Category Archives: Robotics

AMB 2016: Robots on the rise

Expert interview with Professor Dr.-Ing. Thomas Bauernhansl / Robotics and automation technology on the rise

Robots are taking the production halls by storm and are being integrated in machine tools and automation systems to create plug-and-play modules. The increasing networking and platform connection leads to completely new control architectures. In brief: The world of machine tools is experiencing dramatic development. This will trigger plenty of discussion between exhibitors and visitors at AMB, the international exhibition for metal working, which takes place in Stuttgart from 13 to 17 September. Professor Dr.-Ing. Thomas Bauernhansl, Director of the Institute of Industrial Manufacturing and Management (IFF) at Universität Stuttgart, as well as the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation (IPA), encourages people to take the developments seriously and discuss them in an opportunistic manner.

AMB_16_PM14_ARENA2036_Uni_Stuttgart

Professor Bauernhansl, robots are taking the production halls by storm. Are robots becoming competitors to machine tools?
A robot still cannot replace the machine tool. The robot can only assume non-core processes of the machine. Examples include handling activities, or supporting and accompanying the employee who operates the machine. Typical tasks are deburring, positioning or changing workpieces. But the robot will not do the actual machining or metal cutting, because it doesn’t possess the required accuracy or dynamics. In the future, however, the transition between machine tool and portal robot could become more fluid. Its flexibility and the extremely advanced possibilities of programming speak in favour of robots. The machine tool is increasingly converging with the robot, they no longer stand side by side as separate components.

How is automation technology in the field of machine tools generally developing?
We are noticing that the machine tool competence among automation manufacturers is increasing. They are optimising the layout and system design. The topic of flexibility plays a huge role, i.e. the question of scalability from manual to semi-automated to fully automated and vice-versa. This restricts the integrative approach again somewhat. Components of machine tools must be able to be replaced quickly. For instance, integrating robots or palletising systems quickly and also removing them again. It is not only about versatility and adaptability, but also about efficiency, i.e. the topic of plug-and-produce by the machine operator.

The control technology also has to be adapted. What changes will we experience here?
The classic control technology of the machine tool is heading towards plug-and-produce. Hard-wired hardware-based NC systems no longer have a future. For plug-and-produce the respective components need to be more intelligent, i.e. in the robot arm, gripper, spindle, feed conveyor, etc. These autonomous systems have their own microcontrollers and register on a platform via an interface. They communicate what services they provide, and the employee at the machine can then configure it to a smart workflow. With the ever-increasing bandwidth and latency of the networks, one can outsource services from the machine tool and offer them, for example, on cloud-based platforms. In the end only a few tasks such as security are still performed locally. Functionality as a service is a big trend.

How does automation technology deal with diverse requirements due on the one hand to mass production, and on the other to increasing individualisation of the products?
There will always be mass production, but increasingly the customised product, which is adapted to the individual needs of the customer. The automation of mass production is very advanced. Here it is not only about making the processes more robust through the clever use of data and retrieving the very last percentage. In contrast, customisation demands a high degree of flexibility, i.e. the ability to convert within seconds or even during the process. These topics require a different type of automation technology with corresponding adaptability and versatility, perhaps in the future the ability of independent optimisation in communication with the component.

A question which will also be discussed with great controversy at AMB: Where is Germany on an international comparison?
This topic is gaining considerable momentum in the USA, Japan, Korea and now also in China. In Germany we need to take this development seriously and deal with the issue intensively. The surveys are alarming, on the one hand 80 to 90 percent of companies state they are affected by the development, but only between ten and 20 percent of these companies are giving serious thought to the matter. We have to do more, become more determined and more companies have to get involved in the development. Above all we need to discuss the matter in an opportunistic manner and not only analyse the risks.

Robots at AMB
The manufacturers ABB Automation (Stand 5D32), Erowa System Technologies (Stand 7C77), Fanuc Germany (Stand 7B51), Kuka Roboter (Stand 8A69) and Mitsubishi Electric Europe (Stand 5D74) present their latest generations of robots at AMB in Stuttgart. Over 30 exhibitors showcase handling and automation solutions with robotics.

www.messe-stuttgart.de/amb

Robotised finishing center

Well known for its multifunctional machining centers (rotary transfer machines), Precitrame Machines SA is also a historical provider of high performance polishing machines. The company has just presented a concept of robotic linear transfer machining centers with features that open new perspectives in terms of finishing and polishing. Meeting with Mr. Vincenzo Bonavoglia, Sales Director of the company.

Under a relatively small footprint, the Cyberpolish 640 T can offer up to 5 online cells offering two workstations each. It is controlled through the new Cybermotion 5.0 that offers features never seen before as the high performance trajectory following and the simultaneous management of six robots.
Under a relatively small footprint, the Cyberpolish 640 T can offer up to 5 online cells with two workstations each. It is controlled through the new Cybermotion 5.0 that offers features never seen before as the high performance trajectory following and the simultaneous management of six robots.

The basic concept is simple, let’s imagine a working cell including a robot and two workstations allowing six or seven axes machining. Then let’s multiply these cells to create machines with two to five stations. Parts are gripped in holding devices that move from one station to the next. Thus, it is possible to implement a global chain of finishing (e.g. deburring, felting, polishing and brightening) within a single machine, and in one clamping.

Incomparable cycle time and flexibility
The logic of the sequential work on several stations (and therefore always with operations in hidden time) allows the achievement of extremely short cycle times. Compared with a conventional solution, the tests show gains of 5 times or more.

To gain steps of production?
Nowadays the quality produced by machining centers is steadily increasing and, depending on the part to be done, they can be directly loaded into the Cyberpolish T for all operations from grinding to brightening without having to pass through a specific grinding machine before. M. Bonavoglia says: “In some cases, specialised grinding operations before finishing are always necessary, but for all the others, we can directly finish the parts in one machine and in one clamping just after the milling operations”.

Precitrame will be present at the next AMB with a multifunctional machining centre that will perform an automotive part. The new Cyberpolish series T will be shown through the many multimedia tools of the company.

Precitrame Machines SA
Grand-Rue 5
CH-2720 Tramelan
Tél. +41 32 486 88 50
Fax +41 32 486 88 51
[email protected]
www.precitrame.com

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LBR iiwa – intelligent, innovative, inspiring

At the EPHJ/EPMT/SMT show Kuka presents its new sensitive robot, the LBR iiwa. According to the discussions on the booth and the various demonstrations to see there, this robot opens completely new fields for robotics.
Kuka_Ephj
The LBR iiwa represents the fulfillment of Kuka’s promise to the market to present a lightweight industrial duty robot. Kuka engineers have developed a machine that opens the door to completely new automation possibilities. With mechanical and drive systems designed for industrial use, the sensitive and yielding LBR iiwa rings in an entirely new era in robotics. These capabilities are reflected in the new lightweight robot’s name: LBR iiwa – intelligent industrial work assistant.

New way to programme
This new device is programmed using Java and no longer the classical Kuka system. According to Kuka specialists, this allow not only the device to be far better integrated in the human world, but is also allows many people to be quickly at ease with it. Indeed, the robot can also be programming by apprenticeship/repetition. I did it yesterday!

Kuka presents this exciting new LBR iiwa in Geneva till the end of the week. If you plan to go to the show, don’t miss the LBR iiwa, it is worth the detour.

www.ephj.ch
www.kuka-robotics.com

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The world’s first lightweight industrial robot at EPHJ/EPMT/SMT

LBR iiwa – intelligent industrial work assistant – is KUKA’s new lightweight robot. Equipped with industrial duty mechanics and drive systems, it is sensitive, yielding, precise, flexible and can be used to automate delicate, complex assembly tasks that were beyond the capabilities of robots to date.
Kuka LBR iiwa
Design based on the human arm
LBR iiwa has seven axes and was designed to replicate a human arm. It can be operated in position and yield control mode, and thanks to integrated sensors, the robot’s sensitivity is configurable. LBR iiwa was made for delicate joining processes, and the robot can even handle simple tools thanks to built-in high-performance collision detection algorithms and torque sensors integrated into the joints of each axis. Low weight, seven axes and a slim profile make the robot ideal for tight spaces and easy to integrate into manufacturing lines. LBR iiwa is designed to handle payloads up to seven or fourteen kilograms, making KUKA the first and only company to offer a lightweight robot capable of handling payloads over ten kilograms.

To be discovered
LBR iiwa opens a new chapter in the book of human-machine cooperation. Acting as an operator’s “third hand”, it opens the door to completely new applications in which safety barriers are a thing of the past. Visitors to EPHJ/EPMT/SMT will be able to judge for themselves when they examine solutions at KUKA’s booth. Each of the displays demonstrates LBR iiwa’s unique features.

The company will also shows a KR Agilus robot perfectly tailored to the sector of production in microtechnology.

To be discovered on the C100 booth in Geneva from June 17 to 24, 2014.

KUKA Roboter Suisse SA
Industriestrasse 9
CH-5432 Neuenhof
T +41 (0)44 744 90 90
F +41 (0)44 744 90 91
www.kuka-roboter.ch
[email protected]

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Opportunity celebrates 10 years on Mars

Ten years ago, the NASA rovers Opportunity and Spirit landed on Mars. It keeps going and going and going. “It is equipped with maxon brushed DC motors” the company proudly announced recently.

Mars rover Opportunity. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Mars rover Opportunity. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Today, Opportunity is still exploring Mars – an unbelievably long time, considering the robot was only designed to last about 90 days. It has covered a distance of approximately 39 kilometers so far and continues to roam around a vast area. On board, 39 maxon brushed DC motors can be found.

On January 25, 2004, the Mars rover Opportunity landed in the Eagle crater. Since then, it has been investigating the planet for NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration), a USA agency responsible for the exploration of space. It has examined a number of craters, dunes, and flats, always searching for traces of water. It did not take long before Opportunity found first indications (sediment structures, minerals) that there used to be water on Mars. The Mars rover is able to take photos, brush the ground and drill into stone and it continues to do so today. “The rover is in exceptionally good condition for its age”, says John Callas, a manager at NASA. However, things haven’t always been easy for the rover in the past ten years. Its wheels have become stuck in the sand requiring a very difficult maneuver to release them once again. Sand storms disabled the solar panels and prevented the batteries from recharging. Opportunity is now starting to show a few small symptoms of aging: the 185 kg robot has a bit of “memory loss” – every now and again, its hard disk shows signs of wear caused by the long period of use.

39 km and 39 maxon drives
With drives manufactured by maxon motor, Opportunity has been able to safely navigate the surface of Mars for ten years. The rover contains a total of 39 brushed DC motors that are all still operating reliably. They are used to drive the robotic arm, the Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT), the cameras, the control mechanism and the wheels of the rover. The motors are standard products with diameters of 20 to 25 millimeters and an efficiency of over 90 percent. Minor modifications were necessary to adapt the DC motors for the harsh environmental conditions: the temperature on the surface of Mars fluctuates between approximately -120 °C and +25 °C.

This speaks about reliability of maxon motors (as well as all other pieces of equipment on the robot) indeed, but also about human genius. We at Eurotec haven’t thought to use Opportunity to spread the microtechnology messages of our customers to the red planet!

www.maxonmotor.ch

The RE 25 and RE 20 DC brushed motors from maxon motor have been working on Mars for an entire decade.
The RE 25 and RE 20 DC brushed motors from maxon motor have been working on Mars for an entire decade.

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Shuttle tool changer to be discovered at EMO

Colombo Filippetti, the Italian company from Torino, will unveil a new optimized shuttle tool changer simplifying operations and management at EMO on hall 26, Stand F07.
Eurotec_CTNE_a+b
The main characteristic is that no hydraulic device is used, this allows impressive results. Compared to the usual devices, the system is noiseless, cleaner and  much more reliable. It is composed of an exchanging unit assembled on a shuttle moved by a servomotor which slides, through rollers, on a hardened prismatic guide.

Vertical and horizontal
The exchange cycle (180° rotation) is completed by using a precision reduction gear with servomotor while the cone extraction stroke is operated by an oleo-pneumatic cylinder. In the version (O+V) it can change the tool with spindle both in vertical and in horizontal positions: in this version the tool exchanger is pivoted in a fulcrum and can rotate by 90 degrees operated by an oleo-pneumatic cylinder. The gripper arm has a mechanical control with shutters when the tool is drawn from the spindle.

Tailored to customers’ needs
The CTNE 50 is completed by different kinds of ring or annular magazines with a number of tools variable from 20 to 80 tools according to production needs. It fits to the following types of cones: ISO 45, ISO 50, BT 50, HSK 80, HSK 100, Capto C8 and Capto C10 with tool weight of 25 kg in the standard version and  35 kg in the heavy version (W). Colombo Filippetti will show some of its more significant products at EMO. It will also be possible to see the different applications of the CTNE 50 on some of its customer’s machines on show at EMO.

Colombo Filippetti Torino Srl
Via Massimo D’Antona 65
10040 Rivalta di Torino (TO)
ITALIA.
Tel +39 0113972211
[email protected]
www.cofilto.it

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PowerMILL Robot Interface for machining with robots

Delcam has launched the PowerMILL Robot Interface for the programming of robots for multi-axis machining operations.
Delcam robot machining
The new PowerMILL Robot Interface makes programming a robot as easy as programming a five-axis machine tool.

This approach makes it as easy to program a robot for machining as it is to program a five-axis machine tool.  With the Robot Interface being a fully-associated application inside PowerMILL, users have access to all the multi-axis machining strategies within PowerMILL and can use all the system’s project management options to manage, store and retrieve data.

3-step to succeed
The core functionality of the PowerMILL Robot Interface consists of three main steps: programming, simulation (including analysis) and creation of the robot programs. Robots can be programmed for tool-to-part applications, making them ideal for machining large parts, such as composite panels that need to be trimmed, or for part-to-tool applications, such as grinding or linishing.

Simulate complete machining
The PowerMILL Robot Interface can then be used to simulate the complete machining operation and to control the robot’s movements through different variables, such as axis limits, axis priorities and workplane constraints.  Various aspects within the configuration of the robot cell, such as axis limits, tool constraints and home position, can be defined, and the simulation of the robot completed within those constraints.

Actually programme the robot
Once the results of the simulation have been reviewed, and modified if necessary, the program can be output in the appropriate robot native language eliminating any need for third-party translation software.  Acceleration, smoothing values and other robot-specific parameters can be defined as part of the output. Full support for external axes, such as rotary tables and linear tracks, can be included, as well as dedicated tools for spindle calibration.

To see how easy it is to use the PowerMILL Robot Interface, please go to www.delcam.tv/cnc-polystyrene.

Delcam plc
Small Heath Business Park,
Birmingham, B10 0HJ, UK
www.delcam.com
Peter Dickin, Marketing Manager
Direct phone: 44 (0)121 683 1081
[email protected]

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