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Universal Robots, Phillips Team up For Haas CNC Machine Integration

Attendees at a demonstration day see how Universal Robots cobots work with CNC machines. Image: Universal Robots

August 09, 2019      

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Universal Robots and Phillips Corp. this week announced a new distributor agreement that aims to further the rapid deployment of cobots with Haas CNC machines, giving machine shops a robotic option for unloading and unloading of the machines.

Stuart Shepherd, regional director of sales, Americas, at Universal Robots

Stuart Shepherd, regional director of sales, Americas, at Universal Robots

“Having an expensive machine sit idle and missing out on orders due to lack of staffing is every manufacturer’s nightmare,” said Stu Shepherd, regional sales director for the Americas division of Universal Robots. “This partnership between the largest distributor of the leading CNC brand and the leading collaborative robot brand offers a huge advantage for manufacturers, helping them solve staffing issues and stay competitive. We expect this new partnership to fast-track cobots in this sector, with significant advantages for manufacturers.”

Universal said it has sold more than 1,000 UR cobots for tending Haas CNC machines. Philips said it is the world’s largest Haas Factory Outlet, offering nine offices representing 12 states throughout the South and Mid-Atlantic regions in the U.S. It has an installed base of more than 19,000 Haas CNC machines.

“There is tremendous potential both for retrofitting existing installations with UR cobots and for getting through the door to new customers, offering turn-key solutions,” said Michael Garner, president of Phillips‘ commercial division, and also chairman of Haas Automation’s North American distributor council. “We see a significant demand for cobots, which address labor shortages and also support manufacturers who need flexible automation tools they can operate without safety caging. There is no hardwiring or complex coding involved in getting a Universal Robot to communicate with a Haas machine, since UR has solutions like the VersaBuilt software that facilitates two-way communication between the UR robot and the CNC.”

VersaBuilt, which is available through Universal’s UR+ platform, includes a Haas CNC Integration Kit that enables the cobots to execute any machining program stored on the Haas CNC directly through the cobot’s own teach pendant, the company said. More than 60 different Haas models can be automated with the UR cobot arms, the company added.

“Machine tending applications have consistently delivered an ROI of less than a year, sometimes even paying themselves back in a few months,” said Shepherd. “A Haas-UR solution offered with Phillips’ CNC expertise and application know-how will help further improve that payback time.”

The global market for collaborative robots is expected to reach $10.14 billion by 2025, with a compound annual growth rate of 44.5%, according to a report by Grand View Research.