Automation: New Source & Capabilities For Collaborative Robots

Motoman introduces its first collaborative robot, and Rethink Robotics adds a first for cobots—a performance data dashboard.

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One of two recent announcements in collaborative robots (“cobots”) is the entry of a new supplier in the field. Motoman Robotics Div. of Yaskawa America Inc., Dayton, Ohio, is now offering commercially its first “human collaborative” robot, the six-axis model HC10 (pictured). Featuring power- and force-limiting technology, it’s said to work safely with, or in close proximity to, humans by stopping if it contacts an operator. Dual torque sensors in all joints constantly monitor force to react quickly to contact, something usually found only in more expensive systems. It also is designed to eliminate operator pinch points, and through-arm utilities hide cabling and increase safety by reducing the risks of snagging or interference with other equipment.

In addition to standard robot programming through the teach pendant, the user can hand-guide the HC10 when teaching new program paths. The robot can operate at full speed or reduced, “collaborative” speed. Payload capacity is 10 kg (22 lb) and horizontal reach is 1200 mm.

Second, Rethink Robotics, Cambridge, Mass., has introduced Intera 5.2, an expanded software program for its Sawyer cobot. This software is said to be a first for a cobot in providing data on cycle time, part count, speed, force, etc. on a  customizeable “dashboard.” Called Intera Insights, this feature for the first time gives users real-time information on how the cobot is operating.

The new software release also includes extensive additions to Sawyer’s vision capabilities.
In addition to the embedded cameras that are standard with Sawyer, users now have the option to seamlessly integrate external cameras in minutes. This will improve the cobot’s vision capabilities and can allow integration of existing in-house vision systems on Sawyer. Intera 5.2 is available for download on existing Sawyer cobots and will come standard on all new units.