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Robot caterpillar demonstrates approach to locomotion for soft robotics
A caterpillar-like soft robot that can move forward, backward and dip under narrow spaces has been developed.
Learning what is possible in warehouse robotics
A panel from The Robotics Group of MHI discussed “What’s possible now in warehouse robotics” at ProMat 2023, covering topics including workforce training and implementation, system integration, safety and cost.
How software helps manufacturers better manage mobile robot fleets
Mobile robots and automated guided vehicles (AGVs) are helping manufacturing, distribution centers and warehousing applications move materials more effectively. Software can help manufacturers with design, implementation and management of mobile robots and AGVs fleets.
One million robots working in automotive industry
One million robots are working in the automotive industry, which represents about a third of all robotics in all industries, according to a report by the International Federation of Robotics (IFR).
Industrial robotics market growth expected to remain strong
A research report by Future Market Insights indicates the industrial robotics industry will have double-digit throughout the next decade.
How collaborative robots’ flexibility benefits manufacturers
Collaborative robots (cobots) are growing in industrial manufacturing applications because of their flexibility and their ability to work alongside humans whereas traditional robots cannot.
Grant awarded to increase artificial intelligence and robotics use in poultry processing
Researchers in two states were awarded a $5 million grant to increase use of artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics in chicken processing.
Robotics factory expanded in Michigan
ABB started construction starting on the expansion of its robotics headquarters and manufacturing facility in Michigan, which will create 72 highly-skilled new jobs.
Model developed to help synchronize robots, drones
Cornell University researchers have developed a model called a swarmalator to help drones, tiny robots and more synchronize.
Wheeled robot measures leaf angles to help corn plants
Researchers have demonstrated an automated technology capable of accurately measuring the angle of leaves on corn plants in the field, providing farmers with useful data more quickly.
Five robot trends for 2023
The International Federation of Robotics (IFR) analyzes the top five trends shaping robotics and automation in 2023.
Robots are becoming more mobile and autonomous
The rise of robot technology and the recent introduction of cobots is changing how robotics are utilized in manufacturing.
Two selected for annual robotics award
Roberta Nelson Shea of Universal Robots and Jeff Burnstein of A3 are selected for the 2023 Joseph F. Engelberger Robotics Awards.
Click beetle-inspired robots jump using elastic energy
A series of click beetle-sized robots small enough to fit into tight spaces have been developed to explore large machines such as turbines and jet engines.
Service robot market expected to soar
The global service robotics market is expected to be worth more than $40 billion in 2023, with a total valuation of $267 billion by 2033.
North American robot sales reach record high in 2022
More than 44,000 robots were ordered in 2022, up 11% over 2021, as automotive companies are turning to robots to help boost electric vehicle (EV) production.
When will the mobile robot vendor base consolidate?
While acquisitions are occurring in the autonomous mobile robot (AMR) space, a consistent stream of new entrants is preventing overall consolidation.
AMR multi-fleet orchestration software market growing
While multi-fleet orchestration platforms continue to grow in popularity, the jury is still out on whether high-level control (or low-level control will be more effective in the long-term.
Key Trends and Takeaways: Industrial and Collaborative Robots
New market insight by Interact Analysis outlines some key takeaways from 2022 for the industrial and collaborative robot market.
AMRs help eliminate manual processes in autonomous RFID inventory system
Self-navigating mobile robotic technologies, autonomous mobile robots (AMRs), can help support a variety of payloads and provide a foundation to verify contents of warehouse containers.
Top 5 Control Engineering content: January 23-29, 2023
The top 5 articles from the past week covered industrial robot trends, control systems, electrical safety hazards and more.
Soft robots use viscous fluids for complex motions
Cornell researchers have developed a system of fluid-driven actuators that enable soft robots to achieve more complex motions.
Grasshopper-like material designed to leap 200 times its own thickness
The material developed by University of Colorado researchers uses elastic instability to store energy that can be released upon exposure to heat.
Top 5 Control Engineering content: January 16-22, 2023
The top 5 articles from the past week covered industrial robot trends, hot Control Engineering topics, MQTT and more.
Six industrial robotics trends for 2023
Robotics are becoming more important and manufacturers are recognizing their growing role in many different industries and applications. Six industry trends are highlighted.
Cameras give industrial vision-guided robots human-like functions
Using cameras can help give vision-guided robots (VGRs) the tools needed to be real assets on the plant floor.
Smart robotics, AI fueling industrial automation growth
Industrial automation is being propelled by artificial intelligence (AI) and smart robotics, which are helping bring jobs back to the U.S.
Robots driving oil and gas industry growth
Robotics, thanks to automation and technology advances, is expected to be a key driver in oil and gas industry growth according to a report by GlobalData.
Autonomous crawling ringbots navigate narrow gaps
Researchers at North Carolina State University have created a ring-shaped soft robot capable of pulling a small payload across the surface – in ambient air or under water, as well as passing through a gap narrower than its ring size. See video
Mobile robot shipments grow in 2022
The mobile robot market enjoyed strong growth in 2022, driven by increasing e-commerce and shifts to more flexible manufacturing.
Robotic welding system enables more welding applications for collaborative robots
Collaborative robots (cobots) can improve weld times and inefficiencies on the plant floor.
China overtakes United States in robot density
China has passed the United States in robot density according to a report from the International Federation of Robotics. Asia dominates overall with four countries representing the top 5.
Robots are becoming more flexible and resilient
Advances in robotics and automation are making manufacturing and logistics companies of all sizes more productive, flexible and resilient.
Assembler robot groups have potential for making larger structures
MIT researchers are showing how groups of robots can work together to build almost anything from buildings, vehicles and larger robots.
Robotic process automation market projected to reach $70 billion by 2032
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.
Soft robots grip with the right amount of force
MIT researchers created a system that lets robots effectively use grasped tools with the correct amount of force.
Walking and slithering aren’t as different as you think
A mathematical model links up slithering with some kinds of swimming and walking, and it could make programming many-legged robots easier.
Robot installations in China grew in 2021
The International Federation of Robotics reported the industrial robotics market grew by 44% compared in 2021.
Teaching, preparing university students for the future with robotics
The Department of Technology at Illinois State University (ISU) is training students to program and operate industrial robots in preparation for careers in industry.
Successfully implementing robots in an unpredictable future
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.
Robots deployed to improve on-the-job safety for retail workers
West Virginia University engineers are deploying robots to help workers by saving them from potential slips, falls and workplace hazards.
Robot sales reach record high in North America for third straight quarter
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.
Robot integration ease of use a priority
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’ role growing in industrial operations
Autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) are increasingly finding applications in the mobile robotics ecosystem as automation becomes the new normal.
Robot workers can help humans in manufacturing jobs
Researchers are developing methods to show how collaborative robots (cobots) can help and even improve human workers' roles in manufacturing.
Helping assembly-line robots pick up objects
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.
Spiders used as mechanical grippers for soft robotics
Researchers are showing how to repurpose deceased spiders as mechanical grippers that can pick up objects, which can be used for soft robotics.
Improving usability is growing trend in industrial 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.
Method developed for improving autonomous robotic systems
MIT researchers have developed a general-purpose optimizer that can speed up the design of walking robots, self-driving vehicles, and other autonomous systems.
Unleashing the magic of robotic automation
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 creates opportunities, lowers automation adoption barriers
Robots-as-a-service (RaaS) is a lets companies deploy automation and related services such as engineering, maintenance and remote monitoring.
Industrial robot market worth over $11 billion in 2021
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.
Graffiti-painting robot mimics human movement
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.
Taking robotics automation out of the building with AGVs
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).
Double-digit growth for robot sales in North America
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.
Twisted soft robots navigate mazes without human or computer guidance
Researchers have developed soft robots that are capable of navigating complex environments without input from humans or computer software. See video.
Six mistakes to avoid with AMR technology
Taking a conservative and fiscally-sensible approach to AMR technology goes a long way in making sure to avoid disasters.
China to ship majority of collaborative robots in 2023
Collaborative robot growth remains strong worldwide and China will be shipping more than 50% of the robots by 2023.
Robot sales achieve record high in Q1 2022
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.
Collaborative market rebounds in 2021
Traditional industrial robots will maintain their presence, but opportunities exist for the cobot market to grow in automotive spaces.
Soft assistive robotic wearables benefit from rapid design tool
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.
Microrobot collectives display versatile movement patterns
Researchers have developed collectives of microrobots, which they can move in every formation they wish.
Industrial robot market growth accelerating
Industrial robots used to be a mature market, but COVID-19 has turbo-charged factory automation and is attracting considerable new investment.
Easier ways to teach robots new skills
MIT researchers have developed a technique that enables a robot to learn a pick-and-place task with only a handful of human demonstrations.
How eye imaging technology could help robots and cars see better
Researchers from Duke University are applying lessons learned from decades of perfecting eye-imaging technologies to tomorrow’s autonomous systems sensor technologies.
Six winners announced for annual robotics award
Six winners were named for the 2022 Engelberger Robotics Awards and will be honored at Automate 2022 and Automatica in June.
Teaching robots to manipulate soft objects
Researchers have developed a technique that could enable a robot to manipulate squishy objects like pizza dough or soft materials like clothing.
Cobot market set for double-digit annual growth rates
The pandemic has encouraged more companies to try a cobot as a solution to virus-related disruption, on-going labor shortages and more.
Mobile robot sales poised for large increase
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.
How AMRs change the safety equation
Autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) have evolved quickly, and safety guidelines are catching up, forcing manufacturers to adjust.
Mobile robot use on the rise in manufacturing
Mobile robot options offer many potential benefits for manufacturing and are being used in a growing range of applications.
How fire ant rafts could help engineers design swarming robots
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.
Three robotic automation trends in 2022
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.
Robotic trends in the manufacturing sector
Robots, particularly collaborative robots, are taking a large role in manufacturing and offer badly-needed flexibility.
Top 5 Control Engineering articles March 7-13, 2022
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.
Helping humans understand robots
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.
Technology trends in machine vision, motion, robotics, supply chain
Advancements in industrial networking, machine vision, motion control, robotics, supply chain, and simulation were among Pack Expo Las Vegas developments.
Robots look to be more creative, flexible
Some of the main trends for robotics in 2022 include a greater emphasis on flexibility as well as developments in artificial intelligence (AI).
Research teams receive funding for robotic manufacturing technologies
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.
Five robot trends for 2022
Robots' role in manufacturing and everyday life is growing and the International Federation of Robotics (IFR) highlights five trends involving robots.
Sensing method developed for soft 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.
Robot safety standard updates, advice
Carole Franklin, director of robotic standards development at A3, answers common questions regarding Robot Safety Standards.
Logistics company makes investment in robotics solutions
DHL Supply Chain announced a $15 million investment in robotics solutions from Boston Dynamics to further automate warehousing in North America.
Robots taught to hike treacherous, uneven terrain
ETH Zurich researchers have developed a new control approach that enables a legged robot, called ANYmal, to move quickly and robustly over difficult terrain.
Four-legged robot designed to deliver packages
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.
Higher payload collaborative robot, AI-enabled robotics, laboratory integration
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.
Technique speeds up thermal actuation for soft robotics
A new design for thermal actuators has been developed to help create rapid movement in soft robotic devices.
Industrial robot component revenues to exceed $9 billion by 2025
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.
Dexterous robotic hands manipulate objects with ease
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.
Robotics can help create upskilled jobs
Adopting robotics in the manufacturing sector can not only affect jobs, but it can result in the creation of new and upskilled jobs.
Robot pollinator developed as backup for declining insect populations
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.
Giving robots social skills
A machine-learning system developed by MIT researchers can help robots understand and perform certain social interactions.
Why AMRs are being adopted on factory floors
The autonomous mobile robot (AMR) market has been heavily driven by logistics customers and will overtake manufacturing as the largest user in 2022.
Adaptive swarm robotics can improve smart agriculture
Using swarm robotics, can lead to reduced waste through better logistics, optimal use of water and fertilizer, and a reduction of pesticides
Plug-and-play robot ecosystems on the rise
Robot ecosystems are bringing plug-and-play ease to compatible hardware and software peripherals while adding greater value and functionality to robots.
Control system enables four-legged robot to manage uneven terrain
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 market revenues rise despite COVID-19 delays
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 rise to pre-pandemic levels
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.
Using blockchain technology to protect robots
Blockchain technology as a communication tool for a team of robots could provide security and safeguard against deception.
Robot digs, finds objects under piles
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.
Micro-robots propelled by air bubbles, ultrasound
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.
Three reasons to robotize soldering operations
The soldering process has remained the same since 1896 when the patent was granted for an “electric heating apparatus” automation could change all that.
Robotic assistants helping in wilderness areas and disaster zones
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.
Five ways to improve operational excellence in robotic welding automation
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.
Teaching robots to learn in the construction industry
A grant from the National Science Foundation will help robots learn like human apprentices to make construction work less dangerous and strenuous for humans.
Inflatable robotic hand provides real-time tactile control for amputees
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.
Faster path planning for rubble-roving robots
An algorithm has been developed to speed up path planning for robots designed to traverse treacherous terrain such as disaster areas or construction sites.
System trains drones to fly around obstacles at high speeds
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.
7 things required for a successful cobot deployment
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.
AMRs have a big future in manufacturing production
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.
Three ways to ensure collaborative robot success
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.
AI being used in real-world robotics applications
Robots are getting smarter all the time and it's thanks to artificial intelligence- (AI) related systems.
Mobile robotics group acquired
ABB announced it will acquire ASTI Mobile Robotics Group (ASTI), a global autonomous mobile robot (AMR) manufacturer to expand their robot and automation portfolio.
Autonomous UV robot developed to sanitize classrooms
Texas A&M University capstone team designs efficient way to sanitize classrooms with an autonomous ultraviolet (UV) robot.
Robot algorithm improves safe motion around humans
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.
Impact of Zebra’s acquisition of robotics company
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.
Better gripping with intelligent picking robots
Researchers from Germany and Canada work on new AI methods for picking robots.
Bird-like wings could help drones keep stable in gusts
3D morphing wings developed by University of Michigan researchers could help small aircraft safely navigate windy streets and other close-corridor situations.
Collaborative robots’ role in high-mix, low-volume production
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.
Robotic finger uses tactile sensing to find buried items
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.
Algorithm helps robots collaborate on difficult tasks
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.
Robot sales have strong start for 2021
Robot sales rose over 20% in the first quarter of 2021 compared to 2020 with non-automotive sales leading the way.
Robot sensor market growth expected
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.
Robots learning to grasp friction
A new law of physics that accounts for how robots grip objects, particularly web ones, has been discovered by North Carolina State University researchers.
Benefits of PLC-controlled robots
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.
Mobile collaborative robot growth buoyed by changing market
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.
Robot industry trends and potential for the future
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.
How robotic process automation helps digitally transform businesses
Robotic process automation (RPA) can help drive business transformation forward, but only if it is implemented correctly.
Control system helps drones team up to deliver heavy packages
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.
Top 5 Control Engineering Articles March 22-28, 2021
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.
Developing robotic safety standards and compliance
Robotic safety standards have been around for a few decades and their importance is growing as they became more common in manufacturing.
Eight lessons for robotics startups
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.
Researchers’ algorithm designs soft robots that sense
Deep-learning technique optimizes the arrangement of sensors on a robot’s body to ensure efficient operation. See video.
Robots digging deep underground, finding new depths
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.
Aerial robotics used for above-ground oil and gas assets
Remotely-operated aerial robots can operate in dangerous conditions, which make them ideal for certain oil and gas operations.
Autonomous underwater robots used for deep-sea drilling operations
Many of the world's oil and natural gas resource lie beneath the oceans. Autonomous robots can help explore and dig them out.
Helping soft robots turn rigid on demand
A new control system developed by MIT researchers may broaden robots’ range of tasks and allow safer interactions with people.
Harnessing the power of AI for robotics
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).
Tiny drones developed with an insect’s agility
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.
Non-automotive robotic orders surpass automotive orders in 2020
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.
Mobile safety standard for robots published
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.
Disinfection robot developed to halt COVID-19 spread
A team of USC master’s students created a disinfection robot called LASER-D to use on COVID-19 prevention. See video.
Collaborative robot market predicted to surge
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.
Designing customized robot brains for critical applications
A system has been developed that devises hardware architectures to hasten robots’ response time so they can operate in critical situations.
Robot displays empathy to a partner robot
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.
What OEMs look for in a robot supplier
Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) need to consider their plant floor, the type of robot and more when choosing a robot supplier.
Predicting robot movement, collective behavior
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.
How robots help additive manufacturers add precision
Robotics and other technology advances increase accuracy and allow robots to improve precision and make larger parts for additive manufacturing applications.
Robots helping manufacture overflow health care, quarantine structures
A group of self-aware, human-directed robots to assist in manufacturing rapidly deployed structures to help with COVID-19 overflow.
The need for robotic offline programming in a COVID-19 world
Offline robot programming platforms are increasingly being used during the COVID-19 pandemic. Four scenarios, key programming features and perks are highlighted.
Top 5 Control Engineering Articles Nov. 30 – Dec. 6, 2020
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.
How collaborative robots’ role is growing on the plant floor
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
Benefits of an open-source language for robots
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.
Computer-aided creativity for robot design
A system called RoboGrammar allows designers to simulate potential robot designs to find a system that works best for particular terrains.
How robotics engineers are taking on COVID-19
Methods used to help robots walk and autonomous cars drive can help epidemiologists predict COVID-19's spread
Integrating technology and talent with collaborative robots
Robots can augment and enhance the plant floor by handling the dirty, dull and dangerous tasks and work safely alongside humans.
Robot inspired by pufferfish could improve drone safety
A team of engineers have designed a robot called PufferBot, which blows up like a pufferfish and is designed to make flying drones safer.
Top 5 Control Engineering Articles Oct. 26 to Nov. 1, 2020
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.
Robot sales rise due to increased automation, COVID-19 pandemic
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.
Mobile docking system developed for underwater robots
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.
Reducing COVID-19 worker risks with robots
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.
New industrial mobile robot safety standard, R15.08
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 hot topics, September 2020
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.
Five tips for specifying mobile robots
Before investing in an industrial mobile robot, get answers for these five questions.
Do cobots replace people in manufacturing?
The debate has been long — and shall continue — whether automation replaces humans or increases productivity, quality and safety
Robots, know-how driving COVID lab’s massive testing effort
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 remotely measure patients’ vitals for COVID-19
Robots can remotely measure patients' vital signs, which could reduce health care workers’ exposure to the COVID-19 virus.
Robotics help a post-pandemic world
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.
Robotics, machine and motion control market outlook positive for 2021
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.
How biomorphic batteries can provide more power for robots
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.
Top 5 Control Engineering articles Aug. 10-16, 2020
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 helps with COVID-19, energy efficiency, robotics, non-contact motion control, STEM
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).
Robotic software improves robot health
Industrial robotic software, industrial networks and cloud-based technologies are helping to improve industrial robotic health, improve robotic uptime and better manage robotic assets.
Researchers giving robots human-like perception of their physical environments
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.
Coordinating complex behaviors among hundreds of robots
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.
Project collaboration for robot applications in outer space
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.
Cockroach-inspired robot designed to work in applications with limited space
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.
Top 5 Control Engineering articles June 22-28, 2020
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.
Robotic system developed to neutralize aerosolized forms of COVID-19
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.
Building resilience with robotics
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 testing is crucial for collaborative robots
Electro-sensitive protective equipment (ESPE), such as light guards and laser scanners, are crucial for collaborative robots, but inspection and testing is often neglected.
Automated system developed to accelerate R&D, manufacturing of materials
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.
Lab makes 4D printing more practical for robotics, biomedical implant applications
Rice University researchers have advanced the manufacture of complex shapeshifters for soft robots, biomedical implants with 4D printing.
The role of collaborative robots in Industry 5.0
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 incorporate computer vision, uncertainty into AI for robotic prosthetics
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.
Soft robot movement speed inspired by cheetahs
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.
Improvements in robot-assisted surgery driven by haptic feedback systems
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.
Study finds robots help some manufacturers even while workers struggle
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.
The rise of robots-as-a-service in manufacturing operations
Robots-as-a-Service uses a cloud-based system which allows for easier requirement changes.
Identify and mitigate robotic hazards
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.
Study examines how many jobs robots replace
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.
Muscle signals can help pilot a robot, improve human-robot interaction
MIT researchers' Conduct-A-Bot system uses muscle signals to cue a drone’s movement, which could enable more natural human-robot communication.
Robots provide surgeons with superhuman stability and precision
Robotics are being used in various surgical sectors to aid in precision, efficiency, and much more. Orthopedic surgery is currently the most developed market.
Compliance for robotic companies
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.
How to quickly start a robotic pick-and-place application
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.
Solving the U.K.’s productivity problems with robotics
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.
How robots are helping medical professionals combat COVID-19
Robots can help medical professionals dealing with COVID-19 and potentially reduce their exposure to the pandemic.
Researchers use magnetic fields to control soft robotics
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 fighting the COVID-19 pandemic
Robots and automation are on the front lines of the COVID-19 battle and are helping manufacturers, health care officials and many more.
Signs of hope for manufacturing amid COVID-19
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.
University details process for using robotics, AI to produce polymers for advanced materials
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.
COVID-19’s impact on mobile robotics growth
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.
Looking closer at the impact of robots on labor and employment
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 create jobs for manufacturers
Collaborative robots won't necessarily take away humans jobs; they will assist in worker productivity, company growth and much more.
3FG15 three-finger gripper by OnRobot
OnRobot’s large-stroke 3FG15 three-finger gripper is designed to make automated precision handling of cylindrical parts easy to program and deploy.
Construction businesses value AI and robotics
Artificial intelligence and robots have the ability to help workers in the construction field improve productivity, enhance safety, and much more.
Hospitality industry looking to AI for improved service, security and more
The hospitality industry is adopting artificial intelligence to enhance guests experience, safety, security, and service while staying at hotels.
Better safety practices for collaborative robot operations
Manufacturers have developed solutions to keep human workers safe from the potential risks collaborative robots bring on the plant floor.
Robots developed to 3D-print complex shapes
USC researchers have built robots that can 3D print complicated shapes without compromising on quality or accuracy.
Three ways to start a career in the robotics industry
When choosing to start a career in robotics and engineering, it's important to know the various fields and specialties within the industry.
More answers about robotic applications
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.
Three misconceptions about service robots
There are concerns about service robots, but a majority of them regarding design, automation and safety are inaccurate.
Robotics’ growing impact on the healthcare industry
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 cutting operation and manufacturing costs for healthcare companies
Collaborative robots, artificial intelligence and Industry 4.0's potential can help cut operation and manufacturing costs for healthcare companies.
Algorithm helps swarming robots avoid collisions, traffic jams
Northwestern University researchers have developed a decentralized algorithm that allow robots to move with a collision-free, deadlock-free guarantee.
Collaborative robots help manufacturers address worker gaps, improve efficiency
Collaborative robots work with humans to do the most boring of tasks and let human workers focus on meaningful jobs, improving job satisfaction.
Robots work to aid humans
The industry is moving toward using collaborative robots (cobots) with force-sensing technology that work alongside people
Collaborative robot market growing along with their popularity
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 robot benefits for local manufacturers
Collaborative robots help local manufacturers meet the customer's demand for immediate products and can help control long-term costs.
Human impact: Role of workers with robotics
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.
Autonomous mobile robot market expanding at record pace
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.
Soft robotic arm uses flexible sensors to understand its position
MIT researchers have developed flexible sensors and an artificial intelligence model that tell deformable robots how their bodies are positioned in a 3D environment.
North American robot orders up in 2019
Robot sales increased compared to 2018 thanks to increases in orders from automotive OEMs and the plastics and rubber industry.
Autonomous, intelligent materials transport advantages
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.
Autonomous mobile robots improve logistics
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.
Four robotic process automation challenges to consider
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 future of the industrial and collaborative robot markets for 2020 and beyond
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.
Getting the best from your robot investment
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.
Exoskeleton helps arm-based physical therapy
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.
Researchers create 3D-printed, sweating robot muscle
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.
Deploying robots and drones in process plants and facilities
Robots have long been used in discrete manufacturing and machine automation applications, and their use is now spreading to address process industry applications.
Robotics group elects 2020 Board of Directors
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.
Mobile robots are getting smarter and going new places
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 have value on the manufacturing floor
Cartesian robots offer space and cost savings, wide dynamic range, and are simpler compared to other industrial robots.
Top 5 Control Engineering articles January 27 to February 2
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.
Make collaborative robots safer for human interaction
Worker safety is always top priority, especially when it comes to robots and collaborative robots may be the key.
Service robot market growing in automotive, non-automotive applications
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.
Popular applications for collaborative robots
Collaborative robots are growing in many industries and are being increasingly used in applications including, pick and place, packaging and quality inspection.
Exoskeletons boost productivity and safety for manufacturers
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.
AI robotic pills can help cows improve milk production
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.
CRX-10iA and CRX-10iA/L by Fanuc America Corporation
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 increases manufacturing production
Robotic offline programming (OLP) reduces initial setup time, programming time, and changeover and alteration time for manufacturers.
Proximity-based safety improves robot movement and efficiency
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.
Collaborative robots designed for space navigation
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 and autonomous mobile robots working together
System integrators should know an autonomous mobile robot's (AMR’s) programming and implementation capabilities make them attractive to end users.
Buying, specifying robotics
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.
Using robots to achieve consistent year-round success
How year-round automation eliminated inconsistencies on stock products and boosted output by cutting cycle time by 50%.
Collaborative robot market rapidly expanding according to report
Interact Analysis projects strong growth for the collaborative robot market as non-automotive industries become more invested in the technology.
Six use cases for collaborative robots
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.
Five ideal robotic gripper features
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.
Design and control robots with stretchy, flexible bodies
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 show overall growth
Robotic sales are up over 5% compared to 2018 results according to the Robotic Industries Association (RIA).
Four types of collaborative robot operation
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.
Algorithm developed to help automate robots for more complex workspaces
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.
Robot designed to “grow” like a plant
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.
Robotic laser marking benefits for the automotive industry
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.
Technique helps robots find the front door
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.
Self-transforming robot blocks can move and identify each other
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.
Researchers win grant to study workplace human-robot interaction
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.
Mobile robotics company acquired
Teradyne, Inc. announced they have entered into a definitive agreement to acquire privately held AutoGuide Mobile Robots for $165 million.
Robots are suited for the dull, dirty and dangerous jobs
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.
Robots learn the fundamentals of object manipulation and pushing
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.
Robots’ impact on manufacturing jobs
New robots will be able to create savings in manufacturing and plug short-term gaps while also help creating future jobs.
Collaborative robots bringing automation to aviation industry
Collaborative robots are improving aircraft construction, testing and maintenance as the aviation industry adopts Industry 4.0 and automates aircraft operation.
Autonomous robotic system developed to monitor underground mines
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.
Assembler robots make large structures from little pieces
MIT researchers are working on developing systems of tiny robots that may someday build high-performance structures, from airplanes to space settlements.
Shape-shifting robots show new locomotion strategy
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.
Benefits of adding exoskeletons to supply chains
Workers and companies receive increased safety and productivity by using exoskeletons for supply chain operations.
Mesh-like structures morph into predetermined shapes
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.
Benefits of robotics-as-a-service for manufacturers
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%.
Technology developed that computes and responds without centralized processing
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.
Tiny robot developed to sense environmental changes, repair human injuries
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.
Optical lace developed to heighten robots’ sensors
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.
Robot cybersecurity threats: What to watch for
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.
Research looking to give robots a second impression
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.
Keep workers safe, costs low
Why Ameren Missouri is leveraging the power of robotics.
AI-driven controller developed for hybrid drones
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 need to understand and think more
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.
Robotics team wins NASA competition for second time in three years
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).
Teaching industrial robots with AI
Artificial intelligence (AI) is an efficient method of teaching an industrial robot new skills.
Collaborative robotics open doors for manufacturing
In labor-constrained industries, collaborative robots could boost productivity.
Do-it-yourself collaborative robotic project
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 and how they impact collaborative robot safety
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.
Mobile collaborative robot benefits on the plant floor
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%.
Putting safety first with collaborative robots
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.
Collaborative robotics deliver faster ROI
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.
Controlling soft robot movements with light, magnets
Researchers have developed a technique that allows them to remotely control the movement of soft robots using light and magnetic fields.
Collaborative robots’ growing role in aerospace
Collaborative robots are playing a key role in aerospace engineering as manufacturers look to meet increased demand.
Collaborative robot application benefits for manufacturers
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.
Collaborative robot safety misconceptions
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.
Construction robotics trends for generating industry growth
Collaborative and industrial robots are becoming more common on construction sites and are helping human workers with some of the dull and dangerous tasks.
Students using drones to detect crop diseases for agricultural industry
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.
Factors driving robotic growth in non-automotive industries
Global growth for the robotics industry plus lower overall startup costs and technology upgrades is driving growth in non-automotive industries.
Automated system generates robotic actuators
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.
Using robots in agriculture will create jobs
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.
Tips for implementing robotic automation tools
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.
Collaborative robots performing surgery
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.
Training centers for collaborative robots launched
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.
Tiny motor designed to walk to carry out tasks
MIT researchers have developed a mobile motor that could allow future robots to assemble complex structures — including other robots.
Your questions answered: Why collaborative robots need plug-and-play peripherals
Faster startup and redeployment are key reasons for using plug-and-play peripheral effectors and sensors with collaborative robotics.
Robot design class advancing research and development
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 in the supply chain
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.
Four reasons why robotic automation is the future in manufacturing
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.
Researchers working on automating fleet of drones
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.
Using AI to help robots remember
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).
Three industries benefiting from service robot applications
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.
Robotics to drive increased production, efficiency for oil & gas market
GlobalData reports that oil and gas companies are turning to robotics to drive productivity and efficiency due to volatile prices.
Algorithm developed to predict and inform robots where humans are headed
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.
Five way service robots can help the agricultural industry
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.
Robot technology advances are improving automotive manufacturing
Technology developments such as collaborative robots and wearable robots are making automotive manufacturing more efficient and safer for the workforce.
Robot sales decline from record 2018 numbers
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.
Researchers develop scanning eye for robots
Fraunhofer Institute for Photonic Microsystems (IPMS) researchers have been developing and manufacturing micro-scanner mirrors, which provide robots an ability similar to human vision.
Four robot gripper technology advances
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 developed and designed for hazardous, extreme conditions
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.
Why collaborative robots need plug-and-play peripherals
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.
Three manufacturing applications that benefit from collaborative robots
Collaborative robots can offer a lot of potential to manufacturing applications such as repetitive tasks, collaborative environments, and variable production runs.
Benefits of logistics robots in manufacturing
Logistics robots stand are the fastest-growing and most widely adopted form of service robot and provide many potential benefits for manufacturing.
Smart robotic system developed to sniff out pollution and toxic leaks
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.
Top 5 Control Engineering articles May 13-19
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.
Robots’ role growing in construction and demolition applications
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.
Robot ethics, movement key to future technology developments
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.
Standards committee finalizes test methods and metrics for collaborative robots
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.
Benefits of collaborative robots and AI in the food & beverage industry
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.
Artificial intelligence pipe welding system launched
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.
Fenceless safety methods embrace human-robot interaction
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.
HELUKAT PROFINET Type R Torsion by Helukabel
The HELUKAT PROFINET Type R Torsion cable from Helukabel is designed for robotic applications.
Industrial and collaborative robots’ use in electronic manufacturing
As robotics have become more advanced, electronic manufacturers are realizing their potential and are using them for delicate applications.
Annual robotics award winners announced
The Robotic Industries Association (RIA)'s annual Engelberger Robotics Awards were given to Catherine Morris and Dr. Howie Choset.
Universities driving robotics research and development
Researchers at multiple universities are developing and researching potential uses for robots in industries such as inspection, medical, and automotive.
Collaborative robots provide benefits for pharmaceutical applications
Collaborative robots offer pharmaceutical applications greater reliability, consistency, and precision and can improve safety.
Particle simulator developed to help robots better predict and grasp objects
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 robot benefits for critical infrastructure applications
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.
Three collaborative robot innovations
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 robot benefits for manufacturers
Professional service robots feature some degree of autonomy and mobility for unstructured environments and offer many potential benefits for end users.
Benefits of collaborative robots for CNC machine tending applications
Collaborative robots are useful for CNC machine tending applications because they can be deployed quickly and can improve productivity on the plant floor.
Improving industrial robot accuracy and precision
There are many tools and programs designed to make industrial robots more accurate and precise for demanding manufacturing applications.
Benefits of using robots in agriculture
The agricultural industry is turning to robots to meet the soaring demand for consumers and replace traditionally manual jobs to improve production.
Collaborative robot benefits for end users
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.
Five questions to ask before investing in robotic automation
Robotic automation can provide efficiency and productivity benefits, but companies need to effectively plan for automation to maximize the potential they can bring.
Particle robots designed to work as a cluster
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.
Top 5 Control Engineering articles March 18-24
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.
Autonomous mobile robot shipments achieve record high in 2018
More than 20,000 autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) were shipped in 2018 according to Interact Analysis, which is double the number sold in 2017.
Four extreme applications robots are used for
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.
Robot developed to open doors and pull on heavy objects
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 robot standards being developed
Industrial mobile robots (IMRs) have a lot of potential for manufacturers looking to enhance productivity, but standards are needed.
Collaborative robots’ future in manufacturing
Technology developments and high demand for collaborative robots point to a promising future for the technology as manufacturers find new uses for them.
Five common automotive robot applications
Automotive robots bring many benefits to automotive manufacturers and increase companies' competitiveness on a global scale.
Low-power hybrid chip makes small robots more capable
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.
Robotics sales achieve record-high in 2018
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.
TM series collaborative robot by Omron Automation
Omron Automation’s TM series collaborative robot is designed to seamlessly work with humans to enhance productivity and ensure safety.
Top 5 Control Engineering articles February 18-24
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.
Robotics 101: An overview for beginners
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.
Four types of collaborative robots for manufacturing applications
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.
Core principles of collaborative robots
Robotic design: Built-in collaborative force/torque sensing, safety features, and improved precision enable faster integration in a wider range of future-proofed applications.
Collaborative robots accelerate
Cover Story: Get answers about expansion of industrial robotics from an end-of-collaborative robot tooling company executive.
Robotics and AI improve factories of the future
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 gaining traction in manufacturing
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.
Demystifying robot offline programming
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.
Engineers program marine robots with algorithm to take calculated risks
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 technology benefits
Vision-guided robot (VGR) applications are useful for manufacturing applications and are quickly becoming commonplace as technology costs continue to drop.
Robotics groups agree to strategic partnership
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 and mobile robots will enhance productivity
Collaborative robots and mobile robots can enhance automation and productivity on the plant floor when their attributes are combined.
Vacuum gripper benefits for collaborative robots
Vacuum grippers can be beneficial for collaborative robots, but the type of application and the potential costs associated with them need to be considered.
Cybersecurity required for safe IIoT robots
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.
Top 5 Control Engineering articles December 31 to January 6
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.
Technology advances for the industrial robots of tomorrow
The robots of the future will benefit from technology advances such as increased human-robot interaction, increased mobility, and multi-robot coordination.
Smarter robot grasping with sensors, software, and the cloud
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.
Three industrial robot end of arm tooling trends
Industrial robot end of arm tooling (EOAT) trends include safer grippers and greater connectivity as companies face greater productivity and demand from their customers.
As robotics industry grows, so do system needs
Solidifying best practices becomes the key to successful integration.
Industrial robot safety requires industrial risk management
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.
Electronic glove gives robots a sense of touch
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.
Six reasons why programming and maintenance are beneficial to a collaborative robot
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.
Drones designed to aid in search missions without GPS
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.
Four challenges for aerospace robots
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.
Machines learning language like kids
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.
Four potential futuristic attributes of collaborative robots
Collaborative robots will continue to evolve and future research may allow them to become more interactive and adaptable to human behavior.
Fenceless robots taking on new shapes and forms
Fenceless robots are taking on a number of different sizes and forms beyond the collaborative robot as robotic technology has progressed.
Robotic machine vision systems help automotive manufacturers
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 robot trends impacting manufacturing
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.
Intelligent machines improving production, productivity
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.
Benefits of robotic grinding and finishing
Robotic grinding and finishing is an essential part of manufacturing processes as manufacturers constantly pursue greater productivity and part quality.
Hardware, technology developments are driving the robotic revolution
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.
Four robotic applications that benefit from artificial intelligence
Artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics are growing together, and several manufacturing applications such as assembly and packaging are benefiting from AI's developments.
Trusting automation: When should robotics be used and when?
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?
Exoskeletons, virtual technologies bring robotics, humans closer together
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?
Collaborative robots put people first
New developments and innovations are having an impact on the assembly line, the plant floor, and for the workers.
Winery automation in Northeast Israel
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.
Five uses for industrial robots in aerospace applications
Industrial robots are being used to assist in the aerospace industry with welding, material removal, and transport applications to improve safety and efficiency.
The importance of robot rentals in manufacturing
Robot rentals represent an important shift in the way robots are deployed in industrial and factory settings, particularly with the advent of collaborative robots.
The future of collaborative robot grippers
Robotic automation has become more focused on collaboration with humans, which has caused companies to improve robot grippers for safety reasons.
Aerial robot that changes in flight
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.
Four industrial robot implementation challenges for manufacturers
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 robotic applications in industrial settings
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.
Four best practices in robotic grinding and finishing
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.
Robot designed for exploring hazardous, disaster zones
MIT researchers have improved the design of their Cheetah robot to be used for exploring disaster zones and other dangerous or inaccessible environments.
Bionic robots developed and modeled after fish, spiders, and bats
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.
Industrial robotic safety risk assessment tips
Assessing safety risks from industrial robots is important, but knowing where to start can be difficult, but the long-term benefits make it worthwhile.
Robotics’ growing role in the industrial market
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 leading to second machine vision revolution
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.
Robots and AI creating more jobs in Asia
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.
Six future trends in robotic automation
Robotic automation trends for the future include further IIoT adoption, increased cybersecurity measures, and increased use of collaborative robots on the plant floor.
End-of-arm-tooling robot companies merge
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-guided robotics creating new possibilities
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 poised for rapid domestic, global expansion
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.
Industrial robots’ role in Industry 5.0
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.
Collaborative robot developer receives annual robotics award
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).
Autonomous robot glider combines qualities of albatross and sailboat
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 robot benefits and innovations
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.
North American robot sales break record to start 2018
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 evolving, becoming safer
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.
Create safe, efficient barriers for human-machine interaction
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.
A man who knows where he is
Autonomy for a machine or a man is never possible because we're always interacting with an environment.
Automation solutions for high-mix manufacturing
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.
Service robots used for more manufacturing applications
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.
Autonomous mobile robot company acquired
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 benefits for industrial and collaborative robots
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.
Robotics’ impact on construction industry
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.
Five smart warehousing predictions
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.
Smart collaborative robots for industrial tasks
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.
Global robotics standards update
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.
Industrial robotic automation types and benefits
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.
Artificial intelligence’s impact on the robotics industry
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.
Robots’ impact on construction industry
Traditional challenges to automating construction tasks are slowly disappearing, and robots are leaving their mark on construction processes.
Three artificial intelligence and robotics trends
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.
Benefits of pick-and-place robots for manufacturers
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.
More robots, more jobs; fewer robots, fewer jobs
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.
Three factors driving robot integrator growth
Robot integrator growth is being fueled by the rise of industrial and collaborative robotics, an increase in workplace safety, and technological innovation.
Exploring the updated safety standard for integrated manufacturing systems
ANSI B11.20-2017 increases worker safety with added processes for those working on or near integrated manufacturing systems (IMS).
Collaborative robot applications for non-standard businesses
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.
Robotic picking and cleaning system developed
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 market growing
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 and machine learning capabilities for industrial robots
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.
New, innovative automation applications
Think Again: Startups, 3-D printing, drones, and automation in space are among the expanding uses for automation.
Robots learning to manipulate new objects through prediction, foresight
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.
Nanobots made faster with electric propulsion technology
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.
Top 5 Control Engineering articles January 29 to February 4
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 benefits and applications
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 implementation and market landscape
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.
Robotic additive manufacturing technology for new applications
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 on collaborative robots can reduce cycle time
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.
Importance of ISO 13849-1 for machine, robotic applications
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.
Additive manufacturing, drones, use automation for humanitarian benefit
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.
Automation startups for robotics, vision, machine monitoring, and talent
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.
Building the future with robotic additive manufacturing
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.
Computer systems predict objects’ responses to physical forces
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.
Connecting industrial robotics with IIoT on the factory floor
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.
Robotic process automation industry to disrupt traditional business operational models
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.
Top 5 Control Engineering articles January 1-7
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’s impact on packaging, processing industries
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 machining used for aerospace applications
Robotic waterjet systems use a mix of water and garnet that exits the waterjet to make precise cuts for an industry that demands perfection.
Robots’ benefits in the agricultural industry
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.
Industrial internet, robotics groups agree to liaison
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.
Automation sales achieving highest levels of growth in 2017
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.
Companies need to address collaborative robot issues
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 comes of age in automotive manufacturing applications
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.
Manufacturers need to adapt, become more flexible
The rising demand for personalized manufactured goods means companies need a shop floor agile enough to meet fast-changing production line requirements.
Electronics manufacturing driving industrial robotics market growth
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 best practices
Robotic cable management is a fundamental part of robotic efficiency and poor planning can lead to severe problems for users.
Collaborative robots and cybersecurity concerns for manufacturers
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.
Almost 2 million robots to be installed by 2020, according to report
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.
IIoT and robotics on the plant floor
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.
Organization to study safety, health implications of occupational robots
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.
Robot safety standards for industrial mobile robots
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.
Robotics, safety groups sign alliance partnership
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.
Master welders teach robots their skills
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.
Three tips for improving automated robotic welding processes
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).
Robots designed with collaborative, traditional traits for improved efficiency, safety
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 for robotics benefits and applications
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.
Robot applications that need a vision system
Vision-guided robots (VGRs) open up entirely new possibilities in manufacturing and industrial automation, but some applications benefit more from their presence than others.
Collaborative robots used to fill human labor gap
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.
Mobile robotics market expected to grow
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.
Autonomous robot designed to keep pace with humans safely
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.
Robotic simulation software benefits for manufacturers
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.
Collaborative robotics’ benefits for manufacturing startup
The productivity and low cost provided by collaborative robots allow startup companies to scale production quickly without a major upfront investment.
Robots solve assembly line production challenges
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.
Robotics can automate, improve construction industry
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.
Record sales reported in robotics, machine vision, and motor technology
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.
Robotic integration: easier, preconfigured, flexibility, programming
Questions and answers: Robots are becoming easier to integrate into other systems. More preconfiguration, greater flexibility, and best-practices in programming help.
Warehouse, collaborative robotics expand vision guided robotics universe
Vision-guided robots have evolved into tools that can be used to automate all kinds of new tasks.
3-D vision driving innovation for robots
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 projected to transform material handling and logistics industries
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.
Readying robots and the workforce for Industrie 4.0
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.
Robotic material handling market projected to grow over next five years
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 designed for quicker ROI
Collaborative robots (Cobots) have the ability to provide quicker return on investment (ROI) than their heavier, more dangerous industrial counterparts.
Robots learning to see, interpret 3-D objects like humans
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.
IIoT and the rise of the cobots
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.
Industrie 4.0 reducing downtime in automotive industry
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.
The benefits of robotics process automation
Process automation enhances business development with a vast return on investment.
Collaborative robots in the laboratory
Collaborative robots' accuracy and efficiency make them a likely staple for life science research in the near future, particularly for sensitive applications.
The impact of robotics technology on urbanization
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.
Robot use in logistics and transportation industries expected to grow
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.
Vision-guided robotics for pick-and-place applications
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.
Giving robots a sense of touch
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.
Robot for coating, painting applications
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.
Manufacturing industries are becoming more automated and efficient
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.
Modular electric robotic cars developed for cities
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.
Robotics orders, sales continue upward trend
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).
Automation and robots becoming faster, more sophisticated
Improving productivity and safety in automation and robotics were a major theme throughout Automate 2017 as companies demonstrated their latest technologies.
Six-axis collaborative robot series
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.
Robot monitoring system for material handling applications
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 robot series for material transportation applications
Mobile Industrial Robots' MiR 200 is a mobile robot designed to quickly and cost-effectively automate their material transportation applications.
Automation show features IIoT, robot developments
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.
Researchers developing 3-D printed skin for robots
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.
Robot grippers designed for collaborative robots
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.
Automation event to feature robotics, Industrie 4.0 developments
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.
Motors for robotic, medical applications
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.
Standards revisions: robots and robotic systems
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.
Using automation to boost the economy
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.
Mexican robotics industry on the rise
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.
The drivers of flexible automation
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.
Four benefits of manufacturing automation
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 consumerization of robots and its impact
The next industrial revolution will be powered by artificial intelligence, cloud computing, and especially robotics, and consumerization will be the primary driver for innovation.
Robotics group presents annual award
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).
Robots’ influence growing in the food, packaging industries
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.
Company develops robotic arm for retail, food and beverage industry
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.
Robots are changing the global manufacturing market
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.
Machine vision industry looking to 2017 as transition to positive growth
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.
Robotics industry reports record sales for 2016
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.
Competition announced for machine, robot startup companies
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.
Robots becoming more independent and autonomous
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.
Automation group launches trade association in Mexico
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.
Robots are crucial to the always-on supply chain
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.
Open-source robotics provides users with more freedom
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.
Robots and automation save jobs; standards help
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.
Agricultural industry needs to become more vertical and automated
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.
Collaborative robots are a growing solution for system integrators
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.
Robots advance with connectivity, collaboration, easier programming
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.
Robots collaborate with each other, humans
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.
Coordinated, integrated, linear motion system
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.
Integrated automated guided vehicle, motion control demonstration
Hans Rodgers, district sales manager, SEW-Eurodrive, shows integrated motion control in this video from 2015 Pack Expo International in Las Vegas.
Collaborative robot serves ice cream
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.
Robotic juggler displays motion control precision
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.
Agricultural robots about to undergo a transformation
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.
Miniature optical encoders for industrial automation applications
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.
Driverless-vehicle options expand to include scooters
Self-driving scooter demonstrated at MIT complements autonomous golf carts and city cars and uses control algorithms that work indoors and outdoors.
North American robot sales set records for first nine months of 2016
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.
Service robots replacing human workers, according to report
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.
Robotics industry: September fundings, acquisitions, failures
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.
Roundtable on robotics: More, smarter robots
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.
Robot series for CNC, machine tending applications
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.
Workcell for welding applications
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.
Six-axis robot for assembly, material handling applications
Yaskawa Motoman's MH12 six-axis robot is designed for assembly, dispensing, material handling, machine tending and packaging applications.
Foundry robot for material handling and machine tending 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.
Automation president testifies at Congressional subcommittee hearing on advanced robotics
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.
Real-time insights needed for improving uptime, machine performance
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.
Hybrid machines, democratization key to growing additive manufacturing
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.
August fundings, acquisitions, and failures in the robotics industry
The Robot Report reported 18 fundings, four acquisitions, and one failure involving robotic companies through the month of August 2016.
Miniature motor for medical, industrial applications
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.
July fundings, acquisitions, and failures in the robotics industry in 2016
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.
North American automation industry continues growth in 2016
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.
Robot for arc welding, machine tending applications
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 using the IoT to improve warehouse productivity
Automotive company BMW is using Internet of Things (IoT) technologies to increase warehouse efficiency and productivity as well as customer satisfaction and overall revenues.
June fundings, acquisitions, and failures in the robotics industry in 2016
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.
Germany exceeds U.S. in IoT investment
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.
Robotics company names president and CEO
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.
Robot swarms: Developing efficient networks through ant colony behavior analysis
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.
Robotic transportation: self-driving cars
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.
Robot monitoring system for collaboration between robots and factory workers
ABB's SafeMove2 includes a host of safety functions, including safe speed limits, safe standstill monitoring, safe axis ranges and position and orientation supervision.
Tool calibration method speeds implementation of 6-axis industrial robots
Inside Machines: A teach-position method calibrates tools used by six-degrees-of-freedom (6DoF) robots for peak efficiency and improves industrial processes.
Robotic vision systems: What is doable?
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?
Artificial intelligence that programs itself to change the conversation
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.
Robot series for manufacturing, automotive applications
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.
Filling the technology gap in the warehouse
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.
A history of robot programming languages
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.
Arup Thoughts: Having a robotic co-worker in the future
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.
Robots are ready to populate smart factories
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 robotics company expands into North American market
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.
Algorithm for robot teams handles moving obstacles
MIT researchers have developed a decentralized planning algorithm for teams of robots that factors in not only stationary obstacles, but also moving obstacles.
Impact, innovate, integrate: Advanced robotics help manufacturing industries
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.
Robot sales set another record in North America
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.
Interactive 3D-printed robot developed for educational purposes
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.
Manufacturing overcapacity constraining robot growth in China
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.
Vision inspection system for testing and inspection solutions
ST Robotics' STVS-X is an advanced vision inspection system designed for automated and accurate handling, testing and inspection solutions of critical parts.
Improving robotics with model-based control
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.
Coreless brush dc motor for battery-driven applications
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.
Cartesian robot system for motion profiles
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.
Synchronous servo motors for positioning tasks
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.
Five ways to increase the implementation of collaborative robotics in automation
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.
Robot sales in North America set record for 2015
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.
Robot series designed for fast, repeatable movements
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.
Open-source robotic software expands capabilities, communications, international influence
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.
Strong growth projected for industrial robot industry
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.
Design software for robot controllers
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.
Robotic picking automates building mixed pallets
The Order Picking Robotic AGV (OPRA) from Bastian Solutions is robotic picking technology designed to automate the process of manually building mixed pallets.
Autonomous mobile robot connects islands of automation
Cimcorp Automation's Adam is an autonomous mobile robot for random origin to random destination transport of materials in lean manufacturing operations.
Robotic pallet transporter for automated, guided movement
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.
Industrial robot for material handling applications
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.
Organization pays tribute to robotics pioneer
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.
Data evolution, innovations provide new solutions for companies, workers
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.
Research facility expanded for large-scale testing
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.
Universal programming software allows control of robots, servos, drives
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.
Robot sales in U.S. set another record
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.
Drive software can suppress machine vibration
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.
Robot series for palletizing applications
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.
Robotic application software module
Lenze's Fast application robot programming module for kinematics and multi-axis coordination.
CNC capabilities, simulations advance, with up to 30% time savings
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.
Better vision: Hyperspectral imaging technology research grant awarded
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 develop musculoskeletal arm and robot models for rehab patients
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.
Giving robots a more nimble grasp
Engineers at MIT have developed a method using the environment to give simple robotic grippers more dexterity. See related video.
Robotics market in North America off to strong start in 2015
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.
Founder of first robotics company honored on 90th birthday
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.
System challenges for networked, future-proof controls
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.
Electronic testing company completes acquisition of robotics company
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.
Robotic telepresence company acquired by industrial autonomous robot company
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.
Chinese manufacturing enters the era of robotics
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.
How to choose a robot, figure robotic ROI
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).
Industrial robot trends and types
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.
What’s hot in robotics? Four trends to watch
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.
Automating lathe machine tending for the automotive industry
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 cheetah robot lands the running jump
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.
Robot manufacturing plant opens in United States
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.
Competing robotic warehouse systems
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.
Vision system designed for precise coordination for robot series
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.
Dual channel brushless DC motor controller for AGVs, warehouse robots
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.
2014 was another record year for robotics
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.
Robots and autonomous driving
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.
Collaborative dual-arm robot has camera-based part location, lead-through programming
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.
Automation show begins at McCormick Place
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.
Robot for distribution and fulfillment operations
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.
Lightweight tabletop robot has 6.6 lb payload and 360 degree joint rotation
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.
Robot with elevated payload
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.
Using PID for motion control, robotics
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.
Motion control analysis of miniature gantries
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.
Future of machine vision for robotics
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.
North America robot sales set record for 2014
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.
Robots used in greenhouses to improve productivity
Metrolina Greenhouses used robots from Harvest Automation to help space plants and help improve worker safety and overall efficiency for the company.
Industrial robot controller is smaller, has improved panel, better connections
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.
Robotics group names 2015 board of directors
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.
Chinese robotics market expected to have 40% annual growth
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.
Robotics company receives more than $26 million in financing
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.
Open-source robotic software platform, ROS-Industrial, augments efficiency, reach
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.
Making mowers in America with robotics
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.
Giant dragonfly, jellyfish make waves
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!
Are agricultural robots ready to meet production needs?
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.
Fast robotic picking arms and palletizers increase production rates
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.
Robotic load handlers increase packaging and assembly efficiency
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.
Collaborative robot positioning system allows task switching without retraining
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.
North America robot sales set new records
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.
Software platform for robotics series
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.
Vision system boosts productivity, reduces costs at automobile assembly plant
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.
Vision system products for automotive assembly
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.
Fiber optic sensors for automation, medical, and robotic markets
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.
Finding solutions and students for engineering’s grand challenges
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.
EtherNet/IP module designed to shorten production cycles
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.
Mechanical assistants with embedded CAN networks
Service robots are revolutionizing the agricultural sector. They sow, weed, fertilize, and feed animals with increasing autonomy.
Liquid robotics continues its growth-by-partnering
Sunnyvale-based Liquid Robotics continues growth by partnering formula by striking another collaboration, this time with Boeing.
Fingertip sensor gives robot unprecedented dexterity
A robot can grasp a USB plug and inserts it into a USB port after being equipped with an optical sensor.
Gripper designed for multiple automated manufacturing tasks
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.
Companies agree to collaborate on integrated manufacturing solutions
Fanuc Corporation and Rockwell Automation announce global collaboration on integrated manufacturing solutions.
Human-friendly dual arm robot designed for collaboration
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.
Inroads in perception
Google's recent acquisition of Emu Messenger is just one of many items in recent news about improvements in perception and artificial intelligence (AI).
Robotic series for processing large parts
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.
Motion control and robotics integration
Controls for line-based motion control can be separate or integrated with robotics, depending on technologies used, connected networks, and sophistication of those involved.
Robotics market sets record for first half of 2014
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.
Upside-down design and automation resolve age-old precision grinding challenges
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.
Getting a grip on robotic grasp
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.
Manufacturers can do a better job of planning for the future
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.
Developments to watch: Mobile microrobots
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.
5 trends in wireless motion control
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 operation of industrial robots
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.
Top 5 Control Engineering articles, May 26 to June 1
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.
Two companies achieve robotic integrator recertification
Wolf Robotics and Motion Controls Robotics, Inc. (MCRI) achieved recertification for the Robotic Industries Association (RIA) Certified Robot Integrator program.
Robots nearly reach record high for orders in 1st quarter 2014
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.
Smart motor controller for robot designers, AGVs
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).
Vision-enabled robot replaces 4 conventional flame-treating robots
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.
International robotics competition now underway
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.
Desktop robot for focused plasma treatment
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.
Optical rotary encoder series have no bearings
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.
Top 5 Control Engineering articles, March 23-29
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.
Robot builds on insights into Atlantic razor clam dynamics
Mechanical engineers at MIT have developed "RoboClam," which replicates a clam’s ability to burrow into soil while using very little energy.
Top 5 Control Engineering articles, March 17-23
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.
Dual-arm concept robot makes North American debut
ABB concept 14-axis robot for small parts assembly applications has two arms and is designed to work with human coworkers. Link to video.
PLCopen part 4 blurs the lines among PLCs, robotic, and motion control
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.
No longer harbingers of the future, robotics are today’s technology
PMMI’s “Trends in Robotics Market Assessment 2014” shows dramatic increase in use of robotics.
Use total cost to justify automation for reshoring
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.
Machine vision tops sensors in flexibility for Ford body panel selection
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.
Growth expected in 2014 manufacturing sector
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.
Robotics group elects board of directors
The Robotics Industries Association (RIA) elected Stu Shepherd, the CEO - Americas, KUKA Robot Group, as the chairperson during the Robotics Industry Forum.
PLC-based vs. proprietary robotic controls
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.
Robotic control alternatives
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.
Robots should be doing more than 2 or 3 tasks
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?
2014 FIRST Robotics Competition contestants learn this year’s robot task
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.
Six-axis robot for machine, packaging applications
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.
U.S. college team places in national robotics competition
The Worcester Polytechnic Institute’s humanoid robot placed seventh at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Robotics Challenge Trials in Homestead, Fla.
Industrial PCs ease integration
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.
Smooth motion control strategies
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.
Bellows grippers for fragile electronic and light assembly applications
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.
Magnets, sensors create paths for automated guided vehicles
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.
System integration certification programs help advance automation growth
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 merges American operations into one company
Fanuc has consolidated all of their operations into one company that will be based out of Rochester Hills, Michigan.
Motion based profiles, libraries ease integration
When determining the best standards, protocols, and solutions for motion applications, including robotics, it’s best to look at motion profiles.
Robot rings NASDAQ closing bell
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.
Technology helps simplify welding teaching for robots
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.
Waterproof hygienic robots for wash down applications
Codian Robotics' D4 HD Hygienic Robots are designed for pick-and-place operations and and are IP69K rated.
Future of CNC
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.
Platform integrates PLC, motion control, and robotics
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.)
Packaging robots plug and play
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.
Agricultural machinery and industrial robotics set to lead growth in China’s machinery market
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.
3D design software top 10 features, simulation, visualization, electrical; helps with robot design
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.
When to automate: Conventional and robotic applications
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.
A new approach assembles big structures from small interlocking pieces
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.
Robotics platform for STEM 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.
Robot designed for health care facilities
The RoboCourier by Adept Technology is designed to deliver payloads of 50 lb for hospitals and health care facilities safely, increasing workplace efficiency.
Robot designed to handle payloads up to 8 kg at 100 cycles per minute
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.
Robotics sales reach record highs
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.
Robotics boost accuracy, flexibility for automated test machines
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.
PLM software reaches into robot simulation, programming
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.
Simulate, teach, program, test, debug robot motion paths offline first
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.
Robotic safety conference, Oct. 14-16
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.
Machine vision boosts quality for mass-produced robotic workcells
Inside Machines: Feedback from machine vision adjusts robotic movement and enhances manufacturing quality. Vision-guided robots have greater position accuracy, providing closed-loop control.
Robots serve many industries
ABB Robotics Technology Days highlight broad range of automation technologies.
DIN valve connectors have IP67 seals
Brad mPm DIN valve connectors by Molex are designed with IP67 sealing properties and strong cable retention for hydraulic, pneumatic, and electromagnetic devices.
Labor supply, demand bring changes to China manufacturing industries
Control Engineering International: Robotics and other automation are seen as competitive opportunities as labor costs increase in China, according to Control Engineering China.
Automation website launched
Mitusbishi Electric has launched a website designed to highlight the various industries it works in including automation, robotics, and HVAC.
Robot safety standard approved: robots, humans can collaborate safely
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.
Dual robot controller
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.
Unified platform helps robotics for packaging
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.
Robotics sales reach new record
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.
Next generation: Robots that see
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.
Industrial laser scanner for anti-collision, presence detection
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.
Stereo 3D camera
The Ensenso N10 stereo 3D camera by IDS is designed for vision applications that require 3D imaging and for safety inspections.
Borrow now to invest, expand, economist says
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.
Robots perform highly dexterous, complex operations
F-series industrial robots from Mitsubishi Electric Automation Inc. are designed for extremely dexterous, complex operations, including coordinated motion and automatic collision avoidance.
Career survival tips
Think Again: Automation design, economic, and career survival tips were among useful advice heard recently.
Board of directors for robotics group announced
The RIA Board of Directors for the 2013-2014 term were announced during the Robotics Industry Forum.
Humans and robots work better together following cross-training
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.
Customizable CNC add-ons, control convergence
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.
Robotic function packages for entertainment, music
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.
North American robotics market sets new records in 2012
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.
Robots vs. jobs: Jobs win
Think Again: Smart applications of automation and robotics save and create jobs. Proposed Institutes for Manufacturing Innovation could advance manufacturing more quickly.
ROS Industrial aims to open, unify advanced robotic programming
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.
Baxter the robot
A robot for unskilled tasks that every plant has.
Tool calibration system for robots adjusts programming to compensate
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.
Growth of China’s Industrial Robot Production
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 geared product shipment growth to fall below 5% in 2013
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.
Adaptive robot for manufacturing
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.
Motion module for profile programming
The QD77MS by Mitsubishi Electric is compatible with multiple controllers and drives and can simplify programming complex motion profiles to reduce engineering costs.
EC: QD77MS Simple Motion Control Module
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.
EC: In-Sight 7000 Series
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.
EC: TwinCAT 3
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.
Leader Under 40: Keith Mandachit
Electrical Engineer, Huffman Engineering Inc. - BS Electrical Engineering, Missouri University of Science and Technology
Robot prize competition open for 2013
NASA and the Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) have opened registration for the competition, which will be held at Worcester, Mass., in June 2013.
Intuitive visual control provides faster remote operation of robots
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.
Manufacturing handling systems: 4 quick design tips
Tips and Tricks: 4 practical tips can prevent overly complicated designs and help streamline sourcing and commissioning of handling systems.
Robotic layer picking system
New tooling system by RMT Robotics is capable of layer picking 95% of all consumer goods case configurations.
Paper mill robot applies labels
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.
Tire palletizing robotic system sale in China
RMT Robotics sold a tire palletizing system to its Korean partner, Hanwha TechM. Installation is scheduled for first-quarter 2013.
Robotic packaging automation cell
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 drive programming handles firmware downloads, configuration
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.
Autonomous robotic plane flies indoors
New algorithms allow an autonomous robotic plane to dodge obstacles in a subterranean parking garage, without the use of GPS.
Machine vision, ID-reader network integration
Integrate Ethernet-based machine vision and image-based ID readers into factory networks for more direct communications and less expense. See photos, examples.
Robotic Industries Association to adopt ISO functional safety standard
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.
Demand for robotics jobs continues to grow
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.
New group of RIA-certified robot integrators
RIA announces Ellison Technologies Automation, Intelligrated Systems Inc., and Progressive Machine & Design will receive the new Certified Robot Integrator designation
Where, when to apply pneumatic actuation
Back to Basics: Knowing why, where, and when to apply pneumatic actuation improves performance and efficiencies and lowers cost
Multipurpose 6-axis robot
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.
Pneumatic valve terminal
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.
Fellowship helps Cornell researcher improve personal robots
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.
Clearpath Robotics design technologies and software
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.
Self-sculpting sand: Algorithms could help with micro robotics
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.
Rotary encoder for robotics, automation
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.)
Cleanroom robot redesigned for compact situations
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.
Robotics division joins ROS-Industrial Software Repository
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.
2011: Year of the Robot
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?
Panel mount controller for larger robots
The ABB Robotics IRC5 panel-mounted controller's (PMC) functional has been extended for robot model from IRB 2400 to the IRB 7600.
Exploring robotics for the factory of the future
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.
Company plans electro-mechanical manufacturing expansion for early 2012
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.
Technology Days robotic event draws nearly 1,000 people
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.
Robotic intelligence expected to improve with faculty grant
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.
Creating a robot for bowling
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.
PLC-controlled robotic case packing, unpacking
Intelligrated demonstrates Alvey Robotics operating on industry-standard PLC controls for improved line integration.
Inverter, Powerlink industrial Ethernet, IP67 bus controller, PC touchscreen controls machine
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.
Autonomous snowplow, controls, feedback
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.
Robotic educational package for schools: Robot, controller, software
ABB Robotics' package includes the IRB 120, the company's smallest robot, the IRC5 Compact Controller, and 50 licenses for RobotStudio.
Software extends motion control application into robots
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.
Increased expectations for linear motion products industry, robotics
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.
Incremental encoders have compact design, IP65 rating
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.
PC-based Control, Robotics Help Packaging
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.
Lab teaches robot to put down objects properly
Cornell University researchers, using a 3D camera, have taught a robot how to put down simple household objects accurately in office and home scenes.
AATExpo, Design and Manufacturing Midwest, Green Manufacturing Expo, others
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.
Industrial-grade adaptive gripper for robotics
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.
Rotary encoders add profile for robotics and production
Heidenhain increased Profibus rotary encoders' functionality, supporting a profile used for robot control and production technology.
Industrial Ethernet integrates machinery, robotics
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.
Robotic case and layer picking system for beer, other applications
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.
2-wire DC inductive proximity sensors
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 Solutions open house, robotic demonstrations, automation integration
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.
Robotic palletizing products, simplified programming software
New software designed by ABB Robotics simplifies programming and reduces installation costs, as shown in a palletizing demonstration.
Global Perspective: Robotic suction cup analysis
Deformation analysis optimized use of suction cups under combined load for robotic product handling with vacuum gripping heads.
Industrial robot for metal fabrication, welding shops
ABB Robotics offers an industrial robot designed for small and medium size metal fab and welding shops, in a quick-start package.
Amtech Drives has new president
Industry veteran Charles F. Geraldi is chosen to head Amtech Drives' North American division.
Top Control Engineering articles, June 2011
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.
Integrator Update: Robotic controls double throughput
Concept Systems resolves coffee roaster infeed problems, doubles throughput with new robotic controls, 3D vision, and application-specific effectors.
National Robotics Roundtable applauds President for robotics initiative
President Obama announces investments in robotics to create jobs, improve U.S. competitiveness.
ISA88 Part 5 workgroup reviews PackML status, ISA88 TR02 document
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.
Back to Basics: Selecting sensors, machine vision
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.
Control Engineering: Recent Feature Articles
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.
Changing face of robotics
Mechatronics and symbolic model formulation techniques are driving innovation in the robotics field, from humanoid robots to autonomous cars, and beyond. See photos.
Integration of Stäubli robots with uniVal drives on Powerlink networks
B and R controllers can now operate robots from Stäubli with Powerlink interface, an Ethernet protocol, that allows generic motion control programs.
Rugged, absolute multiturn encoder, with Profibus output
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.
FIRST Robotics World Championship, related links
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.
Hannover Messe: Festo robotics, valves, motion control, software
Festo debuted products, presented growth at the 2011 Hannover Fair, including robotics pneumatic valves, motion control, and software to help automation design.
Machine vision standards play increasingly important role
In adoption of technology, machine vision standard plays increasingly important role experts say.
FIRST Robotics Team 1717 builds a dream robot shop
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.
How can robots get our attention?
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.
Motion Feedback: Rotary Encoder Selection
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: Teamwork life lesson
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 Team 3767: One day in week 4 of the build session
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.
DeepQA project, the machine code-named Watson, artificial intelligence, Jeopardy! and robotics
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.
Rod Locks offers high precision, low backlash, optional operational feedback
Nexen’s RLSS Series Rod Locks is reliable holding forces up to 5,000 lb with low backlash.
Automation Technologies take center stage at Automate 2011
Integration of automation, robotics, machine vision demos featured at Automate 2011 in Chicago, March 21-24, 2011.
Robotic sports: What is going on?
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).
Compact controller extends to larger robots, bringing small footprint functionality
The IRC5 Compact controller is now available on six models, including four 6-axis robots for arc welding, material handling and assembly applications.
ADAM mobile robot RAPs
RMT Robotics implement audio playback to make working with ADAM robotics safer, informative.
Cover Story: Balancing PLCs, PACs, IPCs
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.
FIRST Robotics Team 3767: Competition, scoring, and awards
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.
Top product suppliers join Rockwell Automation product referencing program
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.
Integrated PLC, robotic controller eliminates need for 2nd PLC
ABB’s PLC mounted inside controller cabinet door offers cost, space savings, ease of use, powerful performance for robotic production cells.
AIMing for Automated Vehicles blog test drives NI LabVIEW Robotics
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.
Robots, 4th generation: arc welding, material handing, machine tending
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.
Automated guided vehicles – answers; Alyssa is Robot Club president
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...
EC: Pronto4 Agnostic Autonomy System Series 4
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.
Pack Expo: New robots, software and a compact controller
Including ABB System Integrator partner exhibits, more than 20 ABB robots and robot systems are expected at Pack Expo 2010.
Robotics, motion control, PLC on one PC platform
Beckhoff Automation TwinCAT Kinematic Transformation software extends TwinCAT's standard machine sequencing and motion control capability to Delta- and SCARA-type robot mechanisms.
Did you see? RoboCup 2010 robotic soccer tournament
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.
ABB displays military robotic automation concepts, capabilities
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.
AIMing for Automated Vehicles blog: U.S. DoD wants energy efficient robots; robots on parade
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.
Motion logic and robotics controller has flexible profile
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.
Linear bearing advantages
Back to Basics: Linear crossed bearings can deliver more precise motion control than spherical bearings, along with higher loads and greater rigidity.
Cognex new surface inspection software extends quality to more applications
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.
Photo gallery: 5 ABB IRB 7600 robots take the stage with Bon Jovi for band’s historic Circle Tour
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.
ABB Robotics: New articulated robot, linear gantry combination
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.
Insectlike ‘microids’ might walk, run, work in colonies, says Purdue University
Miniature, insectlike robots might have more dexterity than previously thought and scavenge energy from surroundings, says a Purdue University researcher.
Advantages of FPGAs
FPGA design tools are increasingly available, allowing embedded control system designers to more quickly create and adapt FPGA hardware.
Small robot designed for cost-effective material handling and assembly of smaller parts
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.
Sensors for High-Speed Applications
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.
Who’s using industrial drives?
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.
Omron Electronics has system integrator partner program
System integrator program fosters key partnerships to deliver cost-effective solutions using Omron controls, company says.
Apollo moon launch, landing 40th anniversary: Lunar X Prize robots, NASA Constellation will return
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.
Automation reduces scrap for plastics manufacturer
A pre-engineered six-axis robotic system for blow-molded bottle handling improves operator safety and manufacturing efficiency.
Machine vision: Italian integrator gives robots vision and gains precision
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.
System integrators: Top 20 engineering specialties in the 2009 Automation Integrator Guide
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.
Kinematics Equations for Control of Robotic Systems
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...
Robotics: Software trial could help engineers build skills
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.
Testing, time-based control help CIP based networks; ODVA meets Feb. 24-26
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.
Everything needs calibration
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.
Motors, Drives and Motion Control Award Winners
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.
Automation helps packagers: Webcast, research, 3-part article series
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.
Recognizing the Best Integrators in the Business
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...
Engineering student projects: Exoskeleton helps dogs
Purdue University engineering students designed an exoskeleton to help dogs with hip dysplasia. Other mechanical engineering projects include...
Machine vision product research: Positive attitudes, outlooks, new products
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.
Machine Vision Eyes a Healthy Tomorrow
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.
Motors, drives and motion control: Moving ahead at Solar Power International trade show
Flexible automation shines brightly for solar-cell manufacturers.
Machine control: Robots go like a child in a sweetshop
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...
Robot vision: Software library aids robot navigation
Braintech releases library of vision-guidance program modules.
Autonomous vehicles: Robots deliver advanced command and control
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.)
Controls: Numerical control demo, PLC history panel at ISA Expo, controller book
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.
Preview: Mitsubishi iQ controls sequence, motion, process, CNC, robotics; has connectivity
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….
Learning: Fluid power, robotics for plastics, machine tools
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.
Have use for 10,000 robots?
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.
Learn automation, machine control, with online videos
Videos from various sources can provide instruction for machine builders and system integrators. Links are provided to the following ...
Top 50: Engineering specialties among system integrators
More than half of the system integrators in the 2008 Automation Integrator guide say they have expertise with three engineering specialties….
Vision for Process Control
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.
Fun engineering: FIRST Robotics Championship
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....
Green robots: Motion control, machine vision, robotics for solar cell production
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.
Motion platform for robotics, CNC, position
Generic motion control combines the worlds of robotics, CNC, linked axis movements and single axis positioning.
SME: More on lean manufacturing, robotics, rapid prototyping
Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) offers information on lean, rapid prototyping, advance robotics, leadership, and composites manufacturing.
Robotic milking: Sensors, robotics help cows, farmers, quality
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.
Vision guided robots: Adept Technology gets $5 million order
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.
Pack Expo 2007: Yaskawa expands support for industry standards
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.
CETV – Schneider Robotic Case Packer Palletizer
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.
System development: Platform offers determinism in COM Express form factor
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.
Material handling, motion-related sensors
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...
Industrial enclosures: Research, 14 products
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.
Promat 2007: Material handling, motion, related sensors
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.
In motion: New association serves motors, drives, controls interests
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.
Motion system for multi-axis applications
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.
Science and youth: FIRST nanotechnology challenges kids and volunteers
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.
IMTS 2006: Off-line robot simulation software
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 .
Robots for high-speed applications
Kuka KR5 Scara robot family from Kuka Robotics Corp. is intended for high speed applications that entail long-reach tasks.
Small, remote-controlled robot searches to destroy explosives
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.
Non-auto robotics markets fare better; U.S. 2nd only to Japan
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.
System integrator experiences cosmic ‘inflation’
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.
North American robotics market: Record year 2005 for orders, shipments
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.
Hannover Fair = 10 in 2006
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...
Robot gauging speeds cycle time
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.
EPIC SBC targets machine-to-machine applications
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.
Presence Detection Crosses Industry Borders
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.
Machine Vision Looks Well Beyond Inspection
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.
News round-up: Machine vision contracts, OMAC plans, PLCopen data project
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.
Motion-control toolkit from ICS Triplex ISaGRAF incorporates IEC 61131-3 programming
>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.”
SBC for I/O-intensive uses
EPX-C3 single board computer supports 9 functions and more I/O expansion options via PC/104 modules.
Real-time advances for machine control
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...
Robotic Workspace Technologies approves acquisition by Innova
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: New ColdFire devices range to motor and embedded control apps
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.
Control Engineering offers new book: Control System Power and Grounding Better Practice
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.
Control Engineering Machine Control eNewsletter for June 2003
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.
Control Engineering Machine Control Enewsletter for May 2003
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.
Are You Going to Hannover Fair?
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.
Control Engineering Software eNews for March 2003
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.
To fieldbuses, intelligent devices, enterprise-level and beyond!
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.
Vision guided robots uses multi-camera 3D technology
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nyquist opens subsidiary in Singapore
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.
Adept Technology combines more of motion and vision technologies
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.
Controllers: Heartbeat of Production
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.
Control Engineering’s monthly newsletter for Embedded Control – November 2001
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.
Special Show Coverage
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.
Toolbox overflows for control programmers
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.
E-business, usual technologies mix at Hannover Fair 2001
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’s software picked for Siemens’ equipment
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.
Application frameworks aid complex control system programming
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.
Distributed Control Goes Discrete
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...
Graphic Interfaces are Programmers’ Friends
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...
Operator Interface Market Outlook Healthy
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.
Motion Control Tunes into AI Methods
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.
New products ignite Sensors Expo
Hundreds of new products debuted at the recent Sensors Expo here. Some of the most innovative included:
Industrial Process Robots
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...
FLIR Systems, Honeywell, Industrial Devices, PC Soft, Robotic Workspace, SST, Visio, Wonderware
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.