clicked articles from March 22-28, 2021. Miss something? You can catch up here.
Robotic safety standards have been around for a few decades and their importance is growing as they became more common in manufacturing.
Robotics companies are experiencing major growth, but what separates the successful companies from the pretenders? See eight tips on how to succeed and video examples.
A team of USC Viterbi and Shanghai University of Finance and Engineering researchers developed technology that helps robots navigate automated warehouses.
Deep-learning technique optimizes the arrangement of sensors on a robot’s body to ensure efficient operation. See video.
Robots are being used in oil and gas operations to dig underground, which is often undulating and challenging. Companies are finding innovative ways to overcome the problem.
Remotely-operated aerial robots can operate in dangerous conditions, which make them ideal for certain oil and gas operations.
Many of the world's oil and natural gas resource lie beneath the oceans. Autonomous robots can help explore and dig them out.
A new control system developed by MIT researchers may broaden robots’ range of tasks and allow safer interactions with people.
As a part of Cyber Valley, the AI Innovation Center “Learning Systems” operated by Fraunhofer IAO and Fraunhofer IPA supports companies in their efforts to exploit the economic potential of robotics and artificial intelligence (AI).
Insect-sized drones have been developed with a soft actuator that allows them to withstand the physical travails of real-world flight, which could help their overall movement in many applications. See video.
Robotic orders for 2020 were 3.5% higher than 2019 with non-automotive robotic orders surpassing automotive orders for the first time ever, according to the Robotic Industries Association.
The Robotic Industries Association (RIA) published a national safety standard that provides technical requirements for the design of industrial mobile robots to support worker safety.
A team of USC master’s students created a disinfection robot called LASER-D to use on COVID-19 prevention. See video.
The collaborative robot market, led by China and the United States, is predicted to thrive over the next several years after a difficult period due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
A system has been developed that devises hardware architectures to hasten robots’ response time so they can operate in critical situations.
A robot has learned to visually predict how its partner robot will behave, displaying a glimmer of empathy, which could help robots get along with other robots and humans more intuitively.
Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) need to consider their plant floor, the type of robot and more when choosing a robot supplier.
Engineers have proposed a principle where active matter systems can spontaneously order, without need for higher level instructions or even programmed interaction among the agents, which has been shown in shape-changing robots.
Robotics and other technology advances increase accuracy and allow robots to improve precision and make larger parts for additive manufacturing applications.
A group of self-aware, human-directed robots to assist in manufacturing rapidly deployed structures to help with COVID-19 overflow.
Offline robot programming platforms are increasingly being used during the COVID-19 pandemic. Four scenarios, key programming features and perks are highlighted.
Articles about how robotics engineers are taking on COVID-19, VFD parameter changes, the true value of data, connecting automation and predictive maintenance, and more were Control Engineering’s five most clicked articles from Nov. 30 - Dec. 6 2020. Miss something? You can catch up here.
A key factor behind the growth in collaborative robot deployment is the ready availability of simpler and more cost-effective systems comprising standard hardware, tooling and ancillary components
A robot operating system (ROS) delivers the services that would be expected from an OS – such as hardware abstraction, low-level device control, implementation of commonly used functionality, message-passing between processes and package management.
A system called RoboGrammar allows designers to simulate potential robot designs to find a system that works best for particular terrains.
Methods used to help robots walk and autonomous cars drive can help epidemiologists predict COVID-19's spread
Robots can augment and enhance the plant floor by handling the dirty, dull and dangerous tasks and work safely alongside humans.
A team of engineers have designed a robot called PufferBot, which blows up like a pufferfish and is designed to make flying drones safer.
Articles about rising robot sales, exploring artificial intelligence and machine learning, VFD parameter changes explained, and more were Control Engineering’s five most clicked articles from Oct. 26 to Nov. 1, 2020. Miss something? You can catch up here.
Professional service robot sales increased by 32% worldwide from 2018 to 2019 and the impact from the COVID-19 pandemic is expected to increase sales even more.
A mobile docking system for autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) has been developed to allow vehicles to perform longer tasks without the need for human intervention.
Focusing on COVID-19 risks in the workplace has shed new light on the benefits of automation and robots and their benefits on the plant floor and manifesting in multiple ways.
Mobile robots are going to be everywhere soon. Here's how to keep workers safe around them: R15.08, American National Standard for Industrial Mobile Robots -- Safety Requirements -- Part 1: Requirements for the Industrial Mobile Robot.
Control Engineering's most clicked articles in September 2020 included stories about the younger workforce leading manufacturing, programmable logic controllers, multivariable controls, wastewater treatment, robotics and COVID-19, and more. Miss something? You can catch up here.
Before investing in an industrial mobile robot, get answers for these five questions.
The debate has been long — and shall continue — whether automation replaces humans or increases productivity, quality and safety
Cornell University is using robots and batch testing to ensure thousands of tests can be processed to ensure the university can safely operate during the school year.
Robots can remotely measure patients' vital signs, which could reduce health care workers’ exposure to the COVID-19 virus.
Despite death and economic destruction from COVID-19, robots are effective tools to create social distancing, reduce touches, disinfect the workplace, safeguard hospital staff and keep companies running when workers are unavailable.
While the market is down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the market outlook for 2021 is positive according to a report by the Association for Advancing Automation (A3) and ITR Economics.
Rechargeable batteries that store energy the way animals store fat could help robots operate for longer periods according to a research team at the University of Michigan.
Articles about edge computing and IIoT, automation helping the COVID-19 pandemic response, system integration, MQTT, and more were Control Engineering’s five most clicked articles from Aug. 10-16, 2020. Miss something? You can catch up here.
Automation innovation has opportunities to help with COVID-19 pandemic response, energy efficiency, robotics, non-contact motion control using superconductivity, training and by creating increased interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
Industrial robotic software, industrial networks and cloud-based technologies are helping to improve industrial robotic health, improve robotic uptime and better manage robotic assets.
3D Dynamic Scene Graphs gives robots spatial abilities that could enable them to work with people on the plant floor or in other dangerous environments.
Duke University researchers have developed an approach to designing motion plans for multiple robots grows "trees" in the search space to solve complex problems in a fraction of the time.
Maxar Technologies has announced over $2 million in funding for the Robotic Technology Center at West Virginia University for a project called Space Infrastructure Dexterous Robot (SPIDER), which will be a part of NASA's OSAM-1 mission.
A University of Colorado researcher has created HAMR-Jr, a robot modeled after cockroaches and designed to crawl and easily move into dangerous places such as airplane engines or other spaces where mechanics can’t reach to conduct needed inspections.
Articles about robotics, using HMIs as intelligent edge devices, working from home, COVID-19, and more were Control Engineering’s five most clicked articles from June 22-28, 2020. Miss something? You can catch up here.
Researchers MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) collaborated with Ava Robotics and the Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB) to design a robotic system that disinfects surfaces and neutralizes aerosolized forms of COVID-19.
Will the COVID-19 pandemic accelerate the speed adoption of robotic and automation across the industrial sector? There are many factors at play.
Electro-sensitive protective equipment (ESPE), such as light guards and laser scanners, are crucial for collaborative robots, but inspection and testing is often neglected.
North Carolina State and University of Buffalo researchers have developed Artificial Chemist, which is a technology that incorporates artificial intelligence (AI) and an automated system for performing chemical reactions to accelerate R&D and manufacturing of commercially desirable materials.
Rice University researchers have advanced the manufacture of complex shapeshifters for soft robots, biomedical implants with 4D printing.
Industry 5.0 will emphasize collaborative robotics as well as human input while encouraging many of the positive aspects that Industry 4.0 brought to the plant floor.
Researchers at North Carolina State University have developed software to enable people using robotic prosthetics or exoskeletons to walk in a safer, more natural manner on different types of terrain.
North Carolina State University researchers have developed a type of soft robot capable of moving more quickly on solid surfaces or in the water, which was inspired by how cheetahs move.
Robot-assisted surgery has various benefits such as less pain and a faster recovery time for the patient, higher degree of precision for the surgeon, and more. However, one challenge the industry is facing is lack of quality haptic feedback.
A study co-authored by an MIT professor shows firms that move quickly to use robots tend to add workers to their payroll, but overall employment drops.
Robots-as-a-Service uses a cloud-based system which allows for easier requirement changes.
Robot safety: In areas with robotic process automation (RPA), identify and enforce safeguards and practices to mitigate workplace incidents. Heed appropriate standards. Do risk assessments.
A study co-authored by an MIT professor finds that in the U.S., the impact of robots varies widely by industry and region, and may play a notable role in exacerbating income inequality.
MIT researchers' Conduct-A-Bot system uses muscle signals to cue a drone’s movement, which could enable more natural human-robot communication.
Robotics are being used in various surgical sectors to aid in precision, efficiency, and much more. Orthopedic surgery is currently the most developed market.
Making robots compliant regardless of the environment is a challenge, but there are several things companies can look out for. See three questions companies should ask.
Moving parts from a bin to a precise location has required repetitive human agility or talent to address vision, programming and robotic integration challenges. A pre-integrated kit can shorten time to productivity, helping machine tending and pick-and-place robotic applications. See May 12 live webcast and 7 tips below.
It is time for the manufacturing sector in the U.K. to look seriously at the adoption of automation, and robotics in particular, to help improve productivity figures.
Robots can help medical professionals dealing with COVID-19 and potentially reduce their exposure to the pandemic.
University of Wisconsin researchers have developed a method for using magnetic fields to remotely induce soft composite materials to rearrange their internal structure into a variety of new patterns.
Robots and automation are on the front lines of the COVID-19 battle and are helping manufacturers, health care officials and many more.
While manufacturing has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, there are signs and reasons to be optimistic about a recovery in the months and years to come.
Engineers have developed an automated process for creating polymers that make it easier to produce advanced materials used to treat humans thanks to robotics and AI.
The COVID-19 pandemic is creating the opportunity for mobile robots to be used for various markets and could lead to a reassessment of supply chains in the future.
Robots are creating jobs outside of the ones replaced by automation, but the picture remains murky on the overall impact robots have had.
Collaborative robots won't necessarily take away humans jobs; they will assist in worker productivity, company growth and much more.
OnRobot’s large-stroke 3FG15 three-finger gripper is designed to make automated precision handling of cylindrical parts easy to program and deploy.
Artificial intelligence and robots have the ability to help workers in the construction field improve productivity, enhance safety, and much more.
The hospitality industry is adopting artificial intelligence to enhance guests experience, safety, security, and service while staying at hotels.
Manufacturers have developed solutions to keep human workers safe from the potential risks collaborative robots bring on the plant floor.
USC researchers have built robots that can 3D print complicated shapes without compromising on quality or accuracy.
When choosing to start a career in robotics and engineering, it's important to know the various fields and specialties within the industry.
Success of robotic applications requires putting the right robot with the right application. Learn more from system integrators from the webcast, “Robotic applications: What robots should and shouldn’t be doing,” including collaborative robots, motion, pitfalls, and more.
There are concerns about service robots, but a majority of them regarding design, automation and safety are inaccurate.
Robotics, although still under the control of humans, are becoming a more frequent option in health care for assistance in surgeries and other medical treatments.
Collaborative robots, artificial intelligence and Industry 4.0's potential can help cut operation and manufacturing costs for healthcare companies.
Northwestern University researchers have developed a decentralized algorithm that allow robots to move with a collision-free, deadlock-free guarantee.
Collaborative robots work with humans to do the most boring of tasks and let human workers focus on meaningful jobs, improving job satisfaction.
The industry is moving toward using collaborative robots (cobots) with force-sensing technology that work alongside people
The rise of collaborative robots is expected to continue as manufacturers and people become more comfortable with their presence in everyday situations and the market reflects that.
Collaborative robots help local manufacturers meet the customer's demand for immediate products and can help control long-term costs.
A manufacturer that saves money on labor by using automation can increase investments and demand and create more opportunity for employment. Factory floor workers can manage tasks that require skills that automation cannot replicate, leading to further innovation.
The market for autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) is growing fast, and there is a lot of demand globally for them in traditional automation, in non-automotive sectors.
MIT researchers have developed flexible sensors and an artificial intelligence model that tell deformable robots how their bodies are positioned in a 3D environment.
Robot sales increased compared to 2018 thanks to increases in orders from automotive OEMs and the plastics and rubber industry.
Inside machines and robotics: Mobile robots are adding flexibility and space-efficiency in complex industrial applications. Autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) are adding efficiencies, especially electronics and semiconductor industries.
At Ford Motor’s body and stamping plant in Valencia, Spain, autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) improved overall logistics and allowed human workers to work on more complex tasks.
Companies are already using robotic process automation (RPA) to improve operations, but they also need to consider costs and the need for constant maintenance when implementing the program.
The industrial and collaborative market has a bright future ahead as companies look to make robots faster, smarter and more efficient. See three market trends and two technology trends for the 2020s.
Investing in a robot for an automation project is an ongoing process and requires the user to perform risk assessments and get a clear picture of what the robot’s purpose is in the project.
Inside machines and robotics: Looking inside an exoskeleton shows advanced robotics technologies used to help physical therapy related to loss of arm movement. It’s a high-technology motion control application.
Cornell researchers have created a soft robot muscle that can regulate its temperature through sweating, which can enable high-powered robots to operate for long periods of time without overheating.
Robots have long been used in discrete manufacturing and machine automation applications, and their use is now spreading to address process industry applications.
The Robotic Industries Association (RIA) is pleased to announce the results of the recent Board of Directors election with Matt Wicks, Chief Robotics Solution Architect, Honeywell Intelligrated, being named Chairperson.
Autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) are working alongside humans and providing help in applications such as hospitals and warehouses thanks to advances in mobility and mapping technology.
Cartesian robots offer space and cost savings, wide dynamic range, and are simpler compared to other industrial robots.
Articles about the System Integrator Giants, advanced process control, robotics and AI in agriculture, improved process control engineering, and revamped HMIs were Control Engineering’s five most clicked articles from January 27 to February 2. Miss something? You can catch up here.
Worker safety is always top priority, especially when it comes to robots and collaborative robots may be the key.
Service robots, whether its in professional or personal use, are growing by leaps and bounds and that doesn't appear to be slowing anytime soon as robots become more sophisticated.
Collaborative robots are growing in many industries and are being increasingly used in applications including, pick and place, packaging and quality inspection.
Exoskeletons can make workers safer on the manufacturing floor, and they will become more common as mobility and cost concerns become less of an issue.
A tiny AI robotic pill may soon help farmers improve their cows’ milk production if they are feeling anxiety or stress. The technology behind this pill might be used to improve human surgeries in the future.
Fanuc’s 10kg payload CRX-10iA and CRX-10iA/L (long arm version) collaborative robots provide a reach of 1249mm and 1418mm respectively.
Robotic offline programming (OLP) reduces initial setup time, programming time, and changeover and alteration time for manufacturers.
Moving to proximity-based safety can release space and improve production efficiency by allowing robots and workers more freedom of movement on the shop floor.
NASA believes collaborative robots are better suited for a mission to Titan, which is Saturn's largest moon, as they try to learn more about its surface and atmosphere.
System integrators should know an autonomous mobile robot's (AMR’s) programming and implementation capabilities make them attractive to end users.
2019 Robotics Research Report: Respondents to the Control Engineering and Plant Engineering 2019 Robotics Research survey identified use, trends, and purchasing habits of industrial robots and related hardware, software, peripherals, robotic safety, training, installation, integration, and maintenance.
How year-round automation eliminated inconsistencies on stock products and boosted output by cutting cycle time by 50%.
Interact Analysis projects strong growth for the collaborative robot market as non-automotive industries become more invested in the technology.
Robotics special report: The six most common collaborative robot applications are pick and place, machine tending, packaging and palletizing, process tasks, finishing tasks, and quality.
Cover Story: The ideal robotic gripper should be flexible for multiple applications and easy to use. Manufacturers should also choose robotic grippers that can help with their long-term data needs.
MIT researchers have found a way top optimize soft robots to perform specific tasks with a new model that make their bodies flexible.
Robotic sales are up over 5% compared to 2018 results according to the Robotic Industries Association (RIA).
The ISO 10218-1 safety standard classifies the four types of collaborative robot operation: Safety monitored stop, hand guiding, speed and separation monitoring, and power and force limiting.
Researchers at the USC Viterbi Center for Advanced Manufacturing have identified an algorithm designed to provide robots short, collision-free solutions in complex manufacturing spaces.
MIT engineers have developed a robot designed to extend a chain-like appendage that can twist and turn in any necessary configuration and can then retract the appendage when a task is completed.
Laser marking involves a technique where a laser etches, stains, or otherwise engraves a material and is extremely useful for the automotive industry, which demands precision marking.
MIT engineers, along with the Ford Motor Company, have developed a navigation method for robots that enables a robot to use clues in its environment to plan out a route to its destination, which can be described in general semantic terms rather than coordinates on a map.
A team from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) have developed self-assembling robotic cubes that can climb over and around one another, leap through the air, roll across the ground, and identify each other.
Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) researchers have secured a five-year, $3 million National Science Foundation (NSF) grant focusing on research and training related to the adoption of robotic assistants in the workplace.
Teradyne, Inc. announced they have entered into a definitive agreement to acquire privately held AutoGuide Mobile Robots for $165 million.
Robots are well-suited for handling the dull, dirty and dangerous jobs humans shouldn't be doing. They can improve efficiency and reduce downtime and lower risk for humans.
Researchers at MIT have developed a system where robots “learn” from a dataset called Omnipush that captures how pushed objects move to improve their physical interactions with new objects.
New robots will be able to create savings in manufacturing and plug short-term gaps while also help creating future jobs.
Collaborative robots are improving aircraft construction, testing and maintenance as the aviation industry adopts Industry 4.0 and automates aircraft operation.
West Virginia University engineers have developed an autonomous robotic system designed to monitor the structural integrity and safety of underground maps, which could prevent mining accidents.
MIT researchers are working on developing systems of tiny robots that may someday build high-performance structures, from airplanes to space settlements.
Georgia Tech and Northwestern University researchers have built a robot entirely from smaller robots known as “smarticles” to unlock the principles of a potentially new locomotion technique.
Workers and companies receive increased safety and productivity by using exoskeletons for supply chain operations.
MIT mechanical engineers have designed 3-D-printed mesh-like structures that morph from flat layers into predetermined shapes, which could lead to developments such as adaptive robotic fins.
Robotics-as-a-service (RaaS) is an emerging trend in manufacturing as companies look to deal with rising automation and tighter global competition. RaaS allows companies to use robots for short-term needs without a long-term investment. One application reduced overall manufacturing costs by 30%.
North Carolina State researchers have developed a structure called soft tactile logic, which senses, computes and responds without any centralized processing and has the characteristics of a robot and computer.
Researchers have created a 3-D printed robot called the micro-bristle bot designed to sense environmental changes, move materials, and, maybe one day, help to repair injuries within the human body.
Cornell University researchers are using optical lace to create a linked sensory network similar to a biological nervous system for robots to improve their actions.
In order for a robot to be safe, it should be protected against cyberattacks and possible security breaches and there are several ways this can happen.
Cornell University researchers, along with MIT, are studying how humans form and update impressions of robots with the goal of creating a computational model allowing robots to adjust their nonverbal behavior accordingly.
Why Ameren Missouri is leveraging the power of robotics.
A team of researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) have developed an AI-driven controller to control hybrid drones.
Robots, according to a paper from the University of Birmingham, will need to think in the right context as economies embrace automation, connectivity and digitization and as levels of human-robot interaction increase.
West Virginia University’s robotic drilling team won NASA’s Moon to Mars Ice & Prospecting Challenge for the second time in three years with the Mountaineer Ice Drilling Automated System III (MIDAS III).
Artificial intelligence (AI) is an efficient method of teaching an industrial robot new skills.
In labor-constrained industries, collaborative robots could boost productivity.
Case study: Collaborative robots at a thermal wrap manufacturing company deliver a zero-defect rate while doubling production output. Installation, integration and use has been a do-it-yourself (DIY) project.
Probabilistic roadmaps (PRMs) help to create collision-free paths for collaborative robots and refers to the set of random points in the configuration space within which the planner knows the collaborative robot can safely move.
Small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are turning to collaborative robots to increase flexibility on the plant floor, and companies are looking to improve the technology behind the robots. In a flexible robot cell, the installation and commissioning time is reduced by up to 90%.
While collaborative robots are starting to be accepted within the manufacturing sector, safety is still a concern for many. Learn how several companies are working to address the safety issue and address misconceptions.
Technology update: Collaborative robots used in industrial applications can be easier than traditional robotics for set up and redeployment, producing rapid return on investments (ROIs) in many diverse applications, according to one robot manufacturer.
Researchers have developed a technique that allows them to remotely control the movement of soft robots using light and magnetic fields.
Collaborative robots are playing a key role in aerospace engineering as manufacturers look to meet increased demand.
Collaborative robotic applications, a relatively new innovation in the robotic industry, are designed to team up with a human operator to flexibly perform a wide variety of tasks.
A survey from the Global Robotics Report 2019 highlights a general lack of knowledge about collaborative robot safety requirements, which can be dangerous for workers on the plant floor.
Collaborative and industrial robots are becoming more common on construction sites and are helping human workers with some of the dull and dangerous tasks.
A team of Cornell University undergraduates is aiming to use the tools of digital agriculture such as drones to spot Northern leaf blight and other agricultural diseases before they take hold.
Global growth for the robotics industry plus lower overall startup costs and technology upgrades is driving growth in non-automotive industries.
MIT researchers have developed an automated system that designs and 3-D prints robotic actuators, which are optimized and automatically created, which is almost impossible for a human to do.
The agricultural industry is looking to technology to solve its challenges such as a labor and food shortage and robots are an important part of that strategy.
Robotic automation can spur greater efficiency, deliver better results, lower costs and increase flexibility, but companies need to have the right tools to make the robot's application successful.
To assist surgeons in the operating room (OR), the medical field is using the advancements of AI and collaborative robots for risky and repetitive tasks.
Universal Robots is opening authorized training centers (ATCs) to broaden users’ understanding of the collaborative robots' potential applications as well as cover a range of core and advanced collaborative robot programming skills.
MIT researchers have developed a mobile motor that could allow future robots to assemble complex structures — including other robots.
Faster startup and redeployment are key reasons for using plug-and-play peripheral effectors and sensors with collaborative robotics.
Northwestern Engineering students are building robots that advance research through a class called Robot Design Studio, which challenges students to produce working robot prototypes.
Collaborative robots are being used in applications throughout the supply chain, from materials handling to assembly to order fulfillment and can even be used for processing returns and performing quality control checks.
Robotic automation is the future for manufacturers of all sizes and can help them save money and time and even create new jobs that weren't previously available.
A team of researchers at Iowa State University are looking to deploy fleets of drones, but it's trickier than it sounds due to unexpected weather events and cybersecurity concerns.
Researchers at the University of Maryland have developed a method to combine perception and motor commands using the hyperdimensional computing theory, which could fundamentally alter and improve how robots translate what they sense into what they do through artificial intelligence (AI).
Service robots are growing thanks to improved technology and lower operational expenses. The medical, agricultural and defense industries are benefiting from their potential in a variety of ways.
GlobalData reports that oil and gas companies are turning to robotics to drive productivity and efficiency due to volatile prices.
MIT researchers have developed an algorithm that accurately aligns partial trajectories in real-time, allowing motion predictors to accurately anticipate the timing of a person’s motion to make human-robot interaction safer.
Service robots are becoming common in agriculture to fulfill an ever-expanding number of needs to overcome the labor shortage as well as the rising world population.
Technology developments such as collaborative robots and wearable robots are making automotive manufacturing more efficient and safer for the workforce.
Robot sales declined in the first quarter of 2019 from 2018 due to a decrease in orders from automotive component suppliers and several other industries.
Fraunhofer Institute for Photonic Microsystems (IPMS) researchers have been developing and manufacturing micro-scanner mirrors, which provide robots an ability similar to human vision.
Robots are working in specialized fields and dangerous applications and many of them are able to work safely and effectively thanks to gripper technology advances.
Robots have the ability to go where we can’t and perform jobs we shouldn’t including applications such as chemical refining and hazardous material handling and subzero palletizing.
Faster startup, redeployment and return on investment (ROI) are among the key reasons for using plug-and-play peripheral effectors and sensors with collaborative robotics.
Collaborative robots can offer a lot of potential to manufacturing applications such as repetitive tasks, collaborative environments, and variable production runs.
Logistics robots stand are the fastest-growing and most widely adopted form of service robot and provide many potential benefits for manufacturing.
Duke University researchers are using the physics of airflows to locate gaseous leaks more quickly in complex scenarios for processing and chemical applications. See video.
Articles about human-robot interaction, using AI for real-time data, IEC 61131-3 programming languages, sustainable cybersecurity architecture, and universities driving robotics research were Control Engineering’s five most clicked articles from May 13-19. Miss something? You can catch up here.
Recent innovations in professional service robots, however, are changing the way construction is completed around the world and is opening a manual-intensive industry to the potential benefits of automation.
Researchers at several universities are working on technological developments that are blurring the line between human-robot interaction and what they can ethically do for people.
The RIA R15.06 Standards Committee has finalized Technical Report (TR) R15.806-2018 to address the test methods and metrics for measuring pressure and force associated with quasi-static and transient contact events of collaborative applications.
Collaborative robots and artificial intelligence (AI) are being fused together to provide an even greater return on investment (ROI) for companies in the food & beverage industry.
ARC Specialties' Artificial Intelligence Pipe Welding System (AIPW) incorporates a collaborative robot arm from Universal Robots to carry out challenging welds in the oil & gas industry. See video.
Human-robot collaboration (HRC) is becoming more common, but humans still need to be aware of their machine counterparts. Companies have developed techniques to make it easier for humans and robots to safely interact and improve plant floor productivity.
The HELUKAT PROFINET Type R Torsion cable from Helukabel is designed for robotic applications.
As robotics have become more advanced, electronic manufacturers are realizing their potential and are using them for delicate applications.
The Robotic Industries Association (RIA)'s annual Engelberger Robotics Awards were given to Catherine Morris and Dr. Howie Choset.
Researchers at multiple universities are developing and researching potential uses for robots in industries such as inspection, medical, and automotive.
Collaborative robots offer pharmaceutical applications greater reliability, consistency, and precision and can improve safety.
MIT researchers have developed a learning-based particle simulator, could give industrial robots a more refined touch and help them make predictions about interacting with solid objects and liquids.
Inspection robots feature advanced vision systems and are in high demand in critical infrastructure applications and industries such as oil & gas and the petrochemical industries.
Collaborative robots have come a long way in the last several years and recent innovations such as embedded vision and machine learning have allowed them to do more.
Professional service robots feature some degree of autonomy and mobility for unstructured environments and offer many potential benefits for end users.
Collaborative robots are useful for CNC machine tending applications because they can be deployed quickly and can improve productivity on the plant floor.
There are many tools and programs designed to make industrial robots more accurate and precise for demanding manufacturing applications.
The agricultural industry is turning to robots to meet the soaring demand for consumers and replace traditionally manual jobs to improve production.
Collaborative robots, which are designed to work alongside humans, are designed to be easy to use and program and offer end users flexibility on the plant floor.
Robotic automation can provide efficiency and productivity benefits, but companies need to effectively plan for automation to maximize the potential they can bring.
Researchers from MIT, Columbia University, and other research institutes have developed robots that connect in large groups to move around, transport objects, and complete other tasks.
Articles about low-power hybrid chips for robots, gaining the edge in automation, connecting quality and process data, manufacturing and process facility trends, and the Engineers' Choice Awards were Control Engineering’s five most clicked articles from March 18-24. Miss something? You can catch up here.
More than 20,000 autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) were shipped in 2018 according to Interact Analysis, which is double the number sold in 2017.
Industrial robots can operate in extreme conditions humans cannot and are being increasingly used for extreme heat and cold environments as well as hazardous ones.
Researchers have developed small flying robots outfitted with advanced gripping technologies that can pull objects up to 40 times their weight. See video.
Industrial mobile robots (IMRs) have a lot of potential for manufacturers looking to enhance productivity, but standards are needed.
Technology developments and high demand for collaborative robots point to a promising future for the technology as manufacturers find new uses for them.
Automotive robots bring many benefits to automotive manufacturers and increase companies' competitiveness on a global scale.
Researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology demonstrated robotic cars that use an ultra-low power hybrid chip to give palm-sized robots the ability to collaborate and learn from their experiences like the human brain does. See video.
The Robotic Industries Association (RIA) reported a new record for annual sales in 2018 with non-automotive sales continuing to surge and break new records.
Omron Automation’s TM series collaborative robot is designed to seamlessly work with humans to enhance productivity and ensure safety.
Articles about robotics as a service, robotics and AI, collaborative robots, the 2019 System Integrator Giants, and robot offline programming were Control Engineering’s five most clicked articles from February 18-24. Miss something? You can catch up here.
Robots have advanced dramatically over the past few decades and are able to automate a wide range of tasks in an even wider range of industries inside and outside of the factory setting.
Safety monitored stop, speed and separation, power and force limiting, and hand guiding are the four major types of collaborative robots and each has a specific benefit for manufacturers.
Robotic design: Built-in collaborative force/torque sensing, safety features, and improved precision enable faster integration in a wider range of future-proofed applications.
Cover Story: Get answers about expansion of industrial robotics from an end-of-collaborative robot tooling company executive.
Cover Story: Robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) will improve product and service quality, create greater throughput, enhance employee safety, reduce variability, cut waste, and, most increase customer satisfaction.
Robotics as a Service (RaaS), which allows manufacturers to leverage the benefits of industrial and collaborative robots in their facility without having to buy them, is becoming popular.
Cover Story: Software suppliers are disproving preconceptions about robot offline programming (OLP) being too complicated or not cost-effective. Several companies have developed software programs designed to make robots smarter, faster, and more flexible in a variety of challenging applications.
MIT researchers have developed an algorithm that could help autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) explore risky marine environments, which could be beneficial for future offshore oil & gas exploration.
Vision-guided robot (VGR) applications are useful for manufacturing applications and are quickly becoming commonplace as technology costs continue to drop.
The Robotic Industries Association (RIA) announced a strategic partnership with Pittsburgh Robotics Network (PRN) to elevate the awareness of the robotics industry in the Pittsburgh area.
Collaborative robots and mobile robots can enhance automation and productivity on the plant floor when their attributes are combined.
Vacuum grippers can be beneficial for collaborative robots, but the type of application and the potential costs associated with them need to be considered.
For a robot to be safe, it must also be secure from cyberattacks in the age of Industrie 4.0 and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). Everyone in the information technology (IT) and operations technology (OT) departments are responsible for ensuring this happens.
Articles about smarter robot sensing, the Engineers' Choice finalists, the 2019 System Integrator Giants, IIoT trends and risks, and robot end of arm tooling trends were Control Engineering’s five most clicked articles from December 31, 2018, to January 6, 2019. Miss something? You can catch up here.
The robots of the future will benefit from technology advances such as increased human-robot interaction, increased mobility, and multi-robot coordination.
Hardware and software advances such as improved sensors and the cloud have helped robot grippers enable safer, closer human-robot collaboration, ease of use, and flexibility for many different applications.
Industrial robot end of arm tooling (EOAT) trends include safer grippers and greater connectivity as companies face greater productivity and demand from their customers.
Solidifying best practices becomes the key to successful integration.
Five ways to lower robotic system risks: Industrial safety, while a widely used term, is a misnomer; nothing is without risk. When something is declared safe in an industrial setting, those involved should think again about risk assessment and determine if the risk is acceptable.
Researchers have developed an electronic glove with sensors that mimic human skin, helping robotic hands achieve some of the manual dexterity humans enjoy. See video.
Good programming and maintenance of a collaborative robot can provide manufacturers many benefits such as better return on investment (ROI), lower total cost of ownership (TCO), and more.
MIT researchers have developed a system that allows drones to cooperatively explore terrain under thick forest canopies where GPS signals are unreliable, which could be useful in plant disaster and safety situations.
The aerospace industry is a tough, exacting industry. Robot users and integrators face challenges such as increased human-robot collaboration and the constant demand for precision and efficiency.
MIT researchers have developed a semantic parser that learns through observation to more closely mimic a child’s language-acquisition process, which could greatly extend computing’s capabilities.
Collaborative robots will continue to evolve and future research may allow them to become more interactive and adaptable to human behavior.
Fenceless robots are taking on a number of different sizes and forms beyond the collaborative robot as robotic technology has progressed.
Integrators have developed sophisticated robotic machine vision systems comprising numerous cameras mounted on a fixed frame to capture many images of an automotive product for quality assurance purposes.
Vision-guided robots, from industrial robotic arms to autonomous mobile robots (AMRs), are a quickly growing segment of robotics thanks to trends like 3-D vision and increased adoption.
Companies are turning to intelligent machines and robots to improve plant-floor productivity and the bottom line. Humans get to avoid dull and repetitive jobs that can be difficult to fill.
Robotic grinding and finishing is an essential part of manufacturing processes as manufacturers constantly pursue greater productivity and part quality.
Robotics and drones will be making major inroads beyond manufacturing according to IDTechEx thanks to developments in transistors, memory, sensors, energy storage, and electric motors.
Artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics are growing together, and several manufacturing applications such as assembly and packaging are benefiting from AI's developments.
Technology Update: Survey says 16% Canadians and 26% of Americans say they would not use a driverless (robotic) car. At what point do you trust automated technology for what applications and why?
Innovators develop ways to make people more efficient using exoskeletons and virtual technologies to bring humans and robots together. Do you have what it takes to be a robo-worker?
New developments and innovations are having an impact on the assembly line, the plant floor, and for the workers.
Technology knows no borders, as seen in the automated, modern winery packaging in Golan Heights, Israel. Motion controls, robotics, and automated packaging were among the highlights at this tourist stop.
Industrial robots are being used to assist in the aerospace industry with welding, material removal, and transport applications to improve safety and efficiency.
Robot rentals represent an important shift in the way robots are deployed in industrial and factory settings, particularly with the advent of collaborative robots.
Robotic automation has become more focused on collaboration with humans, which has caused companies to improve robot grippers for safety reasons.
Scientists from the Étienne Jules Marey Institute of Movement Sciences (CNRS/Aix-Marseille Université) are developing a robot capable of altering its profile during flight like a bird.
Manufacturers that implement robots on the plant floor face potential challenges such as safety concerns, a skills gap with their employees, and managing product workflow.
Linear robots are a type of industrial robot that move only in a straight line as opposed to rotating in all directions. There are advantages to using linear robots in applications that feature repetitive tasks.
Robotic grinding and finishing success can be tricky, but following best practices such as controlling the force of grinding and finishing systems and knowing what robot to use can help companies avoid some potential pitfalls.
MIT researchers have improved the design of their Cheetah robot to be used for exploring disaster zones and other dangerous or inaccessible environments.
Festo's 2018 bionic animals features a transforming spider that rolls or creeps, a robotic fish that autonomously maneuvers through acrylic water-filled tubing, and a semi-autonomous flying bat-like robot.
Assessing safety risks from industrial robots is important, but knowing where to start can be difficult, but the long-term benefits make it worthwhile.
As robots become more sophisticated and useful, robotic technology will continue to be widely adopted in the industrial sector and will contribute to the industry’s growth overall.
Deep learning machine vision software essentially allows machines to learn from data representations instead of task-specific algorithms, which could enhance capabilities on the plant floor far beyond what is currently possible.
According to a report from the Asia Development Bank (ADB), more than 134 million jobs were created through the adoption of robotics and other connected systems, which stimulated higher productivity and economic growth.
Robotic automation trends for the future include further IIoT adoption, increased cybersecurity measures, and increased use of collaborative robots on the plant floor.
Three collaborative robot companies, On Robot, OptoForce, and Perception Robotics, have merged together to become OnRobot, an end-of-arm tooling company with headquarters in Denmark.
3-D vision systems for vision-guided robotics (VGR) applications are creating entirely new possibilities and can be used to recognize objects, which allows for intelligent, real-time decision making.
China's robotics market is making major strides thanks to a generous business climate and a domestic market that is largely unautomated and ripe for potential. The industry is also taking aim beyond their borders and looking to expand to Europe and North America.
Industry 5.0 will revolve around the interactions between man and machine and collaboration between the two is expected as cognitive computing will be better equipped to work alongside human intelligence.
The Robotic Industries Association (RIA) announced Esben Østergaard, the chief technology officer (CTO) of Universal Robots, as the recipient of the annual Engelberger Robotics Award for his development of collaborative robots (cobots).
MIT engineers have designed a robotic glider that can skim along the water’s surface, riding the wind like an albatross while also surfing the waves like a sailboat.
Autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) are one of the latest and most innovative automation solutions on the market and have a greater degree of autonomy, which make them ideal for Lean operations.
A record number of robots were shipped to North American companies in the first quarter of 2018, according to the Robotic Industries Association (RIA) with units shipped and shipment revenue achieving record levels.
Collaborative robots are intended to share workspaces with human workers and are built to be safer partner than an industrial robot. Industry standards and robotic equipment are evolving to accommodate greater and greater levels of safety in the workplace.
Automated machines and robots can create potentially dangerous hazards for workers who operate and interact with them, which makes it vital to create safe barriers that don't hamper or interfere with a company's operations.
Autonomy for a machine or a man is never possible because we're always interacting with an environment.
A high-mix plant produces many different parts, each of which has different processes and a total overhaul to automate processes is expensive, which makes the planning process for manufacturers very important.
The market for service robots are projected to see strong growth for the foreseeable future and are being used for new manufacturing applications as they prove their profitability for companies.
Teradyne, Inc. announced the acquisition of Mobile Industrial Robots (MiR) in a bid to expand into the collaborative autonomous mobile robot (AMR) market.
Machine learning is advancing the capabilities of collaborative and industrial robots and allowing them to achieve more thanks to 3-D sensors and neural networks.
Robots are being used more for certain applications to improve overall worker safety and handle some repetitive tasks in an industry that is known for a lack of automation.
Warehousing and logistics is evolving from being a static component in the supply chain to an area ripe for smart transformation. Five predictions including robotics and predictive maintenance are highlighted.
Collaborative robots are getting smarter and easier to implement and train in any size facility and they might start taking market share from industrial robots as a result.
Keeping standards up to date with technology: Industrial robot safety standards remain in development to help lower risk for those integrating, implementing, using and maintaining robotics.
There are many different types of automation applications that industrial robots are equipped to handle such as welding, material handling, pick and place, dispensing, and inspection.
Researchers and manufacturers are looking to teach robots how to learn and handle complex tasks with artificial intelligence (AI), but their capabilities are quite a bit removed from what people believe robots are capable of achieving.
Traditional challenges to automating construction tasks are slowly disappearing, and robots are leaving their mark on construction processes.
Artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics can create a potent combination. AI has the ability to make robots smart, learn quicker, and use the cloud to reduce information load on physical servers.
Pick-and-place robots have become a commonplace robotic application in today's facilities and are designed to provide advantages for manufacturers and relieve workers of monotonous, repetitive work.
Think Again: Automation creates jobs: When more has been invested in robotics in the U.S., unemployment has fallen, and when less is invested in robots, unemployment has increased, said statistics cited by Association for Advancing Automation and others. See five tips for retaining millennials.
Robot integrator growth is being fueled by the rise of industrial and collaborative robotics, an increase in workplace safety, and technological innovation.
ANSI B11.20-2017 increases worker safety with added processes for those working on or near integrated manufacturing systems (IMS).
Industries that have never been interested in robotics are finding collaborative technology can help them reap benefits because collaborative robots are easier to program than typical robots and their impact is growing. Three questions for companies to consider are highlighted.
Engineers from MIT and Princeton University have developed a robotic system designed to assist in picking and sorting tasks, from organizing products in a warehouse to clearing debris from a disaster zone.
Collaborative robot sales are projected to increase dramatically and account for over a third of all robot sales by 2025, according to a report by the International Federation of Robots (IFR).
Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning capabilities are making their way into industrial robotics technology as manufacturers look to make robots smarter and more collaborative in their day-to-day activities on the plant floor.
Think Again: Startups, 3-D printing, drones, and automation in space are among the expanding uses for automation.
Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, are developing visual technology that allows robots to imagine the future of their actions to manipulate objects they've never encountered before.
Scientists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have developed a novel electric propulsion technology for nanobots, which allows molecular machines to move 100,000 times faster than with the biochemical processes used to date. This makes nanobots fast enough to do assembly line work in molecular factories.
Articles about the IoT and manufacturing, three VFD trends, 2018 technology trends, robotic additive manufacturing, and selecting an automation controller were Control Engineering’s five most clicked articles from January 29 to February 4. Miss something? You can catch up here.
Robotic machine tending systems provide many benefits for manufacturers—chief among them are uptime and accurate repeatability and are used in applications such as welding, grinding, and injection molds.
Robotic process automation (RPA) leverages artificial intelligence to configure computer software and the market is going through a lot of changes as larger integrators and vendors search for companies that will launch a breakthrough.
Additive manufacturing (AM) is disrupting the traditional way of manufacturing. AM transforms everything from the assembly line to logistics to the way personnel is trained. Combined, they are a powerful couple and manufacturers stand to gain major efficiencies.
Dual-end effectors for collaborative robots can improve a company's cycle time and improve overall efficiency by removing some of the variability that comes from a human operator.
The ISO 13849-1 safety standard from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is a universal standard meant to help build safety systems in machinery with sufficient reliability, which is vital for robotics, which present unique potential dangers to workers.
Using automation for humanitarian benefit was the focus of Dr. Julielynn Wong’s presentation at the 2018 A3 Business Forum. Additive manufacturing and drone technologies were highlighted to help those in remote geographical or economic situations, including space travel.
Start-up automation-related companies at the 2018 A3 Business Forum include a lightweight robot arm, a vision-guide robot, robotic gripper options, simple machine monitoring, and talent assessment and development software.
Additive manufacturing (AM) is changing how engineers and part designers think and robots are enabling the technology by making AM machines and processing faster and more accurate than they would be on their own.
MIT researchers believe they can help answer questions about what information-processing resources human beings use at what stages of development by building computer systems that approximate these capacities, which might generate some insights useful for robotic vision systems.
The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) presents enormous productivity potential for manufacturers, but the true benefits can be difficult to realize for companies trying to be more efficient on the plant floor.
Companies are using robotic process automation (RPA) tools to transform their information technology (IT) departments and improve workplace and operational efficiency and this is fueling the industry's growth overall.
Articles about PID controllers, robotic machining in aerospace applications, CNCs and PLCs in the factory of the future, modular control systems, and process control building blocks were Control Engineering’s five most clicked articles from January 1-7. Miss something? You can catch up here.
Robotic automation capabilities have expanded in recent years and enhanced capabilities, along with the increase in overall automation levels, is allowing processing and packaging plants to introduce new products on the same assembly lines.
Robotic waterjet systems use a mix of water and garnet that exits the waterjet to make precise cuts for an industry that demands perfection.
Agricultural robots automate slow, repetitive, and dull tasks for farmers, allowing them to focus more on improving overall production yields, which will be vital as the world's population increases.
Top 5 Control Engineering articles December 18-24: Engineers’ Choice finalists, 2018 System Integrators of the Year, robot implementation, more
Articles about the Engineers' Choice finalists, 2018 System Integrators of the Year, robot implementation success steps, collect and optimize data, and PLC software benefits were Control Engineering’s five most clicked articles from December 18-24. Miss something? You can catch up here.
The Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) and the Robot Revolution Initiative (RRI) have agreed to a liaison to maximize interoperability, portability, security, and privacy for the industrial internet.
The Association for Advancing Automation (A3) reported sales records were set in the areas of robotics, machine vision, motion control, and motor technology for the first nine months of 2017.
Collaborative robots are a hot topic in manufacturing and their use will grow as companies implement Industrie 4.0, but companies need to consider safety issues and how collaborative robots complement their workforce.
Machine vision developments such as 3-D imaging, barcode scanning, and improved traceability are allowing robots to take over operations on the plant floor and allow automotive companies to meet consumer demand for more customized products.
The rising demand for personalized manufactured goods means companies need a shop floor agile enough to meet fast-changing production line requirements.
Global robot sales have increased over the last several years and are expected to continue to increase through 2020. The electronics manufacturing industry has been a major reason for that as companies have started using robots for sensitive and challenging applications.
Robotic cable management is a fundamental part of robotic efficiency and poor planning can lead to severe problems for users.
Some collaborative robots have cybersecurity flaws or weaknesses, which undermines the entire point of having a robot work together with humans in the first place. Manufacturers need to take the issue seriously and system integrators should ensure safe operating conditions.
The International Federation of Robotics (IFR) World Robotics 2017 Industrial Robots report said that more than 1.7 industrial robots will be installed in factories by 2020.
Industrial robots are perfectly positioned to be equipped with Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) devices as they are at the heart of the production process and can take measurements and record data about their own performance as well as overall throughput and a number of other things.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) launched the Center for Occupational Robotics Research, which will assess potential benefits and risks of robot workers and develop guidance for safe interactions between human and robot.
The rise of mobile robots, and their simultaneous convergence with industrial robot technology, has left a huge gap in robot safety standards and the industry is working to quickly close that gap.
The Robotic Industries Association (RIA) signed an alliance partnership with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), which will foster technical exchange and information sharing among the three groups.
The skills gap for welders is widening as the workforce gets older and retires. To address this problem, companies are turning to their master welders to teach robots how to weld because robots are more efficient than humans.
Automated welding processes can be improved with simple preventive maintenance tips such as monitor wire feeding and extending contact tip life to help maximize the user's return on investment (ROI).
Cooperative robots interact with operators, but do not necessarily work alongside them and are designed to offer the performance advantages of traditional industrial robots without the need for the traditional safety guarding arrangements.
End of arm tooling (EOAT) is a crucial aspect of robotic technology and gives a robot a specific functionality and can be changed to fit different applications or even be built to accommodate several processes at once.
Vision-guided robots (VGRs) open up entirely new possibilities in manufacturing and industrial automation, but some applications benefit more from their presence than others.
Tennplasco, a plastic injection molding company based in Lafayette, Tenn., used collaborative robots on their assembly line to help fill their labor shortage, which remains a problem for manufacturers.
Heavy investments by mobile robot manufacturers to increase their production, as well as rising automation across various application segments such as automotive, manufacturing, defense and security, and others have led to increasing popularity of these robots among end users in these segments.
Engineers at MIT have designed an autonomous robot with socially aware navigation that is designed to keep pace with foot traffic while observing these general codes of pedestrian conduct.
Robot simulation software is making robotic automation a viable option for nearly any manufacturer. It's used during the quoting and concept stage to provide proof of design, proof of process, and to maximize a robot user's automation investment.
The productivity and low cost provided by collaborative robots allow startup companies to scale production quickly without a major upfront investment.
Inside Machines: An electronics manufacturer with double-digit product rejection rates used a collaborative robot that was controlled and monitored in a cloud-connected system to handle soldering, drilling, silicone dispensing, and light assembly. This helped rejects fall to near zero and increased production efficiency almost fivefold.
Construction is one of the least digitized, least automated industries in the world, which is making robots an attractive solution for construction companies as a result.
The Association for Advancing Automation (A3) reported sales records were set in the areas of robotics, machine vision, motion control, and motor technology for the first half of 2017.
Questions and answers: Robots are becoming easier to integrate into other systems. More preconfiguration, greater flexibility, and best-practices in programming help.
Vision-guided robots have evolved into tools that can be used to automate all kinds of new tasks.
Pick-and-place used to be an extremely difficult task for robots, but thanks to 3-D vision innovations, it is now a commonplace operation.
Mobile robots are expected to become a $150 billion market by 2038 according to a report by IDTechEx, but that growth will have some challenges as the industry changes and evolves.
Industrie 4.0 is not a distant vision for the factory of the future. Already networks of robots are connecting to the cloud and contributing massive amounts of insightful data to simplify asset management and maintenance, maximize equipment and process efficiency, and improve product quality.
With the benefits of productivity, quality, and flexibility that automated processes provide as well as the need for them, the market for robotic material handling is set to explode, according to an Allied Market Research report.
Collaborative robots (Cobots) have the ability to provide quicker return on investment (ROI) than their heavier, more dangerous industrial counterparts.
Researchers at Duke University and Brown University have developed technology that is designed to allow robots to make sense of 3-D objects more like a human to better interpret and "see" data.
Though traditional robots remain relevant, collaborative robots are starting to emerge more in the industry, as they should with their small size, low cost, and adaptability to offer.
Companies in the automotive industry are using Industrie 4.0 to develop data platforms that are designed to reduce downtime in an industry where every minute counts.
Process automation enhances business development with a vast return on investment.
Collaborative robots' accuracy and efficiency make them a likely staple for life science research in the near future, particularly for sensitive applications.
Robotics technology is forecast to be deployed across multiple applications for infrastructure management, public administration services, information management, law enforcement, street and utility maintenance, etc., to develop smart cities all over the globe.
Robots are designed to provide safety, efficiency and accuracy to logistics companies and the market for them is expected to grow exponentially in the next 5 years.
In order for vision-guided robots (VGR) to perform properly and efficiently, a machine vision system must be set up accurately to avoid potential mistakes.
Researchers at MIT are using GelSight, a sensor technology that is designed to use physical contact with an object, to help give robots greater sensitivity and dexterity.
Yaskawa's six-axis MPX3500 robot is designed for painting and coating applications including recessed, curved, or contoured surfaces and it can be floor-, wall-, or ceiling-mounted to provide layout flexibility.
Automation and artificial intelligence, are being used to make manufacturing, transportation, and food production, among a range of other industries, smarter, safer, and more efficient.
It is not science fiction anymore: a car with an adaptive and modular design that fulfills the personal requirements of a driver better than a usual car. The EO smart connecting cars aim to solve urban traffic problems.
North American robotics companies posted the strongest ever first-quarter results, with a growth of 32% in units over the same period in 2016 according to the Robotic Industries Association (RIA).
Improving productivity and safety in automation and robotics were a major theme throughout Automate 2017 as companies demonstrated their latest technologies.
Stäubli's TX2 line of collaborative robots are six-axis machines designed to operate in high-volume manufacturing, Industrie 4.0 applications, and man-robot collaboration under all production conditions.
ABB Robotics' SafeMove2 robot monitoring system is designed to enable people to work safely alongside ABB robots with payloads ranging from 6 to 800kg.
Mobile Industrial Robots' MiR 200 is a mobile robot designed to quickly and cost-effectively automate their material transportation applications.
Automate 2017 at McCormick Place in April will have over 400 exhibitors displaying developments in robotics, discrete manufacturing, the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), and automation.
An MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) team is developing a "skin" of sensors on a robot using 3-D printing as a potential cost-effective solution.
On Robot's two-finger RG2 grippers—available in both single and dual versions—are designed to mount on the arms of collaborative robots (cobots) without any external wires.
The Association for Advancing Automation's (A3) of Automate 2017 event at McCormick Place will feature developments in collaborative robots and smart factory/Industrie 4.0 initiatives.
TQ Systems' RoboDrive motors are compact and feature strong dynamics and precision and can be used for demanding drive applications in the medical, robotic, and aerospace industries.
Automation standards update: The current version of the Industrial Robot Safety Standard, ANSI/RIA R15.06-2012, is a U.S. national adoption of the ISO 10218-2011, Part 1, Robots, and Part 2, Robotic Systems. Look for new versions of these documents in the 2020 or 2021 timeframe. Also see information on collaborative robots, loading and unloading stations, end-effectors, and lockout and tagout.
Automation is a key component of manufacturing and will be vital to the industry's future, but the human element will remain a key component in its growth as the market changes.
Mexico's manufacturing industry has received a jolt as companies based on the country are investing more in robotics, which is helping lay the foundation for improved automation in the country.
Technology advances designed specifically for industrial automation have made it easier to design and implement flexible automation. And companies are seeing numerous benefits from using the new applications.
Manufacturing automation provides companies many benefits such as improved safety, lower costs, and the ability to help workers focus on high-level tasks that utilize their expertise.
The next industrial revolution will be powered by artificial intelligence, cloud computing, and especially robotics, and consumerization will be the primary driver for innovation.
The Robotic Industries Association (RIA) announced the winners of the Engelberger Robotics Awards will be awarded to Dr. Gill Pratt from the Toyota Research Institute (TRI) and Dr. Daniela Rus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
Customization and variability are at an all-time high and food producers must keep up with the trends while trying to anticipate the future and robotics' ability to provide flexible automation will be key in making the industry grow.
Ocado, a British-only supermarket company, is running a trial program with robotic arms in its automated warehouses for the picking and packing of shopping orders, and is hoping to have them replace humans for picking.
Inside Machines: Robots will need to become more flexible and agile on the manufacturing floor as production becomes more specialized and as robotics start being used in the agricultural, medical, and automotive industries.
The machine vision industry looks to rebound after a tough 2016 and while there are promising signs on the horizon, some challenges both domestic and abroad still remain as companies look to make a major transition.
The Robotic Industries Association (RIA) reported record robot sales in 2016 in North America thanks to a strong fourth quarter and increased sales in the automotive industry.
The Association for Advancing Automation (A3) announced a call for startup companies in robotics, machine vision and motion control to enter the Automate Launch Pad Competition and eight semifinalists will be invited to the Automate 2017 show at Chicago in April.
Robot companies are working on making robots work together in teams as well as programming them so they have the freedom to operate on the plant floor with human or robotic assistance.
The Association for Advancing Automation (A3) announced that it is forming a not-for-profit trade association, A3 Mexico, which is dedicated to supporting and promoting the Mexican automation industry.
Mobile robots speed material flow to fulfillment workstations and between manufacturing processes and help consolidate storage space and future-proof operations. Robotic mobility leads to traceability and predictability on the road to Industrie 4.0 and is crucial to developing a supply chain that never stops.
Robotics are moving to the Internet of Things (IoT) through open-source robotics, which allows users to customize a robot’s programming and design. And there are plenty of resources available that can help to simplify the process while enhancing customization.
Manufacturing competitiveness, expansion of embedded machine vision, and greater collaboration among humans and automation are hot technology topics, according to representatives for industry associations for robotics, machine vision, and motion control in advance of the annual A3 Business Forum.
The agricultural industry is undergoing a transformation as demand increases. The industry will need to be more vertical and automated and robots will play a role in ensuring that it becomes efficient and less wasteful.
As the robotics industry is experiencing growth, realizing best practices from experienced robot integrators is the key to successful integration.
Top 5 Control Engineering articles December 5-11: DCS and PLC action items, robotic advances, Engineers’ Choice finalists, more
Articles about DCS/PLC action items, robotic advances, the Engineers' Choice finalists, PID and digital control efficiencies, and configuration implementation considerations were Control Engineering’s five most clicked articles from December 5-11. Miss something? You can catch up here.
Cover Story: Advanced robotic developments include improved designs for safety and specialized environments, collaborative applications, better integration with other systems, and augmented monitoring to reduce risk of downtime and lower maintenance costs. See photo gallery, links to five videos of robots.
The Sawyer model robot from Rethink Robotics, right, uses a pneumatic actuator to lift a box, move it over a guide to open the box, and position the box flaps for taping the bottom in this 24-second collaborative robot demonstration video, which was taken at 2016 Pack Expo International in Chicago, in November.
The Fanuc robot in the background of this 10-second video clip at Automation Fair 2016 knows which ball to pick up with embedded radiofrequency identification (RFID) chips embedded in each ball.
Hans Rodgers, district sales manager, SEW-Eurodrive, shows integrated motion control in this video from 2015 Pack Expo International in Las Vegas.
Kawasaki's duAro robot proves its flexibility by serving ice cream to attendees at 2016 Pack Expo International in Chicago in this 27-second demonstration.
See how Lenze motors and motion control hardware and software are put to good use in a 2016 Pack Expo International demonstration of an automated juggler, in a 12-second video clip.
Easier, safer robotic programming is among results from an expanding open-source robotics software group
Cover Story: ROS-Industrial, an open-source factory automation software project, will celebrate its fifth anniversary in January 2017 by expanding into Asia, increasing visibility in a major robotic competition, and is looking to improve workplace efficiency and safety with its programming.
IDTechEx forecasts that robotics in the agricultural market will reach $12 billion in sales by 2026, but the growth will be slow and gradual as robots gets smaller and cheaper.
US Digital has added 400 and 500 cycles per revolution (CPR) resolutions to its existing E4T line of miniature optical encoders, which are designed for robotics, medical and other industrial automation applications.
Self-driving scooter demonstrated at MIT complements autonomous golf carts and city cars and uses control algorithms that work indoors and outdoors.
Robot orders and shipments in North America set new records in the first nine months of 2016 due to strong growth in demand from automotive original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and component suppliers.
IHS Markit reported that the market for professional service robots is forecast to increase very quickly over the next several years in many markets and will be doing jobs that are handled by humans.
Additive manufacturing, exoskeleton robots, mobile robotics, and machine learning are among highlights in the September 2016 Robot Report with 13 fundings, six acquisitions, and four failures for robotic companies.
Advice on robotics: Where should robotics be used? How are collaborative robotics progressing? What’s the value proposition for robotics? And how is the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) affecting the future of robotics? Get some answers from Concept Systems Inc., a system integrator with expertise in robotics, and a 2016 System Integrator of the Year.
Mitsubishi Electric Automation's RV-F Series of 6-axis robots, the RV-35F, RV-50F, and RV-70F robots, are suited to the automotive, food and beverage, as well as electronic manufacturing industries.
Yaskawa Motoman's ArcWorld C-30 workcell is designed for welding of small- to medium-sized parts that are typical in many job shop applications.
Yaskawa Motoman's MH12 six-axis robot is designed for assembly, dispensing, material handling, machine tending and packaging applications.
ABB Robotics' IRB 1200 Foundry Plus 2 is designed for material handling and machine tending applications and can reduce cycle times for precision die casting processes such as smart phone cases and other electrical components.
Jeff Burnstein, the president of the Association for Advancing Automation (A3) , testified before the House of Representatives subcommittee on commerce, manufacturing, and trade on how the current state of robotics is impacting the economy as well as trade and commerce.
Manufacturers can improve performance and operation through real-time insights, but know what kind of information is needed to benefit the specific user or department. Pneumatics is moving into the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) as smart technologies maximize uptime with predictive intelligence and condition-based monitoring, as explained in an IMTS 2016 presentation. See four real-time benefits.
The democratization of additive manufacturing (AM) and developing hybrid machines that can use AM and subtractive manufacturing (SM) can have a major impact in improving production cycles and the types of products that can be printed.
The Robot Report reported 18 fundings, four acquisitions, and one failure involving robotic companies through the month of August 2016.
Portescap's Althonix 17DCT brush dc mini motor features an energy-efficient coreless design with an optimized self-supporting coil and magnetic circuit in a compact 17 mm diameter size and is designed for medical and industrial applications.
While mergers and acquisitions are down overall in the robotics industry, July had several major acquisitions with automation and AI-related companies among the most notable.
The Association for Advancing Automation (A3) reported that robot sales, motor and motion control, and machine vision sales showed positive signs of growth for the first half of 2016 and the outlook for all three industries is trending positive.
ABB Robotics' IRB 1660ID is a robot designed for arc welding and machine tending applications and is designed to simulate predictable cable movements for reduced cable wear.
Automotive company BMW is using Internet of Things (IoT) technologies to increase warehouse efficiency and productivity as well as customer satisfaction and overall revenues.
There have been several major deals involving robotics companies in 2016 with Chinese companies pouring in a great deal of money to meet growing demand and a growing robotics industry.
A recent survey suggests that Germany is investing more in the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) than the United States and that they are more confident about its future overall.
Fanuc America Corporation named Mike Cicco has been named the company’s president and chief executive officer (CEO). Cicco will have responsibility for all of the company’s operations in North and South America.
Researchers at MIT have analyzed ant colony behavior to develop better algorithms for industrial network communication, which could help improve collective decision-making among robot swarms and communication in ad hoc networks.
Self-driving cars, autobots, are enabled by similar technologies as advanced industrial robots: machine vision, proximity sensors, advanced motion controls, variable frequency drives, motors, sophisticated programming, cloud connections, safety, and high-speed networks. Control Engineering Russia explained some robotic transportation advances and challenges in this version edited for Control Engineering.
ABB's SafeMove2 includes a host of safety functions, including safe speed limits, safe standstill monitoring, safe axis ranges and position and orientation supervision.
Inside Machines: A teach-position method calibrates tools used by six-degrees-of-freedom (6DoF) robots for peak efficiency and improves industrial processes.
Although robotic vision is constantly evolving, there is still a technological gap between the interpretation of what a robot sees and what a human sees. What about 3-D versus 2-D vision?
Siri CEO Dag Kittlaus demonstrated Viv, which is an artificial intelligence (AI) platform that enables developers to distribute their products through an intelligent, conversational interface.
Mitsubishi Electric's RV-F Series 6-axis robots are available in 35, 50 and 70 kg payloads and are designed for the automotive, food and beverage, and electronic manufacturing industries.
Many startups and established companies are looking to fill the void after Kiva Robotics' technology, warehouse software systems, and robots were removed from the marketplace after they were acquired and absorbed into Amazon's business.
There are many different programming languages for robots and it can become overwhelming to keep them all straight. Understanding the history of robotic programming languages can provide some perspective on why it is so convoluted and where they all come from.
Robots of the future will be able to interact safely and cooperate with human co-workers, as well as learn from them. This will have far-reaching implications for skilled and unskilled jobs as robots become more sophisticated.
Industrie 4.0 and the smart factories being built are heavily influencing robots that are being developed in the Czech Republic, which could have major changes on the labor market, according to Control Engineering Czech Republic.
Mobile Industrial Robots (MiR) announced that it has opened a U.S. office and its autonomous mobile robot, the MiR100, will be available to North American companies. The MiR100 is designed for small-task indoor transportation of items in the manufacturing and healthcare markets.
MIT researchers have developed a decentralized planning algorithm for teams of robots that factors in not only stationary obstacles, but also moving obstacles.
Advanced robotics, Internet of Things (IoT), virtual reality, and other technologies and concepts will help the manufacturing industry move forward, according to innovators from Italy and the United States at the recent i3 Forum in Chicago.
The Robotic Industries Association (RIA) reported a total of 7,406 robots valued at $402 million were ordered from North American companies in the first quarter of 2016, as sales in non-automotive industries continues to rise.
Liberty Science Center in New Jersey has created an exhibition with a robot named SARA (Stevens Artistic Robot Animatron), which was created by students at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey.
The Chinese market for industrial robots continues to show signs of positive growth, but manufacturing overcapacity in many industries has the potential to limit robot market growth, particularly considering the poor short-term outlook of the Chinese economy.
ST Robotics' STVS-X is an advanced vision inspection system designed for automated and accurate handling, testing and inspection solutions of critical parts.
Inside Machines: Model-based control results in robotic systems moving faster and more accurately, with greater throughput. Such modeling can estimate torques and forces on the robot during movement and prevent excessive torque, increasing robot speed, reducing oscillations, and settling times.
Portescap's 24DCT range of Athlonix brush dc motors has an energy-efficient coreless design with a self-supporting coil and magnetic circuit and is designed for battery-driven applications such as medical and industrial pumps.
Rollon Corporation's Motion Box is a pre-engineered cartesian robot system designed to deliver users six different motion profiles that suit more than 80% of all Cartesian motion applications.
Lenze Americas' MCM synchronous servo motors are designed for a range of positioning tasks including robotics, packaging equipment and handling systems and feature IP65-rated protection class housings for food processing and other cleaning applications.
Collaborative robots have received increased awareness in recent years and implementing them on the factory floor can be done more quickly when using the five tips highlighted below.
The Robotic Industries Association (RIA) reported a total of 31,464 robots valued at $1.8 billion were ordered from North American companies in 2015, an increase of 14% in units and 11% in dollars over 2014.
ABB's IRB 910SC line of selective compliance articulated robot arm (SCARA) robots is designed for applications such as small parts assembly, material handling, component placement, parts inspection, and laboratory automation.
Inside Machines: ROS-Industrial, an open-source factory automation software project, expanded its influence in 2015 as additional US and European organizations became more engaged. The ROS-I Consortium Americas, led by SwRI, along with the ROS-I Consortium Europe, led by sister organization Fraunhofer IPA, are planning to expand into robotic 3-D printing and make inroads into Asia.
The IFR's World Robotics Industrial Robots review predicts that robot sales will double to around 400,000 by 2018 with the Asian market comprising more than half of all global sales.
Matrox's Design Assistant 4's machine vision software now supports Denso's binary control access protocol (b-CAP) robot interface and is implemented as a set of client steps to connect to, request execution and disconnect from the server running on the Denso robot controller.
The Order Picking Robotic AGV (OPRA) from Bastian Solutions is robotic picking technology designed to automate the process of manually building mixed pallets.
Cimcorp Automation's Adam is an autonomous mobile robot for random origin to random destination transport of materials in lean manufacturing operations.
Vecna RPR Robotic Pallet Transporter automates pallet transport and reduces the need for skilled human operators to travel throughout a facility moving goods; an operator can supervise several RPRs to coordinate pallet handling.
ABB's IRB 8700 is a multipurpose industrial robot designed for material handling applications in the automotive, transportation and other heavy industries and it has a reach of 3.5 m and is capable of handling a payload of up to 800 kg.
The Robotic Industries Association (RIA) announced the launch of a website paying tribute to the late Joseph F. Engelberger, known as the "Father of Robotics," who passed away Dec. 1 at the age of 90. Annual awards have been given in his honor since 1977.
The focus for industries today is an outcome-based, services-based world, according to Çağlayan Arkan, GM Worldwide Manufacturing and Resources, Microsoft in his presentation “Reimagining the Enterprise in the Digital Age.” Big data needs to translate into better use of data, he suggested.
The Heavy Article Test facility at Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) has been upgraded and is available for fabricating and testing structures such as full-scale airplanes, large-scale industrial robots and automation systems, and other large-scale testing activities.
The ability to program and control robots, servos, and drives with one software package is available with the Yaskawa Singular Control concept. Yaskawa’s MotionWorks IEC development platform uses IEC 61131-3 programming languages and motion function blocks that conform to PLCopen standards. The software was shown at Pack Expo 2015 in Las Vegas, demonstrating a Robotic Case Packing application.
The Robotic Industries Association (RIA) reported total of 22,427 robots valued at $1.3 billion were ordered from North American companies in the first nine months of 2015, which beats the record that had been set in 2014 over the same time frame.
Advanced vibration suppression algorithms used in servo drives can achieve smoother motion, faster settling time, and more accurate positioning, providing vibration suppression, greater precision, and improved performance for industrial robots and other machines and motion systems.
Yaskawa Motoman's MPL-series of robots are designed specifically for end-of-line operations and are available with an 80-800 kg payload capacity to suit a wide range of applications and are compatible with controllers for additional maintenance features.
Lenze's Fast application robot programming module for kinematics and multi-axis coordination.
Advanced controls and related software for computer numerical controls (CNC), used in planning and design through commissioning, can result in considerable time savings. One pilot project reduced three weeks work to three days.
To increase the capabilities of robotic, food sorting, and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) vision by 10x, state of Montana awarded research funds to Montana State University, Resonon, and Impulse Accelerated Technologies.
Researchers at the University of Waterloo developed a musculoskeletal model of the human arm that provides the human action for an upper limb rehabilitation robot.
Top 5 Control Engineering articles, August 10-16: Future of oil prices, legal advice for integrators, IIoT at the IO level, more
Articles about the future of oil prices, legal advice for system integrators and manufacturers, IIoT at the I/O level, five common VFD myths, and industrial robot trends and types were Control Engineering’s five most clicked articles from August 10-16. Miss something? You can catch up here.
Engineers at MIT have developed a method using the environment to give simple robotic grippers more dexterity. See related video.
The Robotic Industries Association (RIA) reported that $840 million worth of robots were ordered by North American companies in the first half of 2015, setting a new record high in sales.
Joseph F. Engelberger, a World War II veteran, engineer and entrepreneur who pioneered the robotics field by creating the first robotics company, Unimation, turned 90 years old on July 26.
In the world of manufacturing there is much talk of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and the future era of Industry 4.0, where cyber-physical systems will revolutionize production. Location systems are becoming increasingly popular as a way to gain visibility into assembly processes and also to create virtualized device controls, especially for automotive assembly.
Teradyne, a provider of electronic testing equipment, has completed its acquisition of Denmark-based Universal Robots for $285 million to help expand the company's global reach and provide them with a early access to an emerging market on the verge of rapid growth.
Vecna Technologies has acquired VGo Communications Inc., which specializes in robotic telepresence products for healthcare, business, and education. Vecna provides autonomous robots for the manufacturing and healthcare industries.
According to the International Federation of Robotics, China has become the world’s largest industrial robot market with an annual growth rate of 54% and sales volume of 56,000 units in 2014. However, there is still room for growth, especially with the increasing need for a skilled workforce.
Cover story: So you want robots? Make smart robotic investments in a rapidly changing world. Consider the system using critical path analysis including robots, humans, and facility infrastructure as part of the same system. Modern sensor technology and safety systems have evolved to the point where robots can operate outside of cages, safely around people. Focus on the goal, not the hype, while figuring robotic return on investment (ROI).
Cover story: Diversity of robotic trends, types, and programming advances make the use of robots attractive to consider in more applications and industries, and resulting innovations should benefit manufacturing. See 10 robotic software trends and 9 robot types.
Four diverse trends are having a big effect on the robotics industry worldwide, and the global media and financial gurus are paying attention to the process.
At the Brembo factory in China, the Vicenza-based company, Vimacchine, has installed complete processing lines with integrated robots for the production of brake discs.
MIT researchers trained a robotic cheetah it to see and jump over hurdles as it runs in experiments on a treadmill and an indoor track and was able to clear obstacles up to 18 inches tall while maintaining an average running speed of 5 miles per hour.
ABB announced that it will start producing robots in the United States from a new robotics plant in Auburn Hills, Mich., making it the first global industrial robotics company to fully commit and invest in a North American robotics manufacturing footprint, ABB said.
As sales via online retailers steadily increase, so too does the speed with which customers want their goods delivered. Amazon, eBay, and Google all have massive and speedy warehousing operations attempting to meet those needs.
The ST-RVS vision system by ST Robotics is designed to measure to that can measure to 0.1mm and consists of a GigE camera and a C-mount lens with zoom, focus, exposure control, and LED lighting.
Roboteq's FBL2360 is a controller capable of simultaneously driving two brushless dc motors up to 60 A each at up to 60V and is designed to be used with automatic guided vehicles (AGVs), warehouse automation robots, or any other high power brushless motor control application.
After another record year for robotics, the International Federation of Robotics (IFR) estimates that about 225,000 robots sold in 2014, 27% more than 2013’s best-year-ever record.
The way that consumers interact with cars as well as the way that they operate cars will transform most functions in commuting, travel, communications, car ownership and many other as-yet unknown ways.
ABB's YuMi, is a collaborative dual-arm industrial robot and features include dual arms, flexible hands, a universal parts feeding system, camera-based part location, lead-through programming, and precise motion control, allowing it to work in close proximity with humans.
Automate 2015 will take place at McCormick Place's North Hall in Chicago, Ill., from March 23-26, 2015 and features more than 300 exhibitors supporting many industries including automotive, electronics, aerospace, and food and beverage.
The TM-100 robot from Harvest Automation is a mobile autonomous material handling platform engineered for distribution and fulfillment operations and is designed to integrate seamlessly with the user's current operation and existing workforce.
Universal Robots' UR3 robot is designed to operate in harsh environments with toxic or hazardous materials and features a 360-deg rotation on all wrist joints. The compact tabletop robot weighs only 24.3 lb and a payload of 6.6 lb.
The Smart NJ 650 by Comau has an elevated payload of up to 650 kg, a maximum horizontal reach of 2.70 m, and ISO 9283 repeatability from 0.15 mm. It can be deployed within the food and beverage industry, foundry operations, as well as many other industrial sectors.
Top 5 Control Engineering articles, February 23 to March 1: Artificial intelligence for control engineering, Engineers’ Choice winners, selecting and applying VFDs, more
Articles about artificial intelligence for control engineering, the 2015 Engineers’ Choice winners, selecting and applying VFDs, remote access to a DCS system, and a secure automation system were Control Engineering’s five most clicked articles from last week, February 23 to March 1. Miss something? You can catch up here.
Advice follows on using proportional-integral-derivative (PID) tuning for motion control and robotics. High-end robotics with high dynamics and reasonably high accuracy of movement almost always require the use of these control algorithms for operation.
Inside Machines: Looking at the static and dynamic characteristics of miniature parallel kinematic gantries can help determine selection of the best technology. Motion applications include 3D printing, screw driving, glue dispensing, and light assembly. Criteria include application requirements for travel, throughput, moving weight, smoothness of motion, and static precision.
Engineers from Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Co. discussed technology advances needed for next-generation machine vision to help robotics and motion control. Suppliers in the room were listening, suggesting that this wish list of automotive robotic machine vision capabilities may be among future features, according to a presentation at the 2015 A3 Business Forum. Faster machine vision setup and recovery, better 3D tools, and offline simulation were among advances mentioned.
The Robotic Industries Association (RIA) reported that 27,685 robots valued at $1.6 billion were sold in 2014, which is an increase of 28% in units sold and 19% in dollars over 2013.
Metrolina Greenhouses used robots from Harvest Automation to help space plants and help improve worker safety and overall efficiency for the company.
ABB Robotics' second generation IRC5C is an industrial robot controller that is equipped with a clean operator panel, and improved cable connections for easier access and use.
Top 5 Control Engineering articles, January 26 to February 1: Object detection, third-party DCS systems, high-performance HMIs, robotics, more
Articles about object detection, integrating third-party systems with a DCS, high-performance HMIs, open-source robotics programming, and learning PID loop tuning from an expert were Control Engineering’s five most clicked articles from last week, January 26 to February 1. Miss something? You can catch up here.
The Robotic Industries Association (RIA) announced its board of directors for 2015 along with its executive committee during the A3 Business Forum in Orlando, Fla.
The continuing growth of robotics industry in China shows no signs of slowing down. They are used mostly in industrial settings, but they will soon be deployed in the service industry, as well.
Rethink Robotics received $26.6 million in SeriesD financing led by GE Ventures and Goldman Sachs, which brings the company’s total funding to more than $100 million since the company's founding in 2008.
ROS-Industrial, a group that provides open-source robotic software, expanded its influence in 2014 through companies and developers in the United States and Europe. The Linux-based software expects to expand to Microsoft platforms in 2015 and participate in an Amazon robotic picking challenge in May.
Bad Boy Mowers is riding a surge of U.S. manufacturing innovation aided by robotic welding technology. Turnkey robotic cells have been responsible in part for keeping Bad Boy on track to double production every year. And as Bad Boy Mowers continues to grow, it can look forward to consistency because of the standardization of the robotic work cells.
Festo, a manufacturer of pneumatic and electromechanical systems, components and controls for automation, had an attention-grabbing giant dragonfly and jellyfish on display at the Pack Expo in Chicago. See the video to watch the dragonfly in flight!
The general trend worldwide in agriculture is moving toward precision agriculture and automation to meet global productivity demands. As agriculture moves closer to full automation, it remains unclear what role robots will play in the industry.
New ABB Robotics palletizers and picker robots were displayed at the Pack Expo in Chicago. Among the highlighted features are their high-capacity processing and increased speed.
Intelligrated, a North American-based material handling solutions provider, showcased new products at Pack Expo International 2014 in Chicago. On display were the Alvey 750 and 950 palletizers and the order-fulfillment service provider, the OLS Shuttle System, as well as a not-yet-available mobile robot with a conveyor on top.
Rethink Robotics' Robot Positioning System is designed to allow the Baxter collaborative robot to manage and adapt real-world environments and switch between tasks without retraining.
The Robotic Industries Association (RIA) reported that 21,235 robots valued at $1.2 billion were sold in the first nine months of 2014, which is an increase of 35% in units over the same period in 2013.
Rethink Robotics' Intera 3 is an upgrade to its software platform designed to double the performance and expand the abilities of Baxter to applications like machine tending and packing.
Automotive vision: On a Chinese automobile assembly line, two machine vision cameras take images at 15 frames per second, to identify the type of vehicle part being moved, ensure that four robotic arms will grab the part in the correct locations, and increase productivity by six times.
For a Chinese automotive assembly application, Check Automation System Company proposed using a Teledyne Dalsa Geva1000 vision system with Sherlock software, as well as Genie high-resolution 2 MB 1,600 x 1,200 pixel cameras.
Micronor's MR380/MR382 fiber optic signaling products are designed for the industrial automation, robotic and medical markets and both feature an optical sensor that connects to a DIN-rail mount Controller Module.
Training the next generation of engineers to solve the grand challenges of engineering was among topics addressed by Dave Wilson, the director of academic programs at National Instruments (NI), at the 2014 NIDays convention held at Navy Pier, Chicago, on Oct. 8. See his three tips to attract students to engineering.
Belden's LioN-R EtherNet/IP modules have added a quick connect feature, which is designed to contribute to faster overall production cycles for industrial applications where robots drive the automation process.
Service robots are revolutionizing the agricultural sector. They sow, weed, fertilize, and feed animals with increasing autonomy.
Sunnyvale-based Liquid Robotics continues growth by partnering formula by striking another collaboration, this time with Boeing.
A robot can grasp a USB plug and inserts it into a USB port after being equipped with an optical sensor.
Empire Robotics' Versaball is a gripper archetype designed to flexibly adapt to multiple automated manufacturing tasks and grip a wide range of objects without reprogramming.
Fanuc Corporation and Rockwell Automation announce global collaboration on integrated manufacturing solutions.
YuMi is a collaborative, dual arm robot by ABB with the ability to feel and see. The robot’s force-sensing technology helps ensure the safety of YuMi’s human co-workers and it can handle delicate and fragile components in mechanical objects.
Top 5 Control Engineering articles, Sept. 1-7: The first PLC, wireless propagation fundamentals, future of the PLC, more
Articles about the competition for the first PLC, wireless propagation fundamentals, the PLC’s future, automation in 2020, and the System Integrator Giants of 2014 were Control Engineering’s five most clicked articles from last week, Sept. 1-7. Were you out last week? Miss something? You can catch up here.
Google's recent acquisition of Emu Messenger is just one of many items in recent news about improvements in perception and artificial intelligence (AI).
The MH50 II-series robots by Yaskawa Motoman have a flexible design and are designed for processing large parts and the extended reach models can eliminate the need for an external track in many cell layouts.
Controls for line-based motion control can be separate or integrated with robotics, depending on technologies used, connected networks, and sophistication of those involved.
The Robotic Industries Association (RIA) reported a total of 14,135 robots, valued at $788 million, were sold in the first half of 2014 with 8,197 robots sold in the second quarter of 2014 alone. Robots save jobs, the organization said.
Inside Machines: One Echo Hill Tactic 8 machine does the work of four centerless grinding machines, while improving gauging technology and keeping equipment cleaner, with advanced automation and an inverted machine design.
New wrist-mounted device augments the human hand with two robotic fingers.
Phase-changing material could allow even low-cost robots to switch between hard and soft states.
Digital Edition Exclusive: A futurist said manufacturers could do a better job of planning, to lower risk and increase opportunities to gain competitive advantage. Proliferation of robotics, 3D printing, demographic changes, climate change, and government debt are among under-anticipated high-impact trends, suggested Richard Worzel, author of “Who Owns Tomorrow?” during his presentation at the online 2014 ABB Automation and Power World conference.
Future robots much smaller than Lincoln’s smile on a penny may locate cancer cells, enter, and deliver anti-cancer agents, or self-assemble into a structure, providing science-fiction-like advances in medicine, manufacturing, and other industries. At present, power and control remain two significant challenges, according to Dr. Igor Paprotny, assistant professor, University of Illinois at Chicago, speaking at Sensors Expo on June 25.
Robotics can be one of the beneficiaries of reliable wireless communications, according to a discussion with Rob Snyder, Rockwell Automation product manager, at RSTechED in Orlando.
Wireless robotic control: Wireless mobile devices are being used for data access, programming, and live manipulation of industrial robotics. This includes mobile apps for supervision, programming, commissioning, and operation of robots.
Articles about things noncontrol people should know about control engineers, improved supercapacitors for batteries and electric vehicles, new methods for harnessing waste heat, fixing PID, and vision-enabled robots were Control Engineering’s five most clicked articles from last week, May 26 to June 1. Were you out last week? Miss something? You can catch up here.
Wolf Robotics and Motion Controls Robotics, Inc. (MCRI) achieved recertification for the Robotic Industries Association (RIA) Certified Robot Integrator program.
The Robotic Industries Association (RIA) reported a total of 5,938 robots valued at $338 million were ordered by companies in North America in first quarter 2014, which falls a few hundred robots short of the record set in fourth quarter 2012.
Roboteq's XDC2230 smart motor controller is capable of directly driving two dc motors up to 120 A each and the controller's two channels can be operated independently or combined to set the direction and rotation of an automated guided vehicle (AGV).
Inside Machines: Robot with machine vision replaces four conventional robots in this Fitz-Thors Engineering Inc. design for a tier 1 automotive supplier. The robot operates continuously, eliminating robot idle time with conventional cells. The new robot approach also eliminates proximity sensors, making it possible to handle a wider range of parts.
The organization For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) aims to introduce kids to the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) field in an engaging way. The U.S. FIRST robotics competition, which is now underway in St. Louis, aims to facilitate the sharing of ideas among kids in the STEM field.
The JOT400 Plasma Cell by JOT Automation is a desktop robot designed for focused plasma treatment that cleans and removes tension from surfaces to achieve stable bonding.
Heidenhain's ERO 1200/1400 series of modular optical rotary encoders are bearingless and have axial motion up to ±0.02 mm and are also used on air bearing spindles, blood pumps, and servo motors in robotic applications.
Were you out last week? Miss something? Here are Control Engineering’s five most-clicked articles from last week, March 23-29, including articles about PLCs, smart field devices, MIT robotics, automation system retrofits, and IT investments.
Mechanical engineers at MIT have developed "RoboClam," which replicates a clam’s ability to burrow into soil while using very little energy.
Were you out last week? Miss something? Here are Control Engineering's five most-clicked articles from last week, March 17-23, including articles about intermittent high-voltage fault, PLC, harmonics in electrical systems, OEMs, and robotic controls.
ABB concept 14-axis robot for small parts assembly applications has two arms and is designed to work with human coworkers. Link to video.
Inside Machines: The PLCopen working group for motion control has standardized and logically defined all aspects of machine control programming, providing one of the best attempts of integrating PLC, robot, and motion control in an easy-to-understand language common among many manufacturers.
PMMI’s “Trends in Robotics Market Assessment 2014” shows dramatic increase in use of robotics.
Video: Companies may be considering moving manufacturing abroad or reshoring manufacturing to produce closer to demand. Either way, ensuring that automation and other benefits and costs are factored in is critical to getting the numbers correct. Many companies may have missed criteria in their calculations, said Harry C. Moser, founder and president, Reshoring Initiative. Moser spoke at the January A3 business meeting and the 21st Annual Robotics Industry Forum.
A new system combines simple control programs to enable fleets of robots — or other “multiagent systems” — to collaborate in unprecedented ways.
Inside Machines: Ford improved flexibility by switching from sensors to machine vision for body panel inspection, increasing reliability, and improving quality and information flow. The noncontact machine vision inspection system avoids significant maintenance required with sensor replacement, easily accommodates new models and design changes, and reduces overall inspection costs.
The 2014 manufacturing outlook is positive, according to Dr. Helmuth Ludwig, CEO, Siemens Industry Sector U.S., who discussed manufacturing trends, such as digital manufacturing and big data, and strategies for continuing challenges, such as developing engineering talent.
The Robotics Industries Association (RIA) elected Stu Shepherd, the CEO - Americas, KUKA Robot Group, as the chairperson during the Robotics Industry Forum.
Open robotic control: For facilities that already use programmable logic controllers (PLCs) for other machine control functions, integrating robotic control into a PLC may be a wiser choice than relying on the controller provided by the robot manufacturer. Here’s what to consider.
Open robotic control: As robotic controls advance in capabilities, other options have been emerging for control, including open control software that can be used with multiple vendors’ robots, programmable logic controllers (PLCs), and other non-robotic controllers.
If tools aren’t enabling more flexibility in use and expansion of robotics, then we need better tools. That’s what’s behind the ROS-Industrial effort from Southwest Research Institute (SwRI). How does setting up a factory in a day sound?
Students are gathering at kickoff parties across the globe on Jan. 4 to begin planning and building their tele-operated robots, readying them for competition season and the FIRST Championship in April.
Yaskawa Motoman's MH12 six-axis robot features a curved arm for a wider range of assembly, machine tending, and packaging applicatoons and has thru-arm cable routing to reduce snagging or interference.
The Worcester Polytechnic Institute’s humanoid robot placed seventh at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Robotics Challenge Trials in Homestead, Fla.
Robotic integration: Hardware and software advancements, such as multi-core processors and industrial Ethernet fieldbus technology, are enabling engineers to integrate cost-effective robotic solutions with motion control, communications, and human-machine interfaces.
Cover story: Integrated systems, efficiency, motion profiles: Automated guided vehicles integrate power, without batteries; Variable frequency drive configuration, high-efficiency operation, and permanent magnet motors; and motion based profiles, libraries ease integration.
The Festo DHEB series bellows grippers are designed to provide a safe and gentle means of handling fragile work pieces for electronic and light assembly applications.
Application Update: An automated guided vehicle (AGV) can be built with as little as two components: a magnetic guide sensor and a dual-channel motor controller.
Automation Integrator Guide: Two system integrator company certification programs, the Robotic Industries Association’s Certified Robot Integrator program and the AIA’s Certified System Integrator program, are helping to advance quality in automation system integration.
Fanuc has consolidated all of their operations into one company that will be based out of Rochester Hills, Michigan.
When determining the best standards, protocols, and solutions for motion applications, including robotics, it’s best to look at motion profiles.
Universal Robots' UR5 robot arm has been chosen as the first non-human to ever ring the NASDAQ closing bell to mark the launch of the ROBO-STOC Global Robotics and Automation Index.
Kinetiq Teaching by Robotiq and Yaskawa Motoman simplies teaching and set-up times by allowing the user to guide the robot by hand to desired welding positions.
Codian Robotics' D4 HD Hygienic Robots are designed for pick-and-place operations and and are IP69K rated.
Beyond next-generation computer numerical controls (CNC), there may be virtual reality for CNC programming, advanced CNC intelligence, and advanced automation and programming for additive manufacturing and robotic assembly of microstructures. Each article has more information and images online.
Beckhoff Automation highlights “The Power of One for the Packaging Industry” at Pack Expo 2013, showing the value in integrating high-performance PLC, motion control, and robotics capabilities with the Beckhoff PC- and EtherCAT-based control platform, TwinCAT software. A hand-sized Beckhoff embedded PC operated a high-speed SCARA robot and a multi-touch monitor simultaneously. (See photos.)
Universal Robots expects to debut flexible, lightweight robot arms at Pack Expo. The Universal Robots handle packaging and palletizing in any company searching for user-friendly, affordable automation solutions. At Pack Expo, the Danish robot manufacturer will showcase how the robot arms use advanced force control to handle even the most fragile and delicate items.
IMS Research reports that agricultural machinery and industrial robotics are two of the fastest growing businesses in China and are expected to remain that way because of constant demand and rising product price. See two charts.
Dassault Systèmes announces SolidWorks 2014 enhancements including improvements in shape control, sketch enhancement, visualization control, sheet metal, features, simulation, and electrical project features. Rethink Robotics uses SolidWorks for development of content, design of parts for manufacturability, and to conduct design reviews, simulations, and stress analysis studies.
For modular conventional, robotic, or hybrid motion control applications, ensure that systems can scale with an operation, handle evolving packaging styles, and be redeployed to alternate production lines for maximum flexibility and return on investment.
MIT researchers invent a new approach to assembling big structures — even airplanes and bridges — out of small interlocking composite components. A robotic system for assembly is under development.
Yaskawa Motoman's STEM Robotics Platform is designed for education and workforce development and educators can build a package that best fits their course and classroom layouts.
The RoboCourier by Adept Technology is designed to deliver payloads of 50 lb for hospitals and health care facilities safely, increasing workplace efficiency.
The 8 kg model of ABB Robotics' IRB 360 FlexPicker line handles up to 100 cycles per minute and has improved motion tuning as well as handle higher payloads.
The Robotics Industries Association (RIA) reported an increase in robotic company sales for the first half of 2013 thanks to strong sales in several non-automotive industries.
Amber Precision Instruments augments speed and quality with 6-axis robot to replace a slow, inaccurate gantry motion subsystem. Setup time fell from 1 week to 1 day.
Intuitive, easy-to-deploy, simulation and programming software can minimize robot downtime and increase throughput, especially for small- and medium-sized manufacturers, according to Siemens PLM Software.
ImagingLab Robotics Library for Visual Components is a free interface for Visual Components 3DCreate, which is third-party NI LabVIEW software for simulating industrial robots, conveyors, sensors, and other manufacturing tools.
The 25th National Robot Safety Conference, which will be held from October 14-16, 2013 in Indianapolis, will focus on the first update to the American National Safety Standard since 1999.
Inside Machines: Feedback from machine vision adjusts robotic movement and enhances manufacturing quality. Vision-guided robots have greater position accuracy, providing closed-loop control.
ABB Robotics Technology Days highlight broad range of automation technologies.
Brad mPm DIN valve connectors by Molex are designed with IP67 sealing properties and strong cable retention for hydraulic, pneumatic, and electromagnetic devices.
Control Engineering International: Robotics and other automation are seen as competitive opportunities as labor costs increase in China, according to Control Engineering China.
Mitusbishi Electric has launched a website designed to highlight the various industries it works in including automation, robotics, and HVAC.
The American National Standards Institute has approved ANSI/RIA R15.06-2012, which addresses collaborative operation between workers and robots and soft axis and space limiting technology.
The MLX100 Robot Gateway by Yaskawa Motoman offers a PLC and robot integration that programs through the same PLC ladder logic code used for machines and conveyors.
Application Update: Multinational maker of secondary packaging systems, Cama Group, standardizes robotics on a unified platform to deliver simplified, high-speed automation software and hardware including a programmable automation controller (PAC), I/O modules, motors, servo drives, ac drives, and operator interfaces.
The Robotic Industries Association reports a record high for robotic sales and orders in first-quarter 2013 thanks to increased orders in automotive and OEM suppliers as well as non-automotive companies.
Visual servo control: Vision used for robotic or machine guidance also can be used for in-line part inspection to enhance product quality with traditional feedback systems. See photos, video.
The TiM310 field detection laser scanner from Sick is designed for anti-collision and presence detection and has a 270° scanning range for field detection applications.
The Ensenso N10 stereo 3D camera by IDS is designed for vision applications that require 3D imaging and for safety inspections.
To prepare for the next five years of growth technology, companies should borrow and invest to become more competitive. See video summary, with more advice included below.
F-series industrial robots from Mitsubishi Electric Automation Inc. are designed for extremely dexterous, complex operations, including coordinated motion and automatic collision avoidance.
Think Again: Automation design, economic, and career survival tips were among useful advice heard recently.
The RIA Board of Directors for the 2013-2014 term were announced during the Robotics Industry Forum.
Swapping of roles improves efficiency as well as robots’ confidence and humans’ trust. This development will be vital as humans and robots work more and more together on a day-to-day basis.
CNC solutions are finding life beyond a “me too” status. Standardized at the core, CNC approaches differentiate with highly customizable add-ons. Consolidation of controls can help.
ABB Robotics' RoboScreen function packages include Autodesk Maya-based plug-ins and an optional mixing board to accurately synchronize a robot's movements with the motion program software.
A total of 22,598 robots, valued at $1.48 billion were sold to companies in North America in 2012, beating the previous record of 19,337 robots sold in 2011, Robotic Industries Association said.
Think Again: Smart applications of automation and robotics save and create jobs. Proposed Institutes for Manufacturing Innovation could advance manufacturing more quickly.
Video: Multiple robots can be operated within one open-source programming environment, explains Shaun M. Edwards, senior research engineer, robotics and automation engineering section, Southwest Research Institute.
A robot for unskilled tasks that every plant has.
The TCP-3D by Leoni is designed for all robots and uses an in-line system sensor to precisely detect a tool's position without the need for reorientation or recalibration.
The production of industrial robots in Asia Pacific (excluding Japan) is forecast to grow at a compound average growth rate of 9.6 percent, more than any other region in the world.
Precision gearbox shipments, which accounted for more than 95% of the precision geared products market in 2012, increased by more than 70% from 2009 levels due to pent-up demand for servo-driven machinery and increased access to capital.
Baxter by Rethink Robotics is a robot that can perform repetitive production tasks on the work floor and can adapt to its situation by sensing the environment around it.
The QD77MS by Mitsubishi Electric is compatible with multiple controllers and drives and can simplify programming complex motion profiles to reduce engineering costs.
Motion Control: Even with minimal motion programming experience, engineers can program complex motion profiles with Mitsubishi Electric Automation's QD77MS Simple Module for use with their iQ PAC platform. This is a Control Engineering 2013 Engineers' Choice Award winner.
Machine and Embedded Control - Machine vision, barcode readers: The In-Sight 7000 series is a series of vision systems designed for industrial inspection, location, defect detection, guidance, alignment and measurement applications, which feature powerful vision tools, all in a compact, industrial IP67 package. This is a Control Engineering 2013 Engineers' Choice Award winner.
Software - Control design: Next generation PC-based control software that integrates standard IEC 61131-3 programming languages, C/C++, Visual Studio, Matlab/Simulink technologies and more. This is a Control Engineering 2013 Engineers' Choice finalist.
Electrical Engineer, Huffman Engineering Inc. - BS Electrical Engineering, Missouri University of Science and Technology
NASA and the Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) have opened registration for the competition, which will be held at Worcester, Mass., in June 2013.
Research teams from Georgia Tech and the Georgia Tech Research Institute are looking to enhance a human's ability to perform precise tasks while controlling a robot. The technique, Uncalibrated Visual Servoing, is designed to be faster and more precise than previous methods.
Tips and Tricks: 4 practical tips can prevent overly complicated designs and help streamline sourcing and commissioning of handling systems.
New tooling system by RMT Robotics is capable of layer picking 95% of all consumer goods case configurations.
Case study: New labeling robot installation at paper mill completed in 12 hours. Kuka Robotics and Optima Control Solution deliver maximum reliability for an automation system integration project.
RMT Robotics sold a tire palletizing system to its Korean partner, Hanwha TechM. Installation is scheduled for first-quarter 2013.
The Adept ClamPAC by Adept Technology is a packing automation cell is a standardized modular system designed to reduce the cost of ownership that comes with grippers and graspers for a specific range of products.
Integrated programming environment takes care of drives, movement and path control, visualization, and I/O handling, along with single-axis positioning, linked-axis movements, CNC, and robotics for faster design and start-up of motion system applications.
New algorithms allow an autonomous robotic plane to dodge obstacles in a subterranean parking garage, without the use of GPS.
Integrate Ethernet-based machine vision and image-based ID readers into factory networks for more direct communications and less expense. See photos, examples.
The RIA R15.06 robotic safety standard committee decided to adopt the ISO robot standards as the new ANSI/ RIA R15.06 standard without additional North American materials. Supplements are planned to provide guidance in the U.S. and Canada. New elements include collaborative robot systems, and new terms.
According to Wanted Analytics, demand for workers with robotics skills has grown 29% over 2011, but there remains a lack of workers with the needed skill sets.
RIA announces Ellison Technologies Automation, Intelligrated Systems Inc., and Progressive Machine & Design will receive the new Certified Robot Integrator designation
Back to Basics: Knowing why, where, and when to apply pneumatic actuation improves performance and efficiencies and lowers cost
The IRB 120T by ABB Robotics is designed to have faster cycle speed than the IRB 120 and is designed for pick and place applications that require extensive reorientation.
Product Exclusive: Festo’s new VTUG Pneumatic Valve Terminal delivers high-performance in a compact, low-cost unit, with many control options for machine builders and end users seeking greater flexibility.
Ashutosh Saxena, assistant professor of computer science at Cornell University, has been named one of seven Microsoft Research Faculty Fellows for 2012. He hopes to use the fellowship to develop robots that can perform mundane household tasks and learn from past experiences.
Software modeling is important for robotics. Clearpath Robotics uses Maplesoft’s MapleSim, an intuitive multidomain modeling and simulation environment including mechanical, electrical, hydraulic, thermal, and signal-flow systems.
New algorithms could enable heaps of ‘smart sand’ that can assume any shape, allowing spontaneous formation of new tools or duplication of broken mechanical parts. This may help with rapid prototyping, and, eventually, lead to machining where the parts are the machine tools and the resulting products.
Heidehain EBI 1135 absolute inductive rotary encoder can provide feedback for position and speed control of servo drives.
Machine Safety: ISO 13849-1 compliance is mandatory for robot applications, ANSI/RIA/ISO 10218-1&2: 2011
Are you aware that our consensus standard for robots (RIA 15.06) has changed and now calls out normative compliance requirements to ISO 13849-1: 2006? How many machine safety domestic standards have made this transition? Does anybody know? (See related link added June 4.)
ABB Robotics' ISO 5 (Class 100) Cleanroom version of the IRB 120 robot is a multipurpose 6-axis robot designed as a more compact solution to the existing model of the IRB 120 that has already been released.
Motoman Robotics Division joins with the Southwest Resesarch Institute (SwRI) in leveraging robot operating systems' framework to enhance research in industrial applications, using a common architecture.
Engineering at 30 Frames: Over the course of 2011, robots have stepped out of assembly lines to fill roles not commonly attributed to androids: flying, bowling, and now… dancing?
The ABB Robotics IRC5 panel-mounted controller's (PMC) functional has been extended for robot model from IRB 2400 to the IRB 7600.
Control Engineering Europe’s Suzanne Gill reports on a European Commission co-funded project that is testing the idea that industrial robot technology could provide a good base for machining, being both flexible and cost-efficient. Researchers are engineering robots to perform CNC operations.
Lenze Americas plans to open a 100,000 square foot facility in Glendale Heights, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, for manufacturing operations for Lenze gearboxes, motors, and geared motors, more than doubling Lenze’s North American electro-mechanical manufacturing capacity.
The 2011 ABB Technology Days in Auburn Hills, Mich., demonstrated new robotic-related technologies and ideas for system integrators and end-users. More that 40 robots helped teach more than 1000 people.
Faculty members at the University of Arizona received a $3 million grant for the next five years to expand research on a self-teaching robot.
While the action of throwing a bowling ball may appear very straightforward, developing a high level of control is very nuanced and can require years of practice.
Intelligrated demonstrates Alvey Robotics operating on industry-standard PLC controls for improved line integration.
B&R Industrial Automation offers the Acoposinverter P84 with an integrated Powerlink interface from 0.37 to 500 kW; Ethernet Powerlink is widely used for hard-real-time motion applications; B&R's new Powerlink X67 bus controller with IP67 protection; and thermoformer machine uses one industrial touchscreen PC as an HMI and for machine control, were among Pack Expo Las Vegas 2011 announcements.
Dunwoody College of Technology students made an autonomous snowplow for an Institute of Navigation engineering competition, installing a control system for steering/propulsion and creating a feedback system using sensors and optical encoders. System integration challenges included PLC parameters and motor integration. See photos, diagram.
ABB Robotics' package includes the IRB 120, the company's smallest robot, the IRC5 Compact Controller, and 50 licenses for RobotStudio.
Beckhoff Automation’s TwinCAT Robotic Control platform allows motion control and PLC functions on one PC platform. Video: Dr. Josef Papenfort explains the concept of TwinCAT, its initial development, plus some recent improvements.
IMS Research reports that Foxconn's intentions to increase industrial robots in Chinese factories up to 1 million by 2013 is expected to provide an immediate boost for manufacturers in industrial automation.
Sick's DDS36 and DDS50 incremental encoders have compact design and IP65 enclosure rating. The DDS36 has a 36 mm housing and the DDS50 has a 50 mm housing.
PakTech uses PC-based control and robotics for affordable performance, 99% efficiency, and 20% cabinet space savings to get a better handle on multicontainer packaging. See photo gallery.
Cornell University researchers, using a 3D camera, have taught a robot how to put down simple household objects accurately in office and home scenes.
Assembly and Automation Technology Expo (AATE) will be at McCormick Place in Chicago, Illinois, Sept. 20-22, 2011, with seven other design and manufacturing related shows: AeroCon; Design & Manufacturing Midwest; Green Manufacturing Expo; Medical Design and Manufacturing; MidPack; PlastTec Midwest; and Quality Expo.
Motoman Robotics offers an adaptive gripper from Robotiq with three articulated fingers and four operation modes, for robotic machine tending, fixture load/unload, high-mix part handling and kitting, and other industrial applications.
Heidenhain increased Profibus rotary encoders' functionality, supporting a profile used for robot control and production technology.
How a robust industrial Ethernet network can include machines and robots, while providing high performance, uptime, and enterprise-wide connectivity. Link to table of Ethernet protocols, more advice.
RMT Robotics' new gantry-based case and layer picking system for the beverage industry will be introduced at the 2011 National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA) in Las Vegas. See example diagram and caption.
Omega Engineering new inductive proximity sensors are designed with a range of up to 20 mm and can withstand shock, vibration and environmental resistance, the company said.
Weldon's July open house in Pennsylvania celebrated its 10-year partnership between the system integrator and Fanuc robotics. Live, interactive demonstrations showed how new technologies streamline automation integration for high-speed picking, machine tool load/unload, automated CNC grinding and material removal.
New software designed by ABB Robotics simplifies programming and reduces installation costs, as shown in a palletizing demonstration.
Deformation analysis optimized use of suction cups under combined load for robotic product handling with vacuum gripping heads.
ABB Robotics offers an industrial robot designed for small and medium size metal fab and welding shops, in a quick-start package.
Industry veteran Charles F. Geraldi is chosen to head Amtech Drives' North American division.
Most visited articles at www.controleng.com during June 2011 included robotics, HMI optimization, interactive plant performance, energy efficiency, Ethernet protocols, award-winning products, among other articles.
Concept Systems resolves coffee roaster infeed problems, doubles throughput with new robotic controls, 3D vision, and application-specific effectors.
President Obama announces investments in robotics to create jobs, improve U.S. competitiveness.
Wiki page is under development as a reference and guide to help people understand the evolution of PackML and how best to apply the latest concepts.
Ask these questions as a starting point when considering a detection, inspection, or measurement solution using sensors, a smart camera, or a more sophisticated machine vision system. See checklist.
Recent Control Engineering feature articles include: Control Loop Monitors Help Optimize Controller Performance, Choosing the Right Motion Control Architecture, Changing Face of Robotics, Optimizing your HMI, and How to Select a Motion Control Network. Click here to connect to each and to other most-read postings.
Mechatronics and symbolic model formulation techniques are driving innovation in the robotics field, from humanoid robots to autonomous cars, and beyond. See photos.
B and R controllers can now operate robots from Stäubli with Powerlink interface, an Ethernet protocol, that allows generic motion control programs.
Sick A3M encoder with integrated Profibus output is a rugged, absolute multiturn encoder with 31-bit output (14-bit single turn and 17-bit multi-turn), where the absolute positions are native to the encoder, without an internal power source.
Did you feel that something was happening, that there was a shift in robotics people toward St. Louis, MO, this week? I sure did. Here are links and information to the FIRST Robotics World Championship, along with connections to prior coverage.
Festo debuted products, presented growth at the 2011 Hannover Fair, including robotics pneumatic valves, motion control, and software to help automation design.
In adoption of technology, machine vision standard plays increasingly important role experts say.
FIRST Robotics Team 1717 started out like many robotics teams: without the proper facilities in which to work on their FIRST Robotics Competition robots; what they did differently than most teams was that they raised the money to build their dream workshop.
Research helps robots function more in tune with human coworkers by picking up on nonverbal cues: Georgia Institute of Technology. Smarter software and machine vision could make industrial robots safer and more efficient.
Consider accuracy, position or velocity control, speed stability, power loss, and bandwidth, and other attributes when selecting a rotary encoder or encoder technology.
FIRST Robotics Team 3767 gets a life lesson applicable for any project: Work as a team or die, derived from a 10-minute motivational explanation from guest speaker U.S. Army Sgt. Nathan Weemhoff.
FIRST Robotics Completion teams all across the USA (including FIRST Robotics Team 3767, which I am mentoring) are at week 4; 2 weeks are left of the FIRST Robotics Competition build session. Here’s what we built and how we did today in robotics class and after school.
IBM’s DeepQA project’s computer, Watson, will compete on the Jeopardy! game show on Feb. 14-16, against two human champions, testing a computer system’s ability to answer natural language questions. In addition to raising interest in engineering education, advances in artificial intelligence and natural language programming will continue to improve industrial computers, human-machine interfaces, robotics, and automated guided vehicles.
Nexen’s RLSS Series Rod Locks is reliable holding forces up to 5,000 lb with low backlash.
Integration of automation, robotics, machine vision demos featured at Automate 2011 in Chicago, March 21-24, 2011.
FIRST Robotics district competition, Logo Motion, will be at Central High with 40 teams, March 4 and 5, in a competition designed to inspire young people to choose careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM).
The IRC5 Compact controller is now available on six models, including four 6-axis robots for arc welding, material handling and assembly applications.
RMT Robotics implement audio playback to make working with ADAM robotics safer, informative.
Do you need a PLC, PAC, or IPC for your next control application? Will programmable logic controllers (PLCs) evolve into programmable automation controllers (PACs) or industrial PCs (IPCs)? Whatever the name, get the best features and software for your control applications.
Here's what counts in the FIRST Robotics 2011 event and scoring. See also a list of 28 award categories. Link to other posts giving an inside view of FIRST Robotics Team 3767.
Four product suppliers have joined Rockwell Automation’s Encompass third-party product referencing program which offers customers access to complementary products to help best solve application challenges.
ABB’s PLC mounted inside controller cabinet door offers cost, space savings, ease of use, powerful performance for robotic production cells.
A Control Engineering blogger working on automated vehicles test drives National Instruments LabVIEW Robotics and learns a few new things about automation and control hardware and software for robotics. Learn the new tricks this "old dog" learned.
ABB IRB 2600, 12 to 20 kg payload class, expands ABB Robotic's midrange robot portfolio, in a family of fourth-generation robots, to increase productivity in arc welding, material hndling, machine tending, and other manufacturing processes.
Here are some questions from a reader, Sara Torres, about automated guided vehicles (AGVs) and my answers; do you agree? Alyssa Hartman is the 4-H Robot Club president; she's majoring in...
Motion Control - robotics: Kairos Autonomi Inc., Pronto4 Agnostic Autonomy System Series 4. The Pronto Agnostic Autonomy System is a robotics applique hardware kit that converts existing automobiles and other ground vehicles into robotic systems. This is a Control Engineering 2011 Engineers' Choice (EC) Honorable Mention.
Including ABB System Integrator partner exhibits, more than 20 ABB robots and robot systems are expected at Pack Expo 2010.
Beckhoff Automation TwinCAT Kinematic Transformation software extends TwinCAT's standard machine sequencing and motion control capability to Delta- and SCARA-type robot mechanisms.
RoboCup 2010 robotic soccer tournament was held in conjunction with the 14th annual RoboCup International Symposium. See videos. Scope included robotics and artificial intelligence. Companies involved included 3M, Cisco, Festo, and National Instruments.
An engine plant discovers how easy it is to recycle and repurpose existing robots when manufacturing demands change. See table, photo.
Military Vehicle Exhibition, Aug. 11-12 in Detroit, MI, look at ways to apply industrial robotic technology to automate military supply chain, logistics and field operations.
Realizing the cost of energy on the front lines, the U.S. Department of Defense is now making energy efficiency a priority for combat systems, including robotics, says Control Engineering blogger, Paul F. Grayson, in an Aug. 6 post. Also see how a robot nearly missed its parade float.
Rexroth MLC motion logic controller with Version 10 firmware is based on a powerful one-gigahertz PAC controls platform that provides high-performance motion logic and robotics capabilities.
Back to Basics: Linear crossed bearings can deliver more precise motion control than spherical bearings, along with higher loads and greater rigidity.
Cognex VisionPro Surface is said to combine a revolutionary new visual defect detection and classification technology with a simple user interface to enable accurate defect detection, classification, and surface texture assessment during manufacturing processes.
Robot maker Motoman, 3D software provider Dassault Systemes offer digital manufacturing software to colleges
Colleges and universities in North America may see more Delmia Digital Manufacturing simulation software after a partnership between Motoman Inc., an industrial robot maker, and Dassault Systemes Inc., 3D and PLM software provider.
Industrial robots from ABB Robotics dance with Bon Jovi for at least 60 concerts on "The Circle Tour," which opened Feb. 19 in Seattle, WA. Five Robotic Arts RoboScreens are part of the show.
By combining a new articulated robot and linear gantry, ABB Robotics says it provides significant performance advantages and cost savings to a variety of applications, including machine tending, material handling, and assembly.
Miniature, insectlike robots might have more dexterity than previously thought and scavenge energy from surroundings, says a Purdue University researcher.
FPGA design tools are increasingly available, allowing embedded control system designers to more quickly create and adapt FPGA hardware.
ABB Robotics has introduced its smallest ever multipurpose robot, the IRB 120. The new six-axis robot has all the functionality and advanced design features of ABB's larger robots in an economical, lightweight model.
System design incorporating sensor technology can make in-process and inspection systems faster. Experts in printing/converting, tire/rubber inspection, robotic palletizing, and more provide engineering advice.
Users in Europe, Middle East and Asia (EMEA) continue to be the leading consumer of industrial drives, but Asia Pacific users seem the most interested in obtaining the power and energy savings associated with VFD use.
System integrator program fosters key partnerships to deliver cost-effective solutions using Omron controls, company says.
As NASA celebrates the 40th anniversary of the first moon launch and landing with videos, audio podcasts, photos, articles, and history on the Apollo mission page, Control Engineering looks at current and future robotic, instrumentation and automation technologies applied to lunar exploration. Links, images follow.
A pre-engineered six-axis robotic system for blow-molded bottle handling improves operator safety and manufacturing efficiency.
Evolut, an integrator of automated robotic production systems, has installed more than 1,100 robotic systems—many of which employ machine vision to find and identify parts.
Control Engineering Automation Integrator Guide includes information from 1,878 system integrators, 62% of which count programmable logic controllers among their engineering specialties. Human-machine interfaces were next, followed by automation and control engineering, rounding out the top three.
Controlling the motion of a robotic system often requires knowledge of the relationships between the end effector orientation (often referred to as tool tip or commanded reference frame or commanded coordinate system) and the orientation of the physically controlled actuators or motors that ultimately manipulate the end effector (also commonly referred to as the controlled reference frame or co...
Bright spots of robotic sales could make free development software even more useful.
Patch broken or damaged nerves and re-establish the brain-muscle-sensory control loop. Detect cancer as it forms. Create a robotic exoskeleton that helps a paraplegic walk. Create a computer with human thought capabilities. Wipe out illiteracy. Predict the future. Wirelessly power and share resources among electronic devices, including artificial hearts. Are you sharing engineering inspiration? Post your comments.
ODVA and TÜV Rheinland collaborate on conformance testing in Japan; white paper offers help on IEEE 1588 time-based network control; ODVA CIP networks conference convenes.
Tutorial: When it comes to extreme high-accuracy motion control, such as marking the fiducials on precise linear encoders used to make integrated circuits with critical dimensions at the few tens of nanometers level, temperature variations are often considered the most serious issue. These encoders have to be made with picometer precision.
DrivesAF-6 Series Drives General Electric AF-6 Series Drives are used to reduce overall energy costs and accurately control motor speed. GE introduced the new series for applications up to 1,350 hp with many features already built-in, like PLC controllers and RFI filters, while still lowering total cost. The user interface can shorten set-up to minutes with full text features to make programming easier.
Despite current economic challenges, packagers increasingly rely on automation to stay competitive, according to a three-part research series of research, articles, a related blog and a Webcast from Control Engineering and its sister publication, Packaging Digest. Discussions continue online with a Packaging Automation Webcast available for viewing as of Dec. 16.
Automation system integrators are a diverse lot, but they can generally be described as engineering contractors that design and implement computerized control systems for their clients’ industrial machinery, manufacturing lines, and automated production facilities. Examples include control, robotic, and test system integrators as well as automated machine builders and some multi-discipline...
Purdue University engineering students designed an exoskeleton to help dogs with hip dysplasia. Other mechanical engineering projects include...
2008 machine vision research results and advice from survey takers follows, along with links to 16 machine vision products and the machine vision online resource guide.
Industrial machine vision Product Research - Machine vision continues to play a major role in automation and control as products offer better, more reliable performance, ease of use, and state-of-the-art features such as smart vision sensors. Investment in well-designed, carefully-planned systems remains strong, and the future points to increasing application of—and spending for—this important and growing technology.
Flexible automation shines brightly for solar-cell manufacturers.
An innovative robotic packaging line has replaced manual picking and packing for Italian traditional handmade confectionery company Zaini to produce a vast range of chocolates, confectionery, sugar-free sweets, and seasonal items (such as Christmas confectionery, Valentine hearts and Easter eggs). The biggest challenge for ABB Robotics, PRB Packaging Systems, and Zaini was to...
Braintech releases library of vision-guidance program modules.
U.S. military increasingly uses unmanned autonomous vehicles to explore buildings, defuse bombs, and more. NASA uses robotic mobile vehicles to take soil samples and send us photos from Mars and elsewhere in our solar system. They require a careful balance of power, performance, weight, and size; commanding and controlling these robots hinges on.... (See five photos and related links.)
Controllers can be studied in ISA’s fourth edition of its popular book; they can be viewed this week at the STEP numerical control demo in East Hartford, CT; and will be discussed in a series of presentations at ISA Expo on Oct. 16.
Mitsubishi Electric Automation previews its new iQ Automation platform (available January 2009) at PackExpo and International Manufacturing Technology Show. OEMs and end users asked for….
Multi-media learning opportunities include tutorials on fluid power, robotics for plastics manufacturing, and a youtube.com teaser for a Siemens IMTS release targeting higher machine tool efficiency. Link to podcasts, Webcasts, and video offerings.
What would you do with 100 or a few thousand or 10,000 small robots that operate more or less autonomously, exchange information, and decide what’s best to do next based on information passed to them by their neighbors? An 11-year I know mostly listed chores that he found mundane and didn’t want to do himself. This is the August 2008 Control Engineering "Think Again" editorial.
Videos from various sources can provide instruction for machine builders and system integrators. Links are provided to the following ...
More than half of the system integrators in the 2008 Automation Integrator guide say they have expertise with three engineering specialties….
Machine vision is generally better than human vision in inspection and control tasks that are fast, precise, and repetitive. To be effective, a machine vision system also needs to control “hands” to move parts into its field of view, to sort parts, change process settings, or guide assembly.
At the 2008 FIRST Robotics Competition in Atlanta’s Georgia Dome, mental agility was on display, as future scientists, engineers, mathematicians, and software programmers competed for....
Adept Technology announced that its automation software, robotics and system products have been selected by SLS Solar Line Saxony as standard products for their automation equipment for solar cell production. SLS was established as a joint venture between Roth & Rau AG and USK Karl Utz Sondermaschinen to accelerate the production of standard technology products for the solar-cell maker.
Generic motion control combines the worlds of robotics, CNC, linked axis movements and single axis positioning.
Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) offers information on lean, rapid prototyping, advance robotics, leadership, and composites manufacturing.
Milk production increases, cows seem happier with robotic milking, a new method of farm management. Advanced sensor techniques and an integrated farm management program provide state-of-the-art tools for a highly efficient milking process and milk quality control.
Adept Technology Inc. received a $5 million order for Adept Quattro robots from a major European machine builder. More than 100 Adept Quattro s650 robots will be deployed globally over 12 months for a proprietary high-speed, vision-guided handling application. The model was selected in part for its 1.3 meter work envelope, high-speed vision-guided performance, and conveyor tracking intelligence—enabling higher yields and expanded capacity while encompassing minimal floor space, Adept says.
Las Vegas, NV—Yaskawa Electric America released MotionWorks IEC Mechatronic Control System, compatible with the IEC 61131-3 and PLCopen control programming standards. International standards are important for OEM customers, says Yaskawa. Standards improve communication compatibility for system integrators working in multi-vendor environments and make complex control systems more accessible for maintenance technicians who have to keep them running and operators who have to use them.
Schneider Robotic Case Packer Palletizer With Schneider Packaging Equipment’s Robotic Case Packer Palletizer, cases are automatically erected, then loaded with product coded and palletized all utilizing one robotic arm. Operators stack case blanks and supply the labeler from outside the guarding enclosure. Visit www.schneiderequip.com to learn more about their complete End-of-Line packaging solutions.
Orlando, FL–At the company’s annual user conference here during the week of June 25, Freescale Semiconductor introduced an all-in-one platform for industrial markets featuring Power Architecture technology and delivered in the COM Express form factor.
Trends and technologies in material handling were among the topics under discussion at ProMat 2007, Jan. 8-11, at McCormick Place, Chicago. Motors, drives, and motion control-related technologies—including proximity sensors, robotics, and conveyors—were among prime movers. The Material Handling Industry of America (MHIA) organized the show, which had a conference, exhibits, and tech...
Protecting investments in power electronics, instrumentation, and control components with enclosures is a huge concern across many industries, according to original Control Engineering research. The "Product Research Enclosures" article, in the February print issue, includes information about features and trends, along with products from Hoffman, Rittal, Hammond, and Bud Industries. (To read it, go to and look under 2007, February, "Product Research Enclosures." The article should be posted by mid-month.) Two additional graphics and summaries of 14 additional enclosures products and companies follow. Leading applications for enclosure use, survey respondents, said, were SCADA (48%); machine control and CNC equipment (40%); and motion control and robotics (38%); see related graphic.
Program the Sick CQ28 proximity sensor with a pushbutton or a control wire teach-in function. Chicago —Trends and technologies in material handling are among the topics under discussion this week at ProMat 2007 , Jan. 8-11, at McCormick Place.
Ann Arbor, MI —A new trade association launched recently intends to serve the interests of motors, drives, and controls companies. The Motion Control Association (MCA) says it will promote the use of mechanical and electronic (mechatronics) motion control technology, which the group says currently accounts for more than $44 billion in annual sales. 'The numerous leading companies assisting with the formation of this new motion control organization envision MCA promoting the use and understanding of motion control technology by becoming a leading resource, and by providing a strong coordinated voice in the motion technology field,' said association president John Mazurkiewicz, product marketing manager for Baldor Electric. The association said it plans to develop and coordinate industry standards, provide educational programs, host an executive-level business conference, and become the leading resource for motion control technology. The group launched a global Web resource— www.motioncontrolonline.org —last month.
CMS Cartesian motion system from Bosch Rexroth now includes IndraMotion for Handling, said to make it easier to specify, install, and control Cartesian robotics systems.
FIRST Lego league inspires young people to pursue careers in science and technology. Manchester, NH —Volunteers are recognized as an integral and vital part of the way in which young people connect to the real world, and volunteering to promote science can be particularly rewarding. Volunteers are being sought as FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) launches its biggest-ever FIRST Lego League (FLL) season with the unveiling of the 2006 Nano Quest Challenge. FLL is an international program for 9- to 14-year-old children created in a partnership between FIRST and The Lego Group in 1998.
Roboguide from Fanuc Robotics America Inc. helps engineers develop and test a complete robotic application in a simulation environment without needing to develop a prototype work cell. Chicago, IL and Rochester Hills, MI— Roboguide technology for off-line robot simulation software from Fanuc Robotics America Inc .
Kuka KR5 Scara robot family from Kuka Robotics Corp. is intended for high speed applications that entail long-reach tasks.
Seeker series R-500 robot is designed for repeated use in reconnaissance and surveillance to identify and destroy improvised explosive devices (IED) and other threats. The robot is part of the next generation of the seeker series from the technical solutions group (TSG) of Advanced Mechanical Technology Inc.
Cyclical downturn in robot sales to the North American automotive industry helped reduce first-half 2006 new orders received by North American-based robotics companies by 38%, according to the Robotic Industries Association. RIA also estimates that some 162,000 robots are installed in U.S. factories, placing the U.
EA-developed SCARA robot trims extraneous material from manufactured parts. Astronomers tell us that during the first few nanoseconds, the universe expanded at a fantastically rapid rate—an episode they call “inflation.” System integrator Eclipse Automation (EA) reports experiencing its own inflation event. In a little less than four years, this custom-automation business has expanded from four owners working from the proverbial garage-sized shop to 95 employees building state-of-the-art manufacturing systems in 30,000 square feet spanning two buildings, with another expansion up to 60,000 sq ft scheduled by the end of September 2006. Exceptional service is key to the company’s phenomenal growth, according to Bob King, marketing and sales engineer at EA.
Recent news from the Robotic Industries Association (RIA) should be welcome in the manufacturing sector. North American robotics companies posted record new orders in 2005, surpassing the previous high of 1999, according to RIA’s report “T he Robotics Market: Year 2005 Results and Trends. ” Some 18,228 robot units valued at $1.16 billion were ordered by North American manufacturing companies—an increase of 23% in units and 17% in dollars over 2004.
There's a lot of technology to "update" at a confluence of 10 thematically integrated trade shows in one location, as will be the case at Hannover Industrial Fair in Germany, April 24-28, 2006. Visitors will be afforded a wide sweep of state-of the-art technology at this event, billed as "the world's leading trade fair for industrial and automation technology"—as well as the ability to co...
Quick set-up gauges from Control Gaging are mounted on a Fanuc M 710i B robot from Fanuc Robotics America Inc . Ann Arbor, MI —New concept for production gauging in lean manufacturing environments integrates precision gauges into part transport automation to provide automatic measurement of part size during the part load/unload cycle. Quick set-up gauges from Control Gaging can now be mounted on gantry and robot end-effectors to enable measurement of a part while in the grip of automation devices.
EPX-GX single board computer (SBC) from WinSystems targets machine-to-machine applications (M2M) that require a processor, wide variety of I/O, and connectivity. Boston, Massachusetts —EPX-GX single board computer (SBC) from WinSystems targets machine-to-machine applications (M2M) that require a processor, wide variety of I/O points, and connectivity. Introduced last week at the 2005 Embedded Systems Conference in Boston, the new SBC supports 11 on-board I/O functions with even more I/O expansion options via PC/104 modules.
Advances in sensor technology have been a driving force in factory automation, most would agree. Interfacing the real world and analog/digital input to control processes has never been more applicable to a wider range of automation functions than it is today. Automating discrete manufacturing applications has, arguably, lagged behind process industries.
Depth and diversity of applications show machine vision's strength beyond its dominant use for inspection. Also, overall purchases are expanding. About 35% of respondents expect machine vision purchases to increase over the next year, with about 54% expecting about the same amount spending, according to research by Control Engineering/Reed Research Group.
Braintech reported new orders for vision-guided robotics software through its ABB alliance: ABB purchased five eVisionFactory (eVF) software packages recently for the ABB TrueView Vision Guided Robotics System.
>ICS Triplex ISaGRAF has recently announced a new motion-control toolkit designed to offer advanced development tools for efficient motion-control applications “within the IEC 61131-3 programming environment.”
EPX-C3 single board computer supports 9 functions and more I/O expansion options via PC/104 modules.
The notion of "real-time," or determinism, can apply to sensing, logic, actuation, and communications that connect the three. In sensing, it means measuring and acquiring data about a process quickly enough to accurately reflect reality: taking samples too slowly can distort understanding. In devices and software performing logic, real-time decisions happen when information is collected fast e...
Fort Myers, FL—Innova Holdings Inc. and Robotic Workspace Technologies Inc. (RWT) report that RWT’s shareholders have approved its acquisition by Innova.
Freescale Semiconductor, a wholly owned subsidiary of Motorola Inc., has just introduced four new ColdFire families (MCF547x, MCF548x, MCF523x, and MCF527x) that incorporate more than 20 different processors.
Oak Brook, IL—Control System Power and Grounding Better Practice, by David Brown, David Harrold and Roger Hope, is a new book published by Control Engineering, Elsevier/Newnes and Reed Business Information.
National Instruments- New Breed of Industrial Controller National Instruments Compact FieldPoint is a new breed of embedded industrial controller. It combines the best features of a PC and mixes it with the reliability and ruggedness of a PLC. Compact FieldPoint provides the high level PC type features such as a floating point processor for custom calculations, an embedded interactive web server for easy control and monitoring, removable Compact Flash for data logging, and multiple serial ports for third party device communication in a small, industrially rugged form factor that easily withstands high shock and vibration environments. Click here to download your free white paper. JAI and Pulnix have vision to unite First 3-D Vision Guided Robotics system for GM Products: bulbs, PLCs, sensors, software Cognex withdraws lawsuit against Matrox Control Engineering news: Powered Ethernet, OPC, settlement Online services: Back issues, search and find what you need JAI and Pulnix have vision to unite JAI and Pulnix joined forces in machine vision with JAI's recent purchase of all Pulnix shares, intellectual property, camera technology, and regional sales and support offices in Japan and Australia.
National Instruments- A New Breed of Industrial Controller National Instruments Compact FieldPoint is a new breed of embedded industrial controller. It combines the best features of a PC and mixes it with the reliability and ruggedness of a PLC. Compact FieldPoint provides the high level PC type features such as a floating point processor for custom calculations, an embedded interactive web server for easy control and monitoring, removable Compact Flash for data logging, and multiple serial ports for third party device communication in a small, industrially rugged form factor that easily withstands high shock and vibration environments. Click here to download your free white paper. Machine vision expands beyond the traditional, says imaging group 19% was median gross margin for 31 machine vision companies in 2002 Help shape our 2004 coverage in machine control, give feedback 12 machine control products in 10 inches Light reading for the beach: real-time, robotics, adaptive control Ask for free literature, on PLCs for instance, or connect directly OMAC, laser welding, faster material removal, wireless hydraulics Quick REMINDER: Update your Buyer's Guide listing Machine vision expands beyond the traditional, says imaging group ''Machine Vision is at a critical juncture in the evolution of technology, no longer constrained to the traditional markets or applications,'' says the new president of the Automated Imaging Association (AIA), John Stack.
Apologies to Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel who popularized the song "Scarborough Fair" in the mid-1960s—and to the unknown writer and caretakers of this English folksong from late medieval times—but it was an irresistible tie-in with Hannover Fair 2003. And there's even some historical connection.
NATIONAL INSTRUMENTS - Get the most out of your control system. Maximize your system's power and capability today by integrating advanced control technology with NI LabVIEW and Compact FieldPoint. Download a FREE white paper on Building Distributed Monitoring and Control Systems with LabVIEW. Or learn more about building PID Embedded Control Systems through a FREE online tutorial.
Industrial networks are continuing to evolve beyond communication, and are overlapping virtually all areas of control and automation. Three main factors are driving this genesis: applications are tying plant-floor networks to higher-up administration, enterprise, control and/or monitoring systems; devices are being equipped with intelligent functions, including networking capabilities; and hard...
You want answers? You can't handle this many answers—if only because ISA 2002 will have so much going on during its four-day run, Oct. 21-24, at Chicago's McCormick Place South.
North Vancouver, BC, Canada - Braintech Inc . According to Babek Habibi, president and coo of Braintech, ''The MC3D suite of technologies enables guidance of robots in applications involving large parts or objects with a mixture of visual landmark features. Some prominent industrial examples include guidance of industrial robots to automotive body panel and chassis components to perform robotic welding, sealant and adhesive deposition, glass decking, and automated assembly and inspection.'' Control EngineeringDick Johnson, Senior Editor email@example.com.
Eindhoven, Netherlands - Nyquist Asia is the newly formed subsidiary of Nyquist Industrial Control now open for business in Singapore. The subsidiary will handle sales, support, and services for the company's NYCe3000 Motion Control systems in the Asia-Pacific region-and specifically China-which Nyquist considers significant for potential growth. Peter Wong, manager of Nyquist Asia, believes that Singapore's location and culture offers an excellent gateway to the region and for business growth in the Asian OEM machine building market. "Especially in China, there is an enormous growth potential because of the developing economy.
San Jose, Calif.— Integration of motion control and vision capabilities continues at Adept Technology Inc. www.controleng.com .) During a pre-announcement visit to Control Engineering , Joe Campbell, Adept's marketing vp, also discussed developments in motion control and robotics, including what he calls the "gray distinction between motion and control worlds." Mr. Campbell sees big shifts in the industry from a convergence of the robotic and motion-control sides of the business.
This is the first of a two-part series focused onindustrial controller capabilities. Part two will appear in the February 2002 issue of Control Engineering. Much of the controller capability information derives from an online questionnaire controller suppliers were invited to complete. The entire controller capability matrix is located at www.
In this issue: Embedded control channel Microsoft Windows XP Balancing Technology and life Opto 22 Motorola extends 32-bit processing Transmeta announces new Crusoe chip Microchip embeds CAN Cool products and news Question of the month Introducing Embedded Control Move over 'PC-based Control,' welcome 'Embedded Control.' As the control and automation market continues to evolve, technologies developed and honed by PC-based control suppliers are finding their way into a diverse range of platforms sometimes far from the 'white box' PC envisioned by the pioneers. PC-based control is not dead, in fact, it continues to have significant impact on the control technology options available. It has become virtually impossible for suppliers to go to market without some open technologies pioneered by the PC-based control champions. The hardware platform may be PC, but just as easily it could be Compact PCI, VME, PC/104, or custom single board computer. Back to top Microsoft Introduces Windows XP One of the more publicized recent product launches was the Microsoft Windows XP launch.
Newly reunified ISA 2001, Sept. 10-13, in Houston, Tex., will feature more than 700 exhibitors, technical and emerging technology conferences, applied motion control and sensors-for-measurement symposia, and product pavilions.
Newly reunified ISA 2001, Sept. 10-13, in Houston, Tex., will feature more than 700 exhibitors, technical and emerging technology conferences, applied motion control and sensors-for-measurement symposia, and product pavilions.
Software programming no longer entails sitting before a blank screen and either entering contacts and coils or typing arcane commands and keywords that become long strings of spaghetti in ladder or text. Today's tools aid program organization and provide powerful command sets that make complex control easier and faster to accomplish.
Hannover, Germany —E-business, industrial information technology (IT), system solutions, microsystems, and mechatronics were joined in the spotlight at Hannover Fair 2001 by its traditional themes of factory automation, robotics, drives, and motion control. Approximately 260,000 visitors attended the six-day run, April 23-28.
Cimetrix Inc. was selected Jan. 16 by Siemens' Electronic Assembly Systems division to supply its Code motion control software for use with Siemens' new Siplace electronic placement and assembly equipment. Cimetrix supplies advanced motion control and communication technology for robotics, SMT, semiconductor manufacturing, packaging, and assembly markets.
Control system software is getting more complex. Controllers have faster CPUs and are increasingly networked, creating a whole new level of system complexity. To create software for these complex, distributed systems, software developers are starting to use application frameworks, which are domain-specific software architectures.
Process control has been distributed for quite some time. In fact, the concept is immortalized in the TLA (three-letter acronym) "DCS." Discrete control, until recently, depended on an architecture featuring one large PLC with large racks filled with I/O modules. The view across a discrete manufacturing plant is usually blocked by large centralized control enclosures packed with PLC I/O r...
Programming editors and languages are increasingly loaded with powerful functions. Faster, more powerful controller microprocessors and Microsoft's Windows-based graphic environment have combined to allow programmers to accomplish complex tasks.PLC programming was originally strictly Boolean. A statement would be something like "If (limit switch contact) A closes OR (motor starter contac...
The North American market for industrial electronic monitors and operator interface terminals totaled $606 million in 1998, and should reach over $946 million in 2003, increasing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.3%. This estimate and forecast is from a recently published market study by Venture Development Corporation (VDC) conducted in cooperation with Control Engineering. The report, 'North American Markets And User Needs for Operator Interfaces & Monitors In Discrete & Process Manufacturing Applications, 3rd Edition', makes a comprehensive and detailed assessment of North American markets for industrial electronic alphanumeric and graphic monitors, and alphanumeric, graphic, and PC based operator interface terminals used in discrete and process manufacturing applications. Product Definitions Monitors are display-only devices connected to a host computer or controller.
Techniques include such names as fuzzy logic, artificial neural networks, genetic algorithms, and expert systems. "Artificial intelligence" (AI) is the family umbrella that loosely links these techniques and separates them from traditional computing methods. Each mimics some aspect of intelligence—human problem solving, learning, knowledge, or evolution.
Hundreds of new products debuted at the recent Sensors Expo here. Some of the most innovative included:
Elgin, Ill— Reis Robotics' new line of articulated-arm, six-axis robots feature payload capacities from 6 to 130 kg, and the ability to automate many industrial operations, such as material handling, machine tending, welding and cutting, gluing, coating, and spraying. Special aspects include ac drive technology with a digital, error-tolerant absolute measuring system to eliminate the eff...
Recent major mergers, acquisitions, agreements, and contracts in the control and automation fields include the following:FLIR Systems Inc. (Portland, Ore.) acquired AGEMA Infrared Systems (Stockholm, Sweden) for about $80 million to create one of the world's largest infrared imaging companies.Honeywell Inc.