ProMat and Automate Day 3 News and Notes: R2-D2 and 3 Tons of Fun!

The MAV3K robot from Waypoint Robotics can support heavier loads for manufacturing environments. Source: Waypoint Robotics

April 11, 2019      

CHICAGO – Observers of these “news and notes” updates may notice a not-so-subtle casualness to the write-ups as the length of time increases while at a trade show. ProMat and Automate are no different, as we continue to see more robots (the R2-D2 model squealing a few rows over from our video booth was fun!) and meet with companies in the automation space.

Speaking of R2-D2, I discovered during Day 3 that the Star Wars Celebration event is being held right after this show, in fact with a day of overlap (April 11). The Star Wars folks will be at the other part of the McCormick Place convention center – in the West Hall area, while ProMat and Automate takes up the North and South Halls. I saw a few people wandering around carrying light sabers, in addition to the R2-D2 robot – I figure that’s going right over to that event on Friday through the weekend.

Waypoint goes big with MAV3K

At the Waypoint Robotics booth, visitors could check out MAV3K (pronounced “May-Vick”), the latest member of the company’s industrial-grade autonomous mobile robot family. MAV3K can carry items up to 3,000 pounds, with omnidirectional mobility for “smooth and nimble movement of your heaviest materials,” the company said.

Like its Vector robot, MAV3K includes support from Waypoint’s Dispatcher software, which lets companies set up the robot and have it operate autonomously in under 15 minutes. The MAV3K’s batteries also keep it moving throughout the workday, but it can also recharge by connecting to the Waypoint EnZone wireless charging system. MAV3K also includes dual-safety rated lidar sensors, a three-stage safety system and autonomous navigation are designed to have MAV3K safely find its way around a manufacturing or warehouse floor safety.

“We are thrilled to offer the workforce a better tool to move large, heavy materials,” said Jason Walker, CEO of Waypoint Robotics. “We’ve architected our products from Day 1 with the philosophy of ‘Bobby first.’ Bobby is the worker who’s been there for years and knows the job better than anyone. We’ve designed MAV3K so Bobby and workers like him can send it on missions to move the heaviest materials in his factory.”

Inspekto aims to disrupt inspection process

I had a very quick but great meeting with the leaders of Inspekto, which was honored at the Automate show with a Gold Award in the vision systems category of the Vision Systems Design Innovators Awards. After spending a few minutes talking with them, I can understand why they were honored.

Inspekto S70 Inspection R2-D2 article

The Inspekto S70 system.

Launched in November 2018, the Inspekto S70 is an “autonomous vision system” that combines a camera, light, lens and mounting aimed at industrial inspection processes. “Capable of inspecting any product, on any line, using any handling method, the system is a major tool for profitability per line for industrial plants, regardless of industry or geography,” the company said. With the company’s Plug and Inspect technology, Inspekto says the system can be installed in 30 to 60 minutes, with a price tag of just over $11,000 (€10,000).

The company said it plans on launching a new suite of applications for the platform next month at the Control trade fair for quality assurance professionals, held in Stuttgart, Germany.

“Installing the INSPEKTO S70 means that valuable staff can be moved from monotonous QA tasks to more productive roles and traditional tedious solutions replaced by simple to use and very affordable systems,” said Harel Boren, CEO and co-founder of Inspekto. “Over time, a €10,000 investment in an off-the-shelf product will save a plant hundreds of thousands and drastically improve productivity.

Inspekto Yonatan Hyatt Harel Boron

Yonatan Hyatt (left) and Harel Boren (right) from Inspekto.

“In fact, one of our customers, a world leading automotive plant, recently reported direct savings of €468,336 per year from just one location using an INSPEKTO S70 system. When you think about installing multiple systems to achieve Total QA, the impact on customer profits is extraordinary.”

The company said the S70 system has already been deployed in manufacturing plants across several industries, less than six months after launching. It claims a commercial footprint of more than 2,500 industrial plants worldwide, and the company said it plans to expand into the U.S. market as well. For more details, head to the company’s website.

Final bits and pieces

I spent most of the day conducting some video interviews with robotics leaders, including Melonee Wise from Fetch Robotics, Daniel Theobald from Vecna Robotics, Matt Yearling from PINC, and Joel Reed from IAM Robotics, among others. We plan to have those videos up soon for readers to enjoy – thanks to everyone who helped us out on that project.

Stay tuned next week for even more updates, posts, and analysis from the show, and if you’re sticking around Chicago for the Star Wars Celebration, May the Force Be With You!