One of the largest manufacturing events in the world, this year’s combined MD&M West, WestPack, Automation Technology Pacific and Plastec West show was very well attended. As always, the variety and quantity of products and services offered by exhibitors was extensive, and the exhibitors that I spoke with all mentioned that traffic had been very good and that many of the expo attendees were actively seeking specific products or technology at the show.
Of the myriad technologies represented at the show, the robotics suppliers appeared to garner the most attention, with several innovations on display by various exhibitors.
1. Fanuc SCARA Robot
Fanuc is a robotics powerhouse with a large market share, but up until now their product line didn’t include a SCARA robot. This hotly anticipated addition to their robotics lineup opens up new markets for Fanuc and their partner integrators to compete in, including electronics and small parts assembly.
2. Denso 6-Axis Robot
Denso showcased one of their VS-050-S2 series 6-axis articulated robots, which is specifically designed for service in sterile environments for pharmaceutical, biotech and combination product manufacturing. This robot can withstand vaporized H2O2 sterilization and can operate in an ISO 5 environment.
3. Locus Robotics Autonomous Mobile Robots
These robots from Locus Robotics help warehouses and distribution centers optimize their operations and control labor costs. They also work safely alongside humans and feature a very user friendly interface.
4. Collaborative Robots
Collaborative robotics has clearly gained some traction, with offerings from Universal Robotics on display in conjunction with other manufacturing technologies, especially part handling and machine tending. This technology has proven useful for a wide variety of applications in which humans need to be in the work envelope or interact with the robot. Traditional industrial robot manufacturers, such as Fanuc, also had collaborative robots on display.
5. OMRON Quattro Delta-Style Robot
Perhaps the most impressive display at the show was the OMRON booth. OMRON had recently purchased Adept Technology, and the combination of robotics and machine sensing expertise on display was impressive. They had a demonstration in which a Quattro delta-style robot called FORPHEUS played table tennis with a real person. FORPHEUS uses a three-camera system to see the ball and evaluate the person it is playing against. An AI controller works together with a motion controller to track ball trajectory and instruct the robot how to hit the ball. The system uses machine learning to evaluate its opponent’s skill level and adjust accordingly to encourage longer rallies.
Robotics innovation continues to impress, with exhibitors showcasing more innovative designs each year in an effort to provide solutions for a variety of industrial manufacturing needs. Keller Technology Corporation can integrate a variety of robotics system solutions into your manufacturing project. Contact us for more information.