Fanuc developing industrial internet of everything

Fanuc is developing a machine-to-machine network that will connect just about every piece of equipment in a manufacturing plant. 

The Fanuc Intelligent Edge Link and Drive (Field) system is an industrial internet of things network that will be aimed at automakers.

Fanuc already provides General Motors with a global IIoT platform to manage and maintain the automakers’ robots.  Continue reading Fanuc developing industrial internet of everything

Yaskawa teams up with Sepro to build new 6-axis industrial robot

Manfred Stern, general director and president of Yaskawa Europe, shaking hands with Jean-Michel Renaudeau, CEO of Sepro Group; Xavier Lucas, president of Yaskawa France, and Jocelyn Lucas, director of Proxinnov
From right: Manfred Stern, general director and president of Yaskawa Europe, shaking hands with Jean-Michel Renaudeau, CEO of Sepro Group; Xavier Lucas, president of Yaskawa France, and Jocelyn Lucas, director of Proxinnov

The two companies developed partnership through industry association Proxinnov 

Industrial robot giant Yaskawa has entered into a business partnership with industrial automation company Sepro to build a new 6-axis robot for larger moulding jobs.

Both companies are members of Proxinnov, an industry association which advises on how companies can become more competitive using robotics and automation technologies.  Continue reading Yaskawa teams up with Sepro to build new 6-axis industrial robot

Industrial robot maker Rethink Robotics signs up new distributors

rethink robotics sawyer

Sawyer robot to be distributed by automation providers in France, UK and Israel 

Rethink Robotics is continuing its global expansion with new distribution partnerships with four separate automation providers three different countries.

In France, Rethink has signed up Humarobotics; in the UK, two companies – Active8 Robots and Cobotix; and iCobots in Israel.

Rethink says its new distribution partners will “help manufacturers gain flexibility and improve production processes by deploying Rethink’s smart, collaborative Sawyer robot”.  Continue reading Industrial robot maker Rethink Robotics signs up new distributors

Industrial robot and automation firm Swisslog buys logistics specialist

PAS autonomous robots in a logistics wareouse
PAS autonomous robots in a logistics wareouse

Company targets logistics because it’s a fast-growing market for robotics and automation 

Swisslog has acquired Power Automation Systems (PAS), a company which specialises in pallet shuttle automated storage and retrieval systems – mostly used in logistics.

Now with offerings ranging from advanced robotics to fast case shuttles and pallet shuttles, together with Kuka, Swisslog says it continues building the “automation powerhouse chain offering clients compelling solutions”.  Continue reading Industrial robot and automation firm Swisslog buys logistics specialist

Omron launches new range of industrial robots

omron industrial robots

Japanese electronics company expands product range by making move into robotics

Omron has launched a new series of industrial robots. The release includes 49 robots developed by Omron Adept Technologies. All products are to be made available in 39 countries around the world, says the company.

The robots have been integrated with Omron’s family of sensors, safety components and NX/NJ series machine automation controllers to “simplify the introduction of robots in a production environment”, says the company.

Omron’s combination of software and control architecture is designed to addresses the factory automation challenges arising from producing a high variety mix of products with short product lifecycles that require rapid production line changeovers.  Continue reading Omron launches new range of industrial robots

Fanuc to open new industrial robot facilities and restructure business locations

FANUC Robotics America

The world’s largest industrial robot company is restructuring its business operations.

Fanuc America will open four new facilities, relocate three facilities to larger offices, and add three new regional training centers in 2016. The expansion will allow the company to better serve its growing customer base, says Fanuc.  Continue reading Fanuc to open new industrial robot facilities and restructure business locations

Rethink’s Baxter industrial robot ‘simplifies complexity’ for Donnelly

baxter donnelly
Baxter hard at work at the Donnelly factory

Two-armed collaborative robot making light work of difficult injection moulding tasks 

A US manufacturer says its use of the Baxter industrial robot “simplifies complexity” in its factory operations.

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Donnelly Custom Manufacturing, a company which specializes in short-run injection molding of thermoplastics for industrial original equipment manufacturers, is using Rethink Robotics’ two-armed Baxter robot for flexible automation at its facility in Alexandria, Minnesota.

Donnelly’s focus is on short-run injection molding for customers with low to medium volumes, as well as an array of related engineering and manufacturing services.  Continue reading Rethink’s Baxter industrial robot ‘simplifies complexity’ for Donnelly

Kuka wins competition to find the most obscure board game ever invented

Professor Dr Martin Weiss (left) and Markus Webert working with the Kuka small robot KR Agilus. Source: Kuka Robotics
Professor Dr Martin Weiss (left) and Markus Webert working with the Kuka small robot KR Agilus. Source: Kuka Robotics

Becoming one of the world’s largest industrial robot companies takes time and a lot of dedication. Work, work, work. No time for play. And having got to the top, the most annoying thing for a company, like Kuka, must be to see a startup company, like DeepMind, which has yet to deliver a single commercial product, make worldwide headlines for building an artificially intelligent computer that plays an ancient Chinese board game no one understands.

So what does Kuka do to make its own headlines? Of course: find another obscure board game no one understands and teach one of its robots how to play that, and get students at a local university to do all the programming.

The board game in question is Settlers of Catan. While at least spome people had heard of Go, Settlers of Catan sounds like an old cowboy movie that no one saw because it was terrible.  Continue reading Kuka wins competition to find the most obscure board game ever invented

Epson Robots launches new 6-axis industrial robot

Epson’s new C8 series of industrial robots
Epson’s new C8 series of industrial robots

Epson Robots has expanded its 6-axis robot line-up with the introduction of the new Epson C8-Series industrial robots.

The company says the new robot has more reach, faster speeds, and greater payload, adding that its “SlimLine” design enables the Epson C8, C8L and C8XL robots to provide “superior performance for even the most demanding and complex applications”.

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Michael Ferrara, director of Epson Robots, said: “Our Epson C4-Series robots have been in the market for a couple of years now and have been extremely well received for a wide variety of applications.

“One of the key factors for the C4-Series success has been the unique Epson SlimLine Design which results in slimmer arms, less overall weight, and a small footprint while providing high performance motion with higher payload curves.” Continue reading Epson Robots launches new 6-axis industrial robot

Yaskawa launches new robot featuring PC architecture

The Yaskawa MH280 II, which can be operated through Windows CE
The Yaskawa MH280 II, which can be operated through Windows CE

One of the world’s largest robot manufacturers, Yaskawa, is moving to make its machines more PC-compatible

Yaskawa Motoman has launched a new robot for machine tending applications, and it’s fully compatible with PC operating systems.

The company says the robot’s heavy-payload of the new MH280 II robot makes it “ideal” for machine tending, which is one of the most common robotics applications today.

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With its increased payload, moment and inertia ratings, the new model can also be used in material handling and press tending applications, from boring to milling to grinding.  Continue reading Yaskawa launches new robot featuring PC architecture

US auto industry buys half of all industrial robots, says IFR

dürr robot

The US auto sector “buys every second industrial robot” sold, according to a report by the International Federation of Robotics (IFR)

The US economy is one of the front-runners in the global automation race. By 2018, the number of industrial robots sold will, on average, rise by at least five per cent per annum, to a new record of 31,000 units (2014: 26,202). 

About one-half of these will be installed by car makers and their suppliers. Viewed according to robotic density – meaning the number of industrial robots per 10,000 employees – the US automotive industry, with 1,141 units, already ranks third in the world’s national economies after Germany (1,149 units) and Japan (1,414 units). These are the calculations published in the report 2015 World Robot Statistics, issued by IFR.

Continue reading US auto industry buys half of all industrial robots, says IFR

Kuka to build global deep learning AI network for industrial robots

Kuka, one of the world’s biggest industrial robotics companies, is to develop a smart manufacturing platform in collaboration with Chinese communications giant Huawei. 

Kuka and Huawei signed a deal to develop what could be a global network – built on the industrial internet of things – to enable the connection of robots across many factories. The companies say they plan to integrate artificial intelligence and deep learning into the system.

In the new manufacturing era, robots will play an increasingly important role in helping manufacturing businesses remain agile and drive growth, say the two companies.

Under the new agreement, Huawei and Kuka will collaborate in the areas of cloud computing, big data, mobile technology, and industrial robots to help manufacturing customers transform and embrace smart manufacturing. Continue reading Kuka to build global deep learning AI network for industrial robots

Industrial robots can now do their work uninterrupted thanks to the cloud and offline programming

fanuc industrial robot

Industrial robots are increasingly being connected to the cloud, where they can be managed centrally in some sort of control room, which means that a small number of human staff could theoretically manage hundreds, if not thousands, of machines.

Previously they were almost always operated in isolated circumstances within factories, inside a work cell, fenced off from human workers because of safety concerns. They were programmed individually, using a teach pendant, which is like a 20-years-out-of-date oversized mobile phone.

The teach pendant is still used for refinements and modifications after the machine goes online, into work, but nowadays most industrial robots are prepared for a life of work using offline programming. Continue reading Industrial robots can now do their work uninterrupted thanks to the cloud and offline programming

Alnea updates robot soldering system

kuka agilus alnea
The Kuka KR Agilus small robot in the ALNEA solution results in a significant increase in productivity

Alnea says its new robot-based soldering process is in compliance with international standards.

The soldering process used in so-called through-hole technology (THT) requires the utmost precision. The small structures and the close proximity of components that must not be wetted leave no room for error.

With THT, repair processes are time- and cost-intensive, often not reproducible and in some cases not even allowed.

“A reliably controlled selective soldering process is the decisive first step on the path to zero-error production for our customers,” says Krzysztof Kamiński, president of Alnea. Continue reading Alnea updates robot soldering system

Siemens provides close-up view of its electronics manufacturing plant, where the lines between human and robot workers are blurred

siemens robotic electronics factory
Picture: At Siemens’ Electronics Manufacturing Plant in Erlangen, Germany, the company has devised new concepts for highly flexible manufacturing systems using lightweight robots and 3D printers.

Simulation, 3D printing, lightweight robots – these are some of the innovative technologies driving the Fourth Industrial Revolution – or Industry 4.0. And they are already a reality at Siemens’ Electronics Manufacturing Plant in Erlangen, Germany. A key reason for the success of this plant is that people and machines work hand in hand.

siemens robotic electronics factory
Employees at Siemens’ Electronics Manufacturing Plant in Erlangen have the freedom to try out innovative ideas and turn them into successful projects.

Schorsch assembles small converters. Hannes does the big ones; he inserts a fan and a heat sink in the housing and fastens them with four screws – several hundred times a day. When Hannes takes a break, Schorsch keeps on working unwaveringly.

When Hannes goes home, Schorsch goes on working. Hannes is a temporary factory worker. Schorsch is a lightweight robot. Continue reading Siemens provides close-up view of its electronics manufacturing plant, where the lines between human and robot workers are blurred