This Monday, April 3, at Chicago’s McCormick Place, Automate 2017 will kick off, and I will be there to explore the global automation market and share my findings with you. With Asia making cost-effective automation, Europe’s advances, and Mexico’s market booming, where does the U.S. fit in? This show will have companies from around the world, and I hope to find the answer to that question—and many others—at this show. In addition, I will be tweeting from @JKerns10 and posting videos on Machine Design’s Facebook page.
Big names like Festo (Booth 856), Fanuc (Booth 1625), Parker Hannifin (Booth 1868), and Rethink Robotics (Booth N1450) will all be there, as well as more than 400 other companies, Here’s a brief overview of some of the exciting innovations to be on display at the show:
Staubli (Booth 1240) is featuring its TX2 robot with IIoT features at a special release at 9:35 a.m. Tuesday (April 4) morning.
Universal Robot (Booth 1245) is showing off some of the companies that are using its cooperative robot arms.
On Robot (Booth 469) provides flexible grippers for UR and other collaborative robots. This is its first show in the United States. The two-finger RG2 grippers mount on the arms of cobots without any external wires, enabling an infinite loop at the wrist joint. The RG2 grippers can be easily programmed directly from the same interface as the robot, and the gripper can be modified without previous programming experience.
On Robot uses the internal wiring of the Universal Robot that lets the wrist joint rotate indefinitely. Other attachments do not work with the older I/O interface provided on the UR arm. Using the UR internal connections means less concern with cables getting caught or wrapped up during operation. This also makes it easier to make use of a double gripper that can increase cycle times.
On Robot will be sharing Booth 469 with the Hungarian company OptoForce, a company specializing in lightweight, robust 6-axis force/torque sensors. OptoForce’s technology creates a sense of touch for On Robot’s grippers. The feedback from the sensors lets the robot determine the force with which it is gripping, the size of an object it is picking up, and even if it drops an object.
Yaskawa Motoman (Booth 1630) will present its automation equipment, and talk about some topics that are important to managers. Motoman offers automation and advice on when it is appropriate, and whether to recruit or retrain employees when upgrading to advanced equipment.
Technology in Quality (Booth 270) is showing off its motors. These motors offer positioning accuracy and precise controllability with 5.3 million increments per revolution with no cogging or backlash, according to the company. This is good for prosthetics to move more naturally, and other high-precision applications.
The MiR100—in the foreground—can be programmed with an easy-to-use app, and is able to decipher more efficient routes and logistics over time.
Mobile Industrial Robots (Booth 1468) is one of many U.S.-based companies that will be at the show. The company will feature the MiR100, a self-driving autonomous robot to help with transportation and logistics.
Festo’s family of gantries (EXCM mini H shown here) that will be shown off at Automate 2017 provide a controllable platform with high repeatability, and focus on easy integration.
Festo (Booth 856) will showcase transformative flexible automation with a new piezo proportional air valve, and a family of gantry systems. In addition, for the first time Festo will feature a new online handling guide configurator for single axis, linear gantry, planar surface gantry, and three-dimensional gantry handling systems.
So stay tuned and let me know on my Machine Design Facebook page, or at Twitter (@JKerns10) if there is anything you would like to see.