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

Clearpath Robotics adds small self-driving vehicle to its logistics product line

Clearpath’s new Otto 100 self-driving robot
Clearpath’s new Otto 100 self-driving robot

Company says new Otto 100 provides light-load material transport for today’s modern factories and warehouses 

Clearpath Robotics has expanded its Otto line of self-driving vehicles with Otto 100. The vehicle is designed for autonomous light-load material transport in factories and warehouses.

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“The Otto 100 takes the high quality and reliability of the Otto 1500 and puts those advanced capabilities into a smaller form factor,” said Matt Rendall, chief executive officer at Clearpath. “This enables new self-driving services in distribution, e-commerce, and manufacturing.”

The Otto 100 system delivers dynamic and efficient light-load transport in increasingly congested industrial operations. Traditional material handling systems require costly and rigid changes to infrastructure, often cannot adapt to a changing environment, and are not always safe for collaboration with warehouse personnel.  Continue reading Clearpath Robotics adds small self-driving vehicle to its logistics product line

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

The potential of predictive analytics for machine builders

Martyn Williams, managing director of Copa-Data UK
Martyn Williams, managing director of Copa-Data UK

Martyn Williams, managing director of industrial automation software expert Copa-Data UK, discusses how machine builders can use predictive analytics to minimise the maintenance and downtime costs of their products

The cost of production downtime varies significantly from one industry sector to another, but without a doubt, when it occurs, downtime is a troublesome and expensive inconvenience for all manufacturers.

More often than not, halts in production could be avoided, so imagine just how much manufacturers could save if machine data was available to anticipate breakdowns.

The good news for industry is that the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT) is allowing machine builders to design and manufacture intelligent machines with predictive analytics capabilities. Continue reading The potential of predictive analytics for machine builders

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

Bosch combines Industrie 4.0 and Industrial Internet Consortium standards in ‘truly global approach’

bosch automatic production assistant robot arm
At a Bosch plant in Germany, an associate works together with an automatic production assistant, or APAS. Its robot arm is furnished with a sensor skin that detects human operatives in the close vicinity. If someone comes too close, the assistant stops immediately, without touching the operative

Bosch has combined what it calls its ‘Industrie 4.0 platform’ with Industrial Internet Consortium standards for the first time, calling it ‘an international breakthrough for connected industry’

Connected industry is now becoming an international reality. In a new project, Bosch is working together with partners to combine the technical standards of Germany’s “Industrie 4.0” platform and of the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) for the first time. This combination of the two approaches allows the exchange of data between central areas of connected industry.

“Industry 4.0 is not so much a national as an international issue. Only a truly global approach – without competing company standards or differing national regulations – will allow it to develop to its full potential,” said Dr Werner Struth, a member of the Bosch management board, at the Bosch ConnectedWorld IoT conference in Berlin. Continue reading Bosch combines Industrie 4.0 and Industrial Internet Consortium standards in ‘truly global approach’

Kuka to build global deep learning AI network for industrial robots

kuka robota

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

The IoT – with Chinese characteristics

iot network illustration

Exclusive interview with Erik Walenza-Slabe, CEO of IoT ONE

Apparently, we are all either living in the Age of Industry 4.0 already, or we are entering it. And one of the main features of this age is a relatively new connectivity technology called the “internet of things”, often abbreviated to IoT.

The IoT is, as you might imagine or know, a network of “things”. These things can be computers, industrial robots or any other type of robot, any device or appliance – anything that is a thing or a machine, which is why it’s also sometimes referred to as the machine-to-machine (M2M) network.

Perhaps it’s not a particularly accurate label for it, mainly because the IoT can be part of the general internet that we all know and use, in that it can use the same Ethernet cables and WiFi and whatever other connections there are available, although it’s thought M2M communications could mainly be carried through radio-frequency identification technology.  Continue reading The IoT – with Chinese characteristics

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

ATS wins $100m automation deal

ATS Automation Tooling Systems building
ATS Automation Tooling Systems building

ATS Automation Tooling Systems has received an enterprise order from a company which it would only describe as “a North American-based customer that is a global leader in its market”.

ATS adds that it has provided core manufacturing solutions to the customer for a number of years.

The “Order Booking” is valued at approximately $100 million and involves delivery and installation of systems at several locations that will enable the customer to roll out a new global product. Continue reading ATS wins $100m automation deal