Robotics for Manufacturing at ATX West

Automation NTH attended the ATX West and MD&M trade shows in Anaheim, California on February 8th to see the latest advances in automation technologies. This was a huge show with a lot to take in, but a consistent highlight for us was the exciting robotics technologies on display. Among the standout exhibits were smart robots powered by AI, collaborative robots, a very high precision robot made by a startup company, and several robots with unique capabilities.  Here’s a quick (and definitely not comprehensive) snapshot of what we saw:

Smart Robots

There were a few exhibitors who incorporated advanced intelligence into their robotic systems. Omron stole the show with their ping pong playing robot. The system used three cameras to follow the ball, and the ball location was updated 80 times per second. The system calculates trajectories both ways and predicts where it needs to place its paddle. It employs deep learning to calculate the player’s movements and develops responses based on its learning.

A Fanuc robot incorporated vision systems for bin picking applications to detect objects, pick and place with precision even if there is variation in the object’s placement:

Collaborative Robots

Collaborative robots are becoming more prevalent and had a strong presence at the show. Universal Robots is one of the leaders in collaborative robotics and had a variety of robots on display. Rethink Robotics is another collaborative robot manufacturer we saw at ATX West. Its Sawyer robot features a 7 degree of freedom robot arm with a 1260mm reach that maneuvers into tight spaces and operates in work cells designed for humans. I liked the data and personality displayed on its screen.

Ultra High Precision Robots

A Canadian startup company called Mecademic exhibited a robot with 5 micron repeatability and 500 gram payload with the controller in its base.

Robots with Unique Capabilities

Epson displayed several types of robots including a C-Series with a folding arm design that allows it to reach into confined work spaces from many angles. This would be helpful for automated systems where floor space footprint is important to optimize.

Epson Robotics C-Series robotics programming manufacturing

Staubli showed off a wash-down capable robot with a display that washed vegetables:

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There were many more interesting robotics displays that we didn’t have time to fully capture because ATX West is such a large show.  If you are considering incorporating robotic technology into your manufacturing systems, please visit our robotic system integration page to learn more or contact us.

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