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Universal, VersaBuilt Launch Direct Interface for Cobots, CNC Machines

The URCap interface lets Universal Robots cobot users directly run CNC programs from the teach pendant. Source: Universal Robots

January 24, 2019      

Universal Robots and VersaBuilt have teamed up to create a direct interface between CNC machines and collaboration robots. The CNC Communication URCap interface for machine tending applications will be shown at Univeral’s booth at the upcoming ATX West Show, Feb. 5-7, 2019, in Anaheim, Calif.

The URCap allows a Univeral Robots cobot to easily execute any machine program stored on the CNC directly through the cobot’s own teach pendant, the companies said in a statement. Initially launching for Haas CNC machines, VersaBuilt said it will develop Universal interfaces for other popular CNC makes later this year. The interface maintains all Haas safety interlock features and works with Haas, VersaBuilt, and other third-party automatic door openers.

“VersaBuilt is excited to partner with Universal Robots to provide machine shops with automation solutions designed for high mix CNC manufacturers,” said Albert Youngwerth, CEO of VersaBuilt Robotics.

MultiGrip Universal VersaBuilt

The MultiGrip workholding system will soon be available through the UR+ platform. Source: Universal Robots

The Haas URCap will soon be available through the UR+ platform, a showcase of more than 120 products that are certified to integrate seamlessly with Universal cobots. Another product, VersaBuilt’s MultiGrip workholding system, will soon be available through the UR+ platform, the company said. MultiGrip includes an automatic vise, machinable jaws, and an end-of-arm tool for the UR robot. VersaBuilt said the MultiGrip was developed “to address the frustration experienced when working with traditional robot grippers and CNC vises.”

“We ended up asking ourselves, ‘Why can’t the robot and CNC use the same jaws?’,” said Youngwerth. The company developed the workholding system that lets the robot and CNC to share a set of MultiGrip machinable jaws for infeed, outfeed, and CNC machining, “resulting in reduced engineering costs, easier robot programming, faster setup time, and enhanced processing capabilities.”

Universal said it was important to have better integration tools between cobots and CNCs. “CNC machine tending is one of the most popular tasks to automate with collaborative robots,” said Stuart Shepherd, regional sales director for Universal Robots’ Americas division. “But there are still hurdles to overcome in achieving seamless integration. VersaBuilt’s two new products are important tools in addressing this. We’re excited to welcome them to the UR ecosystem and share their solutions with the ATX audience.”

Visumatic worker VCM-3X.2

Visumatic’s VCM-3X.2 collavorative screw driving package will soon be in the UR+ pipeline Source: Visumatic

In addition to the Versabuilt offerings, Universal said Visumatic’s VCM-3X.2 Collaborative Screw Driving Package will soon be joining the UR+ pipeline. The package delivers repeatable joining operations that are handled directly through the Universal cobot’s teach pendant. “The system communicates with a screw driver control that handles a wide range of different screw driving feeds and routines,” Universal said.

At the ATX West booth, Universal said visitors will also be able to experience a solution for random robotic case erecting. The XPAK ROBOX, powered by a UR10e cobot arm, lets packagers randomly erect any box in their suite on demand, without changeover. Universal said the design “not only enables the operator to safely and intuitively interface with the machine, ROBOX also realizes approximately 60%¬† reduction in terms of the footprint required for a similar machine using more conventional robotic technology requiring fencing.”

Show visitors will also be able to see the UR10e robots, which feature built-in force/torque sensing, safety features, and improved precision.