QUEBEC CITY – Robotiq today launched new cobot application kits and new learning platforms for its customers and partners, in an effort to help companies “start production faster” in the manufacturing space. The announcements were made at the start of the company’s Robotiq User Conference, now in its fourth year.
More than 200 cobot experts, ranging from systems integrators to end users to Robotiq partners, gathered to discuss new applications for cobots, get hands-on training in the use of new applications, and to hear about ways they can sell cobots and cobot applications to end users in the manufacturing industries.
Jean-Phillippe Jobin, the company’s CTO, gave a rundown of the company’s new offerings during an enjoyable session that included an audience member striking a gong every time a new announcement was made, as well as a demonstration of the company’s new EPick and AirPick vacuum grippers that had a cobot arm pitching soft foam-like balls to an audience member who batted them to the audience.
The new announcements included:
- Software updates to the company’s Wrist Camera, which includes visual offset features, barcode reading and image saving.
- Application kits designed for specific cobot applications, including an external tool finishing kit that allows users to use the cobot arm and Robotiq Hand-E tool to bring a part to the finishing tool, rather than having a tool like a sander move to the part that needs finishing. Another application tool kit is the CNC Machine Tending Kit, which includes a Dual Hand-E gripper, fingertip extenders and software updates (the Machine Tending Copilot)
- Path generation features for its sanding software, which allows sanders via cobot for spherical shapes, using a nine-point trajectory training method.
- A new e-learning platform that includes courses, lessons and videos to help users learn about different applications and the tools to use with them; and the Configurator platform, which allows companies to choose products and see 3D renderings of them and the associated videos, e-books and documentation to assist members during the design phase of a cobot application.
Jobin said Robotiq had three goals in addressing the gap between companies that wanted to move from a manual process in manufacturing to a more automated process. First, the company wants to increase know-how for customers (hence the e-learning and configuration platforms). Second, it wants to provide best-in-class cobot components by creating tools that sit somewhere between a Swiss Army knife and a very specific tool like a banana slicer. Third, the company wants to focus on specific applications and provide easier methods for implementing them, hence the application kits and software updates.
The e-learning platform and configuration tools are now available, with the application kits and additional software updates scheduled to ship on Sept. 27.
Samuel Bouchard, CEO of Robotiq, said one of the goals of the user conference, as well as the development of the application kits, is to get people to think about standard ways to approach a manufacturing application with cobots.
“Focusing on the right application has a dual advantage, because if you can bundle standard solutions the application becomes easier,” said Bouchard. “But also, everybody then focuses more on the application. For example, our partners and customers see these bundled solutions, they’re going to think about these applications first instead of always starting from scratch. [The application kits] make the applications simple, but also focus everybody’s attention on these applications that we’ve seen over and over again, because we’ve seen them hundreds of times, and know what can be standard and what should remain configurable.”
Editor’s note: Robotics Business Review will have additional content from the show later in the week.