MechChem Africa September-October 2020

⎪ Back page ⎪ Mobile and intelligent ‘cobots’

Maciej Kuczynski of Omron Industrial Automation describes how collaborative robots (cobots) are helping factories to deal with highly mixed, low-volume production runs by using flexible assembly lines that allow for rapid changeovers. C ollaborative robots that can work safely with people in the same en- vironment have an important role in enabling flexible manufacturing

and creating a competitive advantage. A new generation of ‘cobots’ is emerging with the evolution of classical industrial robots in response to the needs of Industry 4.0. In applications where flexibility – as op - posed to maximum production speed – is key, collaborative robots are filling the gap in the robotics market with their extremely user-friendly software tools and integrated sensoryfunctions,whichnowincludemachine vision systems, location capabilities and inte- gration with warehouse systems. Althoughlightweight,theOmronTechman TM14M robot, for example, can lift goods up to14kg. Compliantwith the ISO10218safety standard, which describes the interaction of robots and humans, industrial collaborative robots are now becoming team members in production and logistics environments thanks to their lifting capabilities. This brings innovation to the factory floors through true harmonisation and collaboration of humans and machines. Collaborative robots can be deployed in a wide range of applications. For example, it is possible to support people in assembly processesatthosestageswhereprecisionand repeatability are key. These robots can apply adhesives and sealswith simultaneous quality control. Thanks to repeatability, they are also perfectly suited for automating complexqual- ity tests. Being able to do heavy lifting, they can also be used as palletisers, with proper safety equipment. The new generation of collaborative robots can easily be integrated with mobile robots. This cooperation is made more ac- cessible thanks to the lowweight of the latest robots, as well as the possibility of building The 2020 edition of the Manufacturing Indaba will be hosted as a virtual confer- ence on 9 and 10 December 2020. This is as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and to ensure the safety of participating manu- facturing companies. The virtual event will be free of charge to conference delegates and companies, while clients will have opportunities to interact directly and safely with each other

The Omron Techman TM14M robot can lift goods up to 14 kg. It brings innovation to the factory floor through true harmonisation and collaboration between humans and machines.

mobile platforms ontomobile robots, such as theOmronLDautonomousintelligentvehicle. Collaborativerobotscannowbeanaturalpart of a flexible, constantly evolving production environment in which the re-deployment of machines, line changeovers and conveyors are needed. Cobots are just beginning to enable in- novation and competitiveness for manufac- turers. High versatility and a wide range of possibilities, including the ability to carry out taskscurrentlyperformedbystandardrobots, are all easily configurableby local engineering staff. Ifwe additionally consider amucheasier implementation resulting from the reduced need to provide typical robots security mea- sures and incomparably greater flexibility of operation, the return on such investment can be surprisingly positive. Forecasts for a significantly increased share of cobots in the industrial robot market should therefore not come as a surprise. If machine vision capabilities are added, combinedwith artificial intelligence, the pos - sibilities are limitless. Acollaborate robot can have a built-in intelligent vision system that to keep their business goals rolling. “All the Provincial Manufacturing Indaba events and the East Africa edition have been post- poned to the second half of 2021. Our top priority is to provide a safe environment for everyone involved: our customers, attend- ees, partners and colleagues.” says Liz Hart, managing director. However, there remains a growing de- mand for manufacturing industry news and

provides totem pairing, object position, bar code identification, colour differentiationand other vision functions. You can use gestures to guide the robot and the task by hand, as well as change the degree of freedom of the hand-guide function freely according to dif- ferent conditions. The interactive tennis table robot, Forpheus fromOmron, gives a clear sense of the possibilities of artificial intelligence (AI) combined with collaborative robots. As well being able toplay against ahuman, the system can evaluate the human player’s ability level and adjust its game accordingly. Omron and Techman Robot Inc, the world’s leading company for collaborative arm robots that work together with people, recentlysignedanagreementtoformastrate- gic alliance in the area of collaborative robots. Omron and Techman will provide col- laborative robots that can be used for a wide variety of applications such as electronics as- sembly, product testing and inspection, help- ing modern factories to establish innovative manufacturing environments where humans and machines work in harmony. q discussion, especially with respect to the impact the pandemic has onmanufacturing. Key issues thatwill be discussed include: How to Future Proof your manufacturing business; TheAfricaContinental FreeTrade Agreement; Lessons Learned in the era of COVID-19, and the Growing Importance of Localisation. register-conference-jhb

Manufacturing Indaba 2020 goes virtual

40 ¦ MechChem Africa • September-October 2020

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