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27. June 2017
Blog>Cobots from Universal Robots solve complex task for Bayer, winning Grants4Tech robotics challenge

Cobots from Universal Robots solve complex task for Bayer, winning Grants4Tech robotics challenge

Pharmaceutical multinational Bayer was looking for solutions to automate a highly complex process currently performed entirely by hand: quality control of powder samples taken from sealed bags inside specific containers, an operation carried out hundreds of times a day in Bayer plants. The German company launched a worldwide appeal for a robotics solution, guided by specific bespoke software, to open a number of powder containers, remove a plastic strip and open the bag inside, take a powder sample with a special probe, and then put back the plastic strip and close the container. All in a 15-minute cycle time.

LAIAL, an Italian team formed by Loccioni, a technological ‘tailor’s shop’, delivering turn-key solutions for automatic measurement and quality control, together with IIT (Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia) were up for the challenge; Loccioni used two UR10 robots equipped with Schunk grippers and IDS cameras (2D and 3D) to develop the robotic platform, while IIT developed the tools for the delicate cutting, gripping and manipulation operations.

The Ancona-based company and the Genoese institute thus combined quality with quality – and won first prize – watch how:

Given the nature of the materials being handled – the impalpability of the powder and the flimsiness of the plastic bag – and the need for maximum accuracy, reliability and repeatability, the sampling process is a delicate procedure, and ideal for automation with robots, which, by definition, deliver a high degree of precision and repeatability in each phase, but without the same perception of the objects as a human operator


Utilizing collaborative UR robots in this application meant that the robots could operate right alongside people without any safety guarding barriers, in confined spaces, and in environments requiring the utmost cleanliness as the cobots are cleanroom certified.

Thanks to IIT's expertise in interpreting manual operations and designing bio-inspired robotic components to eliminate fatigue and Loccioni's knowhow in integrating and installing robotic solutions in industrial environments, the LAIAL team beat the other teams taking home the first prize of 40,000 euro

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Jacob Pascual Pape

Jacob Pascual Pape has more than 15 years experience in the field of international sales and business development management, of which four have been spent coordinating the entry of Universal Robots into the Southern European, African and Middle Eastern markets. Working out of the Universal Robots offices in Barcelona, which he himself helped to set up, he heads a team of professionals specialized in collaborative robotics and dedicated to the development and optimization of the company’s distribution networks in the regions under his responsibility. Pascual Pape holds a degree in International Studies, International Economics and Politics from the University of Aalborg in Denmark, and has a Masters degree in Marketing & Sales Management from the EAE Business School in Barcelona. Over the course of his professional career, he has become an expert in the development, execution and consolidation of sales strategies and business plans for businesses entering into new markets.


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