News and Notes from Day 1 at ProMat/Automate 2019

Attendees of the CRO Summit at ProMat learn about strategies for deploying robots at their companies. Source: Robotics Business Review.

April 09, 2019      

CHICAGO – Plenty of robots and robotics solutions were on display for the opening day festivities at the ProMat and Automate shows, as attendees from the supply chain, logistics, and manufacturing industries aimed to learn more about how robots can help improve their businesses.

We’ve already highlighted some of the news announcements that have come out at the show, here are some additional company announcements we learned while meeting with companies:

Productive Robotics show teachable cobots

Productive Robotics (booth N6957) unveiled its full line of next-generation teachable collaborative robots at the event. Based in Santa Barbara, Calif., Productive has added “an enhanced human sense of vision to its teach-and-learn platform” which gives customers an additional offering for end users.

“The Productive Robotics design and engineering team started building robots for movie special effects in the 1980s,” said Zac Bogart, president and CEO of Productive Robotics. “We’ve combined that level of expertise with the latest technology to offer customers the simplest, most flexible, innovative and cost-effective lineup of next-generation collaborative robots in the market.”

Productive Robotics OB7 bottling example

The OB7 model from Productive Robotics is a 7-axis model that can provide more flexibility for cobot applications. Source: Productive Robotics

The company was showing its 7-axis OB7-Max 8 and OB7-Max 12 at the show, rounding out its line based on the success of its original OB7 cobot. The OB7-Max 8 has a payload up to 8 kg and a 1,700 mm reach, while the OB7-Max 12 can handle payloads up to 12 kg with up to 1,300 mm reach.

Productive Robotics said the OB7 models can automatically learn to recognize and pick up objects with a single push, and that by the end of the year, it will be equipped with an improved sense of touch. The additional axis gives OB7 “the flexibility and dexterity to reach around objects or obstacles where other’s can’t,” as each of the joints can rotate 360 degrees in both directions.

ROEQ debuts top roller module for MiR1000

Just minutes after MiR announced its MiR1000 mobile robot that can handle loads up to 1,000 kg (slightly more than 1 ton), ROEQ (short for “Robotic Equipment) announced its TR1000 Top Roller, a conveyor solution that can connect the MiR Robots to other conveyor systems.

TR1000 ROEQ top roller

The TR1000 from ROEQ provides conveyor connectivity for the MiR1000 mobile robot. Source: ROEQ.

Working in tandem with the MiR1000, the TR1000 Top Roller can support heavy internal logstics within industrial facilities by automating the load and unload operations of the MiR1000. Think of it this way – while mobile robots like the MiR1000 can move materials from Point A to Point B, once it gets to Point B, the Top Roller system can raise to the level of an existing conveyor system and then automatically transfer the materials to the belt or other location, saving humans from the lifting part of the load or unload process.

“A mobile robot without a conveyor or top module is like a robot arm without a gripper,” said Peder Grejsen, technical sales manager for ROEQ. “Production throughput can be greatly improved when mobile robots are outfitted with intelligent top modules that self-load and unload.”

The TR1000 accommodates U.S. pallets and can be delivered with a fully automated lifter functionality for pick-up and delivery of goods in heights ranging from 23.6 inches (600mm) to 29.5 inches (750mm). The Top Roller integrates seamlessly in MiR’s own user interface where all control functions are embedded; when the robot is called to deliver or pick up goods, the conveyor communicates with the pick-up and delivery stations and will automatically activate the loading or unloading upon arrival.

“By targeting the loading and unloading of mobile robots, we are addressing that missing link in the automated logistics cycle that today is handled either by fork or pallet lifters or manually by employees,” said Grejsen. “Adding the conveyor capability strengthens the employees’ work environment by taking over ergonomically unfavorable tasks or by reducing truck traffic and noise.”

Staubli shows multiple robot collaboration application

At the Stäubli booth (#7150), the company was showing its new TS2 four-axis robots to the North American market, but also showed a scenario where multiple robots worked together, along with human workers, to accomplish tasks. In addition to the SCARA robots, the company showed

“This new series of SCARA robots has been reimagined, incorporating our JCS drive technology that has greatly improved the performance and versatility of our six-axis machines,” said Sebastien Schmitt, Robotics Division Manager, Stäubli North America. “This allows for ultra-short cycle times and enormous performance gains for the new four-axis TS2.”

The new line consists of four models, the TS2-40, TS2-60, TS2-80 and TS2-100 to provide a solution for a wide range of manufacturing scenarios. With the four-axis TS2-100, Stäubli has extended the working radius of the TS series (400 to 800 millimeters) up to 1,000 millimeters.

Staubli HelMo mobile robot

The Staubli HelMo mobile robot provides collaborative capabilities with human workers. Source: Staubli

The company also showed its HelMo mobile robot system, designed to bring flexibility to an electrical connector assembly line. The HelMo can navigate autonomously by monitoring its environment with three integrated laser scanners, and can perform tasks either fully automatically or in collaboration with humans. “Once trained, HelMo can handle almost any manual job on a variety of assembly lines,” Stäubli said. The system can navigate to its own workspace, decelerating or stopping when humans come too close, and then continue its process when humans are farther away. Built around a six-axis standard TX2-90L robot with a payload of 15 kg and reach of 1,200 mm, the system comes with a safety package that meets the requirements of SIL3/PLe, Stäubli said.

More coverage to come!

Stay tuned for additional updates, posts and other articles from the ProMat and Automate show. For the latest updates, photos, and videos, make sure to monitor the Robotics Business Review Twitter feed. If you’re at the show, make sure you stop by the CRO Summit at ProMat (located in the North Hall near the RBR booth #6360) to hear strategies around deploying robotics at your company.