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Cobots Set To Benefit Businesses In Asia

Cobots Set To Benefit Businesses In Asia

Strong growth for cobot projected from 2020 to 2026 with Asia expected to surpass Europe by 2021

In a report by the World Robotics 2020 Industrial Report, it shows a record of 2.7 million industrial robots operating in factories globally, with 373,000 units shipped in 2019. In fact, Singapore has the highest density of industrial robots with 918 industrial robots used per 10,000 employees. In Singapore, top installations of industrial robots are found in electrical & electronics industry, followed by rubber and plastics, metal and machinery, food and others in no specific order of installation numbers. Increasing move towards automation in the production of electronic devices will continue to push robot installations in Singapore, and other Asian countries, including Republic of Korea, Japan and Taiwan.

Amongst industrial robots, collaborative robots (cobots) continues to be fastest growing segment of industrial automation, projected to grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 41.8 percent globally during 2020 to 2026, in a report by MarketsandMarkets. Asia Pacific cobot market is projected to become the largest cobot market worldwide, growing at a CAGR of 45.46 percent, with an addressable cumulative market value of $13.17 billion over the next 7 years in terms of cobot hardware.

The growth of collaborative robots is fuelled mainly by the advantages it offers, such as effective employee utilisation, higher productivity and flexibility in redeployment. One of the most significant difference between industrial robots and cobots, is the ability of cobots to interact safely with humans in a shared workspace. Manufacturing and assembly plants, especially in developed countries, are expected to adopt cobots quickly.

“With the world battling COVID-19, 2020 delivered some ingenious cobot implementations. From personal protective equipment manufacturing to swab testing, collaborative robots (cobots) are improving the efficiency, safety, and quality of countless processes. The vast majority of cobot implementations are found in electronics and automotive manufacturing and industrial environments, but cobots have the flexibility to be used in a wide variety of sectors from agriculture and medical to pharma,” said James McKew, Regional Director of Asia-Pacific in Universal Robots.

“The experience of 2020 and the uncertainty that we are facing in 2021, are driving companies to review their business strategies and workspace transformation. The pandemic is accelerating interest in cobots as it enables safe distancing in manufacturing and assembly plants to minimise the potential spread of infections, while fully engaging workers productively and efficiently,” he added.

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How To Quickly, Easily And Automatically Measure Radii And Defects

How to Quickly, Easily and Automatically Measure Radii and Defects

Highly specialised aerospace engine components such as turbine blades and discs or blisks involve a number of metrological challenges. Here’s how MTU Aero Engines are addressing them all. Article by Bruker Alicona.

The automatic measurement and evaluation of radii, chamfers and break edge on turbine engine components is one of many criteria in modern quality assurance at MTU Aero Engines. Currently three Cobot systems from Bruker Alicona are in use for break edge measurement. On top, the optical measuring solutions replace labor intensive replica techniques and tactile methods in defect measurement.

“If there’s a burr, this could become a danger point in the engine,” says Michael Duffek, inspection planner at MTU Aero Engines, and also responsible for quality assurance of turbine engine components. For the company, automated measurement and evaluation of edges, radii and chamfers of engine components is an important part of modern, state-of-the-art measurement technology.

Highly specialized components such as turbine blades, turbine discs or blisks (blade integrated disk) are measured, and they involve a number of metrological challenges. These include, for example, the complex geometry with steep flanks as well as varying reflection properties of the components. Different surface reflections occur due to varying manufacturing processes, as surfaces to be measured are either coated, and thus matt, or ground, and thus highly reflective.

For a suitable measuring system, this means that it must not only offer the required automation options including standard-compliant evaluation, but must also be able to measure complex, difficult-to-access geometries with tight tolerances and matt to reflective surfaces in high resolution and repeatability. A further requirement is the integration into a production process including integration into the existing IT environment.

“And the whole thing has to be fast and straightforward,” Duffek says. As a result, there are now 15 Bruker Alicona measurement systems in use at MTU locations worldwide, 11 of which are located at the test centers of the German headquarters in Munich. This is also where the automated measurement of turbine engine components takes place, which are implemented with measuring equipment from the Bruker Alicona Cobot line.

Combine an Optical 3D Sensor with a Collaborative Robot

Cobots are a combination of a collaborative 6-axis robot and a high-resolution optical 3D measurement sensor to be used for the automatic inspection of microgeometries on large components. In the aerospace industry, the measurement of deburred edges, also known as “break edge measurement”, on turbine disks and turbine housings are the most common applications. Bruker Alicona Cobots have been available on the market since 2017, and even then “nothing comparable has existed, at least we are not aware of any system. What the Cobot already offered three years ago at the market launch was unique. All the other manufacturers we evaluated would have had to start at the development stage,” Duffek recalls. He is now a ‘Cobot expert’ because under his leadership, three systems for the automated measurement of edges, radii and defects are currently in use in Munich.

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Trumpf Enters The World Of Automated Arc Welding

Trumpf Enters The World Of Automated Arc Welding

Trumpf has released its first automated arc welding system. The TruArc Weld 1000 comes with a collaborative robot known as a “cobot”. After the operator has manually guided it over a component, the cobot then automatically carries out the weld. It is significantly more efficient than would be possible manually. With the new system, Trumpf is responding to the increasing lack of skilled workers and helps fabricators get started with automated welding. CE-compliant and approved by TÜV Austria, the TruArc Weld 1000 meets the very highest safety standards.

Unlike conventional industrial robots, operators can interact with the cobot, guiding it over the part by hand. A built-in sensor ensures it responds smoothly. Trumpf has equipped the cobot with an operating unit. This lets users store the weld path’s start and end points as well as intermediate waypoints in order to create the program. Furthermore, the cobot control system includes templates for welding programs and parameters that cover scenarios such as different sheet thicknesses. Combined with the operating unit on the welding torch, this greatly simplifies the task of programming the robot. This enables users to program and weld with the TruArc Weld 1000 within minutes. Next to no previous experience is needed handling the system.

READ: Trumpf Enables Automated Removal, Stacking of Parts

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Small batches, great results

The TruArc Weld 1000 offers an automated alternative for many parts that users would normally weld by hand. Thanks to the rapid programming, fabricators have an affordable means of tackling short production runs and one-off pieces, even if the parts only require a short weld seam. The TruArc Weld 1000 produces reproducibly straight and even seams, prevents spatter and offers very high machining quality.

Inside the TruArc Weld 1000 is a partition that can be raised and lowered. This allows users to divide up the working area and choose between welding one large part (single-station operation) or several smaller ones (two-station operation). In single-station operation, the robot can weld parts measuring up to 2000 x 600 x 600 millimeters. Other ratios of width to length are also possible depending on part dimensions. In two-station operation, the TruArc Weld 1000 can process smaller parts measuring up to 600 x 600 x 600 millimeters. To ensure it can easily reach both stations, the robot travels between two positions along a linear axis. While it is busy welding on one side, the operator can use the time to set up a part on the other side. The robot program can be transferred automatically from one station to the other.

Ready to go with no training required

Customers can carry out commissioning of the CE-compliant TruArc Weld 1000 themselves within a few hours using the dedicated video tutorials. From the wire coil to the welding parameters, the system comes with everything you need to get started with the welding process. No classroom training is required for machine operators. The video tutorials contain all the information required to quickly learn how to operate and program the machine.

 

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New Mounting Clamps For Cobots

New Mounting Clamps For Cobots

Safety plays a key role when humans and robots work hand in hand in the industry. That is why users of cobots and industrial robots are already using igus’ multi-axis round triflex R e-chains for energy and data supply. To easily attach these energy chains and increase work safety in industry, igus has now developed new plastic mounting clamps. With quick installation, these minimise the risk of injury with their rounded edge design. By igus

In the course of Industry 4.0, the interaction between humans and machines is increasingly becoming the focus of automation. Therefore, collaborative robots will play an increasingly role in the future. Currently, cobots are mainly used as assistants in simple or interacting activities and – in contrast to large and fast industrial robots – work hand in hand with humans. For reliable energy supply to cobots and industrial robots, igus offers the optimal energy chain solution with its triflex R range. In addition to metal clamps, customers can now use new cobot designed clamps to attach the energy chain to the robot arm. The design with rounded edges increases workplace safety by reducing the risk of injury when in contact with the robot. The plastic clamps can be quickly attached to the arm of the robot by a screw connection. The triflex R is simply attached to the clamp by a clip and fixed. The new clamps are suitable for cobots from Universal Robots, TMS and Kuka LBR iiwa robot arms.

Triflex Energy Chains For A Safe Energy Supply On The Robot

The triflex R range has been specifically developed for sophisticated 6-axis robots in industrial environments. By combining the flexibility of a hose with the stability of an energy chain, the round triflex R ensures reliable cable guidance in multi-axis movements. A ball/socket principle ensures high tensile strength and easy installation of the e-chain. The interior separation is freely selectable. The circular bend radius stop and the high twistability of the e-chain prevent the over-stressing of cables – this system increases the service life and operational reliability of the application. The triflex e-chains are available as a complete package with cobot designed clamps, cables and connectors immediately ready for connection.

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Four Providers Of Cobots Named IDC Innovators

Four Providers Of Cobots Named IDC Innovators

International Data Corporation (IDC) has published an IDC Innovators report profiling four companies developing collaborative robots to help drive the adoption of collaborative robotic automation and elevate the overall competitiveness of the end-user organisations. The four companies named IDC Innovators are AUBO Robotics, Franka Emika, JK-Tech Robotics, and Techman Robotics.

Intelligent collaborative robots (cobots) equipped with sensors, visions, mobility, and data analytics are finding their sweet spot applications in manufacturing, logistics, and other industries. The deployment of cobots have experienced significant growth in recent years. This trend is expected to continue in the coming years, fueled by the maturity of technology, availability of a broader range of solutions, and the accumulation of application experiences by the user community and ecosystem players.

“Cobots are being increasingly deployed by many manufacturing and logistics organizations to increase operations efficiency, agility, and product quality,” said Jing Bing Zhang, Research Director, IDC Worldwide Robotics. “With more and more vendors entering the market, it becomes imperative for vendors to focus on delivering highly differentiable and value-added solutions to address the pain points of the target customers.”

AUBO Robotics has developed several cobot models featuring high positional repeatability, open architecture and modular joint design. Users can customise the number of joints and the length between the joints to meet specific application requirements.

Franka Emika offers a seven-axis, modular, and ultra-lightweight cobots designed to interact with and assist humans safely. The company also provides Conformité Européenne (CE)-certified out of the box solution app packages for pre-defined applications.

JK-Tech Robotics has developed highly sensitive seven-axis robots with integrated torque sensors for all seven joints. This ensures that the cobots are highly sensitive, flexible, and responsive to external contact and resistance.

Techman Robotics offers several models of cobots and mobile cobots with integrated visions systems, which increases the versatility and flexibility of its robots in carrying out industrial tasks and eliminates the need for precise presentation of materials to be handled.

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Universal Robots Celebrates 10 Year Anniversary Of Selling The World’s First Commercially Viable Cobot

Universal Robots Celebrates 10 Year Anniversary Of Selling The World’s First Commercially Viable Cobot

10 years ago, Universal Robots’ (UR) Co-Founder and CTO, Esben Østergaard, delivered the company’s first cobot to Linatex after leading a small team through three years of development in a basement at the University of Southern Denmark.

10 years later, he was awarded the Engelberger Award, the “Nobel Prize” of robotics, for his pioneering role in developing cobots. Regarding this, Østergaard has said, “10 years might seem like a long time, and it’s definitely been quite a journey; but we’ve only just started to scratch the surface,” he added that, “I continue to see our cobots power new applications that we never imagined when we first launched.”

Lowering The Automation Barrier

In 2016 UR launched Universal Robots+, a new platform that leverages the company’s innovative global ecosystem by enabling 3rd party developers to create products – such as grippers, vision systems, software, and other accessories – that are certified to work seamlessly with UR cobots. The UR+ showroom now includes around 130 certified UR+ products and 390+ approved commercial developer companies in the UR+ developer program.

A year later, in 2017, Universal Robots Academy was launched to raise robot literacy. It consists of nine free-of-charge interactive modules of online training in mastering programming, set-up and operation of UR cobots. The program has been widely adopted worldwide, with more than 45,000 users from over 130 countries signed up as modules have become available in eight languages including English, Spanish, German, French, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Thai. To date, UR is the only cobot vendor offering robotics training of this caliber for free.

“We are facing a looming skills gap in the manufacturing industry that we need to bridge by all means possible. Facilitating knowledge creation and access to our robots is an important step in that direction,” said Esben Østergaard, UR’s co-founder and CTO.

Innovation Is Imperative

Cobots are now the fastest-growing segment of industrial automation and growth is expected to jump ten-fold to reach 34 percent of all industrial robot sales by 2025, according to the Robotic Industries Association (RIA). As a first mover Universal Robots (UR) has kept its market leader position with a 60 percent global share of the cobot market according to BIS Research, selling more cobots than all competitors combined.

However, as the cobot market is experiencing an increasing number of competitors – both from the established industrial players and start-ups – it is vital, to keep ahead of the curve and in June, UR launched a brand-new generation of its cobots, the e-Series, which is a platform that raises the standard for collaborative robots, and enables even faster solution development and deployment of a wider variety of applications.

Last year the company grew 72 percent and earlier in 2018, the company marked its 25,000th cobot sale by delivering a limited edition in gold. To date, the company has sold more than 27,000 cobots around the world.

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Universal Robots: E-Series Cobot

Universal Robots: e-Series Cobot

Universal Robots’s new e-Series cobot platform includes technology advances that enable faster development for a wider variety of applications. Improvements include the ability to economically address even more applications, thanks to greater precision and sensitivity provided by a built-in, tool-centric Force/Torque sensor.

Like other offerings from the company, the new e-Series offers unparalleled convenience. It takes just one hour to unpack the cobot, mount it and program the first task. A wrist-join-tool communication interface reduces production line integration time and complexity. Meanwhile, from a service standpoint, all joints can be replaced in 2 to 6 minutes. A re-designed intuitive and responsive-touch user interface expedites program development by simplifying programming to a few clicks on a new lightweight, wide-screen Teach Pendant.

Seventeen safety functions, including customisable stopping time and distance, make collaborative automation easier.

Co-founder And CTO Of Universal Robots Wins Engelberger Award 2018—The “Nobel Prize” Of Robotics

Co-founder And CTO Of Universal Robots Wins Engelberger Award 2018—The “Nobel Prize” Of Robotics

Singapore: Esben Østergaard, co-founder and chief technology officer (CTO) of Universal Robots (UR)—a market leader of collaborative robots—has been awarded the automation industry’s most prestigious honour, the Engelberger Robotics Award.

The American Robotic Industries Association (RIA) announced Esben Østergaard as the recipient of the Engelberger Robotics Award 2018. Østergaard spearheads the development of UR’s collaborative robot arms (cobots), representing one of the most significant technology breakthroughs coming out of the robotics community in decades.

The company has sold over 23,500 cobots, used in thousands of production environments, benefitting businesses globally, across various traditional and non-traditional industries.

In Southeast Asia, cobots have strong adoption in the electronics, semiconductor, metal and machining, automotive, food and beverage, and pharma sectors. The company has expanded its distribution network in the region through channel partners—distributors and system integrators—to cater to rising demand.

Jeff Burnstein, president of RIA, calls the UR CTO a visionary in defining a new category of robotics. “His work in the field of collaborative robot applications has allowed robots to enter previously unthinkable sectors in just about every industry,” said Burnstein.

Burnstein added: “Esben Østergaard’s emphasis on robots that work side-by-side with people and are easy to use has created enormous interest among many small- and medium-sized companies who never even considered robots before. In a world that is increasingly characterised by people and robots working together, Esben’s pioneering technology advances play a pivotal role.”

UR’s 2008 launch of the world’s first commercially-viable robot able to operate safely outside enclosures alongside people came at great financial risks in a market unaccustomed to human-robot collaboration. Yet Esben Østergaard and his team prevailed by offering the industry a robot that was not only safe to work with but also lightweight, easy to use and flexible.

These accomplishments have placed UR as the unrivalled market leader of collaborative robots—also referred to as “cobots”—with a current 58 percent share of all cobots sold worldwide, posting a rapid 72 percent growth in 2017.

“I am deeply honoured to win the award named after Joseph Engelberger, who revolutionised industrial manufacturing with robotics. Engelberger’s view that a robot should be able to handle a range of tasks in a factory aligns with Universal Robots’ core mission, and I am a great admirer of his work,” said Esben Østergaard.

Esben Østergaard leads a team of developers that became the first to launch user-friendly, yet sophisticated, 3D robot programming via an intuitive tablet interface. This has enabled users with no previous programming experience to quickly set up and operate the UR robots.

Safety Consideration In Cobots

He also developed the robot’s force and safety control features, which ensure that if the robot collides with a person, the robot automatically stops operating and does not cause bodily harm, adhering to the current safety requirements on force and torque limitations. These features have eliminated the need for safety guarding in a vast majority of the UR robot applications currently installed, and remain a trailblazer for the “collaborative robot” concept.

Safety, however, according to Esben Østergaard, is just “the cost of entry” in the cobot market. He continues to propel UR’s frontrunner position by constantly raising the bar for what the term “collaborative” entails—the label not only means humans can collaborate directly with the robots potentially with no safety guarding between them. The term also addresses the ease of use—a robot is not truly collaborative if it is not affordable and easy to work with.

“We want to place control of factory automation back into the hands of operators, instead of replacing people we want to give them a tool to do their work more efficiently,” said the Engelberger award winner.

“We want to remove them from working like robots to becoming robot programmers and handling more value-added tasks. Doing this will perhaps be the best long-term result derived from leveraging collaborative robots,” explained Esben Østergaard calling this new era, the 5th industrial revolution.

He added: “This redeployment of human creativity interspersed with the robot’s repeatability addresses the market evolvement and customer requirements demanding a high degree of product individualisation. It is qualitative change both in the products made and for the people making them.”

According to a report by the International Federation of Robotics, an average of 63 industrial robots were installed per 10,000 employees in Asia. In Southeast Asia, robot density is led by Singapore with 488 units per 10,000 employees, followed by Thailand and Malaysia with 45 units and 34 units respectively.

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