Let a robot hand you a beer.

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One injection molding demonstration at K 2016 this month in Dusseldorf will push the envelope of so-called “collaborative” robotics by showing that these “cobots” not only can work safely alongside humans without guarding, but they can even pass objects to humans directly “hand to hand,” so to speak. Dr. Boy GmbH & Co., German parent of Boy Machines Inc., Exton, Pa., will mold drinking glasses on a vertical Boy 35 VV press. A six-axis, articulating cobot from Universal Robots (U.S. office in E. Setauket, N.Y.) will demold the parts (itself not a typical use for cobots) and place them in a labeling station, where one of seven different images will be applied. A second UR cobot places the glasses on a conveyor belt for removal by visitors at the Boy booth.

Alternatively, visitors have the option of opening a page on their smartphone using a QR code on the Boy press and entering their data into an input screen. The first UR cobot receives the command to label a glass with a QR code containing the individual data entered by the visitor. The second UR cobot then takes that specific glass from the internal transfer station and fills it with beer. The filled glass is then offered to the visitor, who can easily take it from the cobot’s gripper in a transfer area with no safety fence. Meanwhile, the label’s QR code also includes the production date, place, time, and other data, which can be retrieved for each glass.