Top takeaways from AUTOMATICA 2014

07/08/2014


Courtesy: The Robot Report#6 Bin picking, box moving and mobility

Someday soon mobility solutions will combine with bin picking systems so that extensive space and costly conveyor and material handling systems will no longer be necessary to go from one phase of the manufacturing process to another. Every robot vendor displayed bin picking in their booth. Many described the gripping, vision and collision avoidance software involved "challenging" when responding to the question as to why bin picking isn't more widely adapted.

At the Fraunhofer IPA booth, where they work on innovating new and fine-tuning various aspects of industrial robotics, they were showing a new automated bin picking software system using a robot with two arms. The system is capable of detecting and localizing objects, computing the appropriate grasping points and planning how to remove the part from the bin without collision with other parts or the walls of the bin. The two-armed robot can alternately pick components from the bin and, if necessary, even grip and put them down accurately with its second arm.

#7 SMErobotics and Fraunhofer IPA

SMErobotics, the EU public-private-partnership (PPP) to provide robotic solutions for small and medium-sized enterprises, has defined the need for software improvements such as those achieved by Rethink Robotics and Universal Robots and suggested that it was time to incorporate "smart" and "intuitive" technologies into the robot programming process. The big pitch that SMErobotics makes is that the robot must be plug and play, easy to program, and safe. The contention is that SME will know what needs to be done and won't need an integrator to help them set it up and get it running.

SMErobotics had a booth at AUTOMATICA and along with the Fraunhofer IPA, displayed their work-in-process toward such a new training and robot instruction methodology. It was a slick presentation and very comprehensive albeit it took a personal guide to actually see and understand all that they were showing.

SMErobotics' approach is to provide software components that help plan what is needed. It determines and develops the necessary robot sequences and grasp methods either from CAD data or from physical training of the robot and then generates and graphically displays robot programs to implement those motions and sequences. The software incorporated many new innovations: a tablet interface, sensors and the robot instructed from the same interface, the PC-based control system works on any robot and sensor setup, and the system learns normal robot behavior and detects unexpected deviations. But as slick as it was, it was still on the drawing board and not yet being deployed in the field.

#8 "Robots at Work" series from the Financial Times

Financial Times reporters made the rounds at AUTOMATICA 2014 and crafted a series of 18 stories on the subject of robots and robotics:

(1) Co-workers who toil 24 hours a day; (2) Baxter takes on dull, repetitive tasks; (3) Japan's robot makers under threat; (4) Robots take over Korean operating tables; (5) Managers wanted, must understand robots; (6) Robot makers aim at tech industry; (7) Rockwell reaps big data robotics rewards; (8) Silicon Valley seeks to embrace robotics; (9) Robots: rise of the machines; (10) New robot army in the work place; (11) Festo takes a leap with its robot kangaroo; (12) Softbank offers robots with a human side; (13) How to raise a personable robot; (14) Robot makers told by EU to calm job fears; (15) China overtakes Japan as top robot buyer; (16) BMW robots un-caged and put to work beside staff; (17) South Korean robot lead the world; (18) BMW's mini plant armed with future proof robots. All 18 stories can be secured via this link.

#9 Industry 4.0 gets big push and billions of Euros

On the first day of AUTOMATICA it was announced that The Partnership for Robotics in Europe (SPARC), a public-private partnership of 180 companies and research organizations, is the EU's policy effort to strengthen Europe's global robotics market with the goal of increasing Europe's share of that market to 42% (a boost of €4 billion per year). As part of the project, the EU will invest €700 million and the PPP will invest €2.1 billion.

Application areas emphasized by SPARC include manufacturing, healthcare, home care, agriculture, security, cleaning waste, water and air, transport and entertainment.

SPARC provides €100 million in funding per year for 7 years. By comparison, in the U.S., the National Robotics Initiative program is a one-time grant of $50 million (about 37% of the EU annual funding).

#10 Schunk is everywhere

Every show I visit, every conference I attend, in every lab that I go to, Schunk is almost always there (as they were at AUTOMATICA 2014), sometimes as an exhibitor, other times as a silent participant as their modular arms and grippers are used by others. Their smooth shiny silver and powder blue modular arms with contrasting black and silver grippers can be seen everywhere. This family-owned company has solid products and also gives back to the robotics community. Their annual International Expert Days Service Robotics conference held each year at their factory in Lauffen, Germany is an example.

Frank Tobe is owner and publisher of The Robot Report. This article originally appeared here. Edited by Brittany Merchut, Project Manager, CFE Media, bmerchut@cfemedia.com 


<< First < Previous Page 1 Page 2 Next > Last >>

The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by Control Engineering subscribers. Vote now (if qualified)!
The System Integrator Giants program lists the top 100 system integrators among companies listed in CFE Media's Global System Integrator Database.
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
This eGuide illustrates solutions, applications and benefits of machine vision systems.
Learn how to increase device reliability in harsh environments and decrease unplanned system downtime.
This eGuide contains a series of articles and videos that considers theoretical and practical; immediate needs and a look into the future.
HMI effectiveness; Distributed I/O; Engineers' Choice Award finalists; System Integrator advice; Inside Machines
Women in engineering; Engineering Leaders Under 40; PID benefits and drawbacks; Ladder logic; Cloud computing
Robotic integration and cloud connections; SCADA and cybersecurity; Motor efficiency standards; Open- and closed-loop control; Augmented reality
Programmable logic controllers (PLCs) represent the logic (decision) part of the control loop of sense, decide, and actuate. As we know, PLCs aren’t the only option for making decisions in a control loop, but they are likely why you’re here.
This digital report explains how motion control advances and solutions can help with machine control, automated control on assembly lines, integration of robotics and automation, and machine safety.
This article collection contains several articles on how advancements in vision system designs, computing power, algorithms, optics, and communications are making machine vision more cost effective than ever before.

Find and connect with the most suitable service provider for your unique application. Start searching the Global System Integrator Database Now!

Control room technology innovation; Practical approaches to corrosion protection; Pipeline regulator revises quality programs
Cloud, mobility, and remote operations; SCADA and contextual mobility; Custom UPS empowering a secure pipeline
Infrastructure for natural gas expansion; Artificial lift methods; Disruptive technology and fugitive gas emissions
Automation Engineer; Wood Group
System Integrator; Cross Integrated Systems Group
Jose S. Vasquez, Jr.
Fire & Life Safety Engineer; Technip USA Inc.
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
click me