“And these are all optimized for UR robots and available in your online showroom?” One of the questions both press and attendees asked as they entered our new 2,400 square feet booth at Automate 2017 in Chicago last week and encountered a vast array of UR+ products in new applications.
From new force/torque sensors to 7th axis capabilities, wrist cameras and cable protectors, the rapidly expanding portfolio of UR+ solutions optimized to work flawlessly with UR robots were showcased in hands-on applications that quickly prompted conversations with booth visitors on how these tradeshow displays could easily transfer into a real world production setting.
President of Universal Robots Jürgen von Hollen discusses the expanding UR+ platform with Engineering.com reporter Jim Anderton. The UR3 displayed has no less than five UR+ products; gripper from OnRobot, force/torque sensor from Optoforce, protective cover from ROBO-GEAR, cable guidance from Igus and vision camera from SICK.
“What really differentiates us is our focus on growing this network of technology partners to ensure fast and easy deployment of our robot arms. We’re hoping to grow the platform to feature around 100 UR+ solutions by the end of 2017,” said CTO and co-founder of Universal Robots, Esben Østergaard, who was invited to speak at the show on human-robot collaboration and also did his share of booth duty presenting the concecpt to press, prospects and partners.
Why get two robots to tend two machines when you can add a 7th axis to a single robot and have it tend both, sliding between machines? We collaborated with Festo on adding their linear-axis EGC-HD and CMMP-M3 servo-drive with the company’s advanced safety module to the full range of UR robots, seamlessly integrating the servo-controlled actuators with UR’s programming environment. Phillip Lipson, senior application engineer with Festo, shows editors with Control Engineering, Mark Hoske and Chris Vavra, how to control the 7th axis directly through the UR touch screen
The UR+ enhanced booth didn’t stay long in the Windy City after the show closed and is now en route to Europe where it will debut at the “Hannover Messe” April 24, at the UR booth in Hall 17, C26 where integration partners FAUDE, IIS, Müller Maschinentechnik and Lorenscheit will provide a glimpse into the broad spectrum of the German application potential offered by cobots; Three turnkey solutions from labeling, electronics assembly and packaging, all with UR robots as their functional centerpiece. As in Chicago, visitors can have a look at a feasibility analysis and live programming offered on site as all showcase applications are equipped with products from the Universal Robots+ developer ecosystem.
Automate 2017 was the global launch of the new UR+ enabled multi-axis force/torque sensor Axia80 from ATI Industrial Automation. CTO and founder of Universal Robots, Esben Østergaard, shows editor of FAB Shop, Abbe Miller and publisher Alan Berg, how the force/torque sensor enables the UR5 cobot to adjust its path while it maintains a constant force
This new booth concept reflects the variety in how the robot arms UR3, UR5 and UR10 are daily being used in practice and how versatile human-robot-collaboration can be: “As a pioneer in collaborative robotics, our products have been firmly established in the market for years. Our visitors at trade fairs are meanwhile looking for something more than just our ‘naked’ product,” explains Helmut Schmid, Managing Director and General Manager Western Europe at Universal Robots. “They come to us with firm ideas and specific inquiries for applications.”
Stepping into another realm.. A big draw at the Automate booth was the Augmented Reality assisted assembly of an automotive door panel where attendees would prompt the UR10 cobot to carry out an entire assembly cycle by interacting with commands projected directly down on the workspace. The interactive application was created by UR Certified System Integrator Kubica Corp using a Light Guide System (LGS) from OPS Solutions.
The “Universal Robots Academy” is another innovation at this year’s trade show presence. The openly accessible online training program, which is free of charge, makes it even easier to learn how to commission and program the cobots.
CTO and founder of Universal Robots, Esben Østergaard, explains that it is unusual in the industry to make robot training curriculum of this kind available for free.
“But this is a long-term investment for us. We want to raise the robot literacy and the reason for speeding up the entry of cobots is not only to optimize production here and now,” says Østergaard. “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.”
Meet the UR team! Our fabulous Chicago crew with employees from both the Americas region and our headquarters in Denmark had a hectic week talking all things cobot with attendees from more than 30 countries at Automate 2017, the largest trade show for automation solutions in North America.
“So easy even a TV reporter can do it!” Though the focus was on applications, we still had plenty of demo robots available to show attendees how they simply grab a robot arm and teach it a move. Viewers of Fox News in Chicago got a chance to find out too as our Technical Support Manager, Daniel Moore, taught reporter Jake Hamilton how it’s done.