CHICAGO — The International Manufacturing Technology Show, which filled the entire McCormick Place Convention Center here this week, was the venue for industrial automation vendors to display the newest robot capabilities. Robotics Business Review was at the conference to examine some of the most impressive debuts. Below is a roundup of many of them. Separate articles will look at other noteworthy robotics and software news from IMTS.
Techman Robot unveils cobots, mobile robots
Techman Robot Inc. which has been selling its products in Europe and Asia, marked its entrance into the U.S. at the show. The Taiwan-based company displayed its TM5, TM12, and MWS product series of collaborative robot arms.
The TM12 and TM14 models are new, offering larger payloads (12 kg and 14 kg, respectively) and working areas of 1100 mm and 1300 mm widths.
Techman also introduced a full series of mobile robots — TM5M, TM12M, TM14M — that feature built-in vision systems for position and identification, which the company says is especially useful in the semiconductor industry.
The TM5 includes a mobile work car as well as the company’s patented 3D landmark function to quickly interpret changes in the environment and to recalibrate the point position. This allows the TM-M robots to operate between two or more locations seamlessly, such as in mobile stacking and machine tending applications.
Another of the TM5’s robot capabilities is its built-in intelligent visual positioning, so it does not need a large jig and positioning mechanism for high-precision tasks such as screw locking.
HP Metal Jet promises 50x productivity
Hewlett-Packard Co. introduced the HP Metal Jet, which it said is up to 50 times more productive than other 3D printing methods for high-volume manufacturing of metal parts.
HP Metal Jet offers a bed size of 430 x 320 x 200mm, nozzle redundancy, and less weight than other metal 3D printing solutions, according to the company. HP Metal Jet will start with stainless-steel finished parts.
“We’re at the tipping point of an exciting new era from which there will be no return: the future of mass production with 3D printing,” stated Peter Oberparleiter, CEO of GKN Powder Metallurgy. U.K.-based GKN is producing parts for Volkswagen and other customers.
HP is also partnering with Parmatech, an ATW Company, to expand mass production of Metal Jet parts for customers including OKAY Industries, Primo Medical Group, and others in the medical industry.
The company also launched its the Metal Jet Production Service3. In first half of 2019, HP customers will be able to upload 3D design files and receive industrial-grade parts in large quantities from the new Metal Jet Production Service. The parts will be produced by HP partners GKN Powder Metallurgy and Parmatech.
Customers who want their own HP Metal Jet printers will need to wait. Commercial HP Metal Jet solutions will be offered at under $399,000 and begin shipping in 2020 to early customers. They won’t be broadly available until 2021.
FANUC expands robot capabilities
FANUC America Corp. displayed a wide variety of robot capabilities at this year’s IMTS. The company’s new SCARA robot series and a new midrange CR-15iA collaborative robot now offer unmanned order fulfillment and a hand-guidance option, respectively.
Hand guidance enables an operator to control and guide the robot arm and tooling without a teach pendant. The hand guidance robot capability enables the operator to jog or move the robot, teach the robot points on a path, and teach the robot a specific path to take
The hand guidance uses FANUC’s FS15iA force sensor. While in hand-guiding mode, the robot only moves when the operator guides it to do so.
In addition, connecting FANUC robots and CNC (computer numerical control) machines has been simplified with the company’s Quick and Simple Startup of Robotization (QSSR) feature.
Operators can use FANUC’s robot capabilities for a wider variety of applications, according to the company. New 3D vision sensor and deep-learning capabilities are designed to maximize throughput and productivity.
FANUC also displayed data-gathering capability through the FANUC Intelligent Edge Link and Drive (FIELD) system and Zero Down Time on ROBOT-LINKi (ZDT).
The FIELD system is an open platform that collects machine data and monitors the operating status of their manufacturing equipment in real time.
Third-party application developers can create and sell FIELD applications that improve the efficiency of equipment, production throughput and process quality and more using an industrial application programming interface (API) to access the data and perform analysis.
During IMTS, FANUC’s FIELD system was connected to more than 300 machines from 144 companies.