Comau launches new robots at Automatica

comau robotics

The maker of the world’s most beautifully-coloured industrial robots has launched several new machines and components. 

Comau, which is owned by the Fiat Group which also owns the Ferrari marque, unveiled its latest technology at the Automatica show in Munich, Germany.  Continue reading Comau launches new robots at Automatica

Tend claims ‘world’s first’ hardware-agnostic cloud platform for industrial robots

A startup company in the US, founded by a group of computer and artificial intelligence experts, claims to have launched the world’s first cloud robotics platform which can be made to work with any industrial robot or device. 

Tend.ai says its cloud environment – which is being offered as an online software-as-a-service, on a monthly subscription basis – can connect and work with any brand of robot and can also hook up such things as smartphones and other devices, such as webcams.

This means that any brand of robots can be made to do any number and variety of tasks – the data for which is stored in the cloud – without having to be tended to by a human. The group have demonstrated the system by programming the robots to perform 3D printing tasks.

In exclusive comments to Robotics and Automation News, Mark Silliman, CEO, says the company has been in “stealth mode” for some time (possibly because of paranoia about security) and this information is only being released now.

Silliman says: “Tend.ai makes cloud robotics for machine tending a reality. It’s compatible with both Universal Robots and Rethink robots, as well as many more soon.”  Continue reading Tend claims ‘world’s first’ hardware-agnostic cloud platform for industrial robots

Some people are willing to put their lives in the hands of robot cars, says survey

i, robot – will smith, robot car

Public attitudes to robotic advances in medicine, transport and the home polled ahead of first ever UK Robotics Week – 25th June to 1st July 2016 

More than a quarter of UK adults polled in the UK Robotics Week survey believe that the biggest benefit of driverless cars will be fewer road accidents, a survey has found.

The research, commissioned by the EPSRC UK-RAS Network, is being released ahead of the first ever UK Robotics Week (25 June to 1 July 2016).   Continue reading Some people are willing to put their lives in the hands of robot cars, says survey

Apple robot plunders $40 million worth of gold from discarded iPhones

apple liam robot
The Apple Liam robot deconstructs iPhones and saves components and materials for recycling

An Apple master robot with 29 arms and modules has looted $40 million worth of gold from discarded iPhones, according to a report by CNN

The exverimental robot, named Liam, is reportedly able to disassemble an iPhone and recover all of the components and materials inside within 11 seconds.

Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of environment, says Liam is designed to help recover and recycle material, as part of the company’s eco-friendly policies, or a “circular economy”, as Jackson calls it.

Apple is said to be using 100 per cent renewable power in 25 countries including the US and China.

Liam is currently operating in California and the Netherlands, and Apple plans to introduce the robot into other territories around the world.

Yaskawa launches new collaborative industrial robots at Automatica

Yaskawa has launched a new collaborative industrial robot range at Automatica, along with a number of other innovations, including a new compact controller. 

The hotly anticipated collaborative Motoman HC10 is consistent with the plan to position Yaskawa as one of the world’s leading robot manufacturers in the area of human-robot collaboration.

The manufacturer of Motoman industrial robots is presenting the new development outside Japan for the first time at its stand in the new robotic technology hall (B6-502).  Continue reading Yaskawa launches new collaborative industrial robots at Automatica

Universal Robots launches app store and developer program

Universal Robots, has launched something it calls “Universal Robots+” at the Automatica event in Munich. Basically, it’s a sort of app store aimed at creating an ecosystem around UR’s collaborative robots. 

In a statement, the company says Universal Robots+ is “a showroom of plug and play application solutions offering a new level of simplicity for companies that want to hit the ground running when installing their next UR robot application”.

By choosing accessories, end-effectors, and software solutions from Universal Robots+, both distributors and end users get “high security and predictability that applications will run well from the start, saving weeks and months in the integration process from concept to operation of the UR cobots”, says Universal Robots.

The company has also launched the associated +You developer program, which  is free-of-charge and offers a “powerful marketing and support platform for the flourishing eco-system of UR-robot application developers”.  Continue reading Universal Robots launches app store and developer program

Robotiq launches camera system for industrial robot hand

Robotiq, a maker of robotic grippers for industrial robots, has launched a vision-guidance system for pick and place robots

The company, which mainly makes 2-finger and 3-finger grippers for Universal Robots, says its camera can be set up in “five minutes and makes vision easy to integrate”.

The new camera component was developed as part of the URCaps, an app store and software and hardware developer program launched by Universal Robots.

Robotiq had made its vision system available to some of its customers, including Continental, known for making car tyres among other things.  Continue reading Robotiq launches camera system for industrial robot hand

Automatica: The greatest show of robotics and automation technology on Earth. Probably

automatica munich

Now in its seventh year, Automatica is one of the most eagerly-awaited trade fairs in the robotics and automation industry events calendar. 

The four-day show will be hosted in Munich, Germany, and its organisers say it provides a “comprehensive look at the latest developments” in the sector, with around 1,000 companies taking part.  Continue reading Automatica: The greatest show of robotics and automation technology on Earth. Probably

IBM teams up with Local Motors to launch self-driving vehicle

local motors ceo john rogers, olli self-driving vehicle, ibm watson
Local Motors CEO and co-founder John Rogers with Olli. (Rich Riggins/Feature Photo Service for IBM)

Local Motors, a vehicle technology integrator and claimed to be the creator of the world’s first 3D-printed cars, has introduced the first self-driving vehicle to integrate the advanced cognitive computing capabilities of IBM Watson

The vehicle, dubbed “Olli”, was unveiled during the opening of a new Local Motors facility in National Harbor, MD last week, and transported Local Motors CEO and co-founder John Rogers along with vehicle designer Edgar Sarmiento from the Local Motors co-creation community into the new facility.

The electric vehicle, which can carry up to 12 people, is equipped with some of the world’s most advanced vehicle technology, including IBM Watson Internet of Things (IoT) for Automotive, to improve the passenger experience and allow natural interaction with the vehicle.  Continue reading IBM teams up with Local Motors to launch self-driving vehicle

White House could replace millions of US government workers with robots

IPSoft’s Amelia digital assistant
IPSoft’s Amelia digital assistant, which recently found a government job in the UK

The White House is preparing to replace millions of US government workers with robots, if comments by a senior technology official is anything to go by. 

Writing on the White House blog, Ed Felten, deputy US chief technology officer, says the government is working with various agencies to integrate artificial intelligence systems into its operations.

His title for the piece takes the view that the government is “preparing for the future”, and talks of the “tremendous opportunities… across the federal government in privacy, security, regulation, law, and research and development” in incorporating AI into government.

The US government currently employs approximately 22 million humans.

Continue reading White House could replace millions of US government workers with robots

Raspberry Pi could help farmers manage crops better and more cheaply than current systems, say scientists

Rasperry Pi computers are being used to manage crops on farms
Scientists are using Raspberry Pi computers to manage large-scale farms

Raspberry Pi may be strongly associated with hobbyists, but now it’s been recruited as a farm hand. 

Inventors of the credit-card sized computers have shipped more than 5 million units at less than $50 each since launch in 2012. Most of them have found their way into toy cars and other devices.

But now a team of researchers has integrated Raspberry Pi into what’s called an “automated field phenomics” system, or what could be thought of as a sophisticated scarecrow. And the team claims their system will cost a fraction of the phenotyping solutions currently on the market.  Continue reading Raspberry Pi could help farmers manage crops better and more cheaply than current systems, say scientists

German Chancellor Angela Merkel looking for a ‘good solution’ in response to Chinese bid for Kuka Robots

chancellor anglea merkel
Chancellor Angela Merkel says she does not see why there cannot be a German solution to the Chinese takeover of Kuka Robots

Chancellor Angela Merkel is reported by Reuters news agency as saying she is looking for a “good solution” in response to the Chinese takeover bid for Kuka, one of the biggest industrial robot manufacturers in the world.

Midea, a Chinese producer of household appliances, recently offered $5 billion to take over Kuka, and the robot-maker’s chairman, Dr Till Reuter, has already said the bid “can support our strategy”.

However, Dr Reuter’s apparently positive vibes has many in Germany seething and looking for a counter-offer which will keep Kuka under German control.  Continue reading German Chancellor Angela Merkel looking for a ‘good solution’ in response to Chinese bid for Kuka Robots

Emerson drives streamline port crane application

crane at the DB Port Szczecin container terminal

Measuring over 100m wide and over 60m high and with a lifting capacity of 45t, the port crane used for loading and unloading containers is one of the many items of equipment that have been modernised during the current year by Apator Control engineers.

The crane at the DB Port Szczecin container terminal has undergone a thorough electrical and mechanical refit.

As part of the electrical overhaul, Apator Control used systems from the company Control Techniques: Unidrive M AC and Mentor MP DC drives controlled by the Simatic S7 Programmable Logic Controller (PLC).  Continue reading Emerson drives streamline port crane application

‘Robotics and automation will play a key role for UK manufacturers,’ says Siemens

siemens digital transformation 1

Exclusive interview with Alan Norbury, industrial central technology officer at Siemens UK

German industrial giant Siemens employs approximately 15,000 people at some 30 locations across the UK. Globally, it employs around 350,000 and has annual revenues of more than €75 billion. It is said to be the largest engineering company in Europe. It’s also claimed to employ more computer programmers than does Microsoft. 

With the European Union referendum looming over the UK, the company’s senior executives have made their views clear, with the UK chief executive of the 165-year-old Siemens, Jurgen Maier, saying manufacturing jobs would be at risk if Britain left the EU.

The UK exports almost €150 billion of physical goods to the EU, and it is estimated that around 1 million jobs in the UK are linked to EU trade.

Moreover, some analysts say that for every one job created in manufacturing, several more jobs are created in other sectors, such as information technology, for example, especially now when the internet of things is spreading rapidly across all sectors of industry.  Continue reading ‘Robotics and automation will play a key role for UK manufacturers,’ says Siemens

‘Nobody understands me,’ moans Industry 4.0

imeche Factory_Automation_Robotics_Palettizing_Bread

Only 8 per cent of UK manufacturers have a significant understanding of Industry 4.0 processes despite 59 per cent recognising that the fourth industrial revolution will have a big impact on the sector, according to a new report published today by accountancy and business advisory firm BDO in association with the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE).

As the increasing use of automation, data exchange, technology and wider supply chain communications driven by Industry 4.0 provides both huge opportunities and threats to UK manufacturing, there remains a “gaping hole” in the education and understanding of Industry 4.0, says the report.

According to the BDO/IMechE study, increased productivity, better data analysis, increased competitiveness and lower manufacturing costs are the top ways in which Industry 4.0 will affect UK manufacturing. Continue reading ‘Nobody understands me,’ moans Industry 4.0