Industrial Robots Get Collaborative

July 23, 2021
Watch 2021's Top Automation World Video: Learn how new technologies are allowing industrial robots to work alongside humans in factory environments.

Quick hits:

  • Learn about Mistubishi Electric’s work to make industrial robots collaborative.
  • Find out how Veo Robotics FreeMove system can make any industrial robot collaborative.
  • See how Veo Robotics’ FreeMove meets international safety standards.

Related to this episode:

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Listen to the story here:
Read the transcript below:

I’m David Greenfield, Director of Content at Automation World and thanks for joining me for this Take Five episode where I’ll be explaining how new technologies are enabling industrial robots to work alongside humans.

With the rise of collaborative robots, also known as cobots, over the past decade, it looked like the robotics industry would be segmented into two divisions—one for the high-speed industrial robots with which we’re all familiar and the other for cobots. Some robotic technology suppliers would, of course, offer both types of robots while others would specialize in one area or the other.

Then something interesting happened. Industrial robot suppliers began experimenting with the concept of bringing collaborative robot capabilities to industrial robots. I first saw this displayed as a concept project in a Mitsubishi Electric booth at a trade show several years ago. At the time, I thought this concept would spread quickly; however, I didn’t see it again until I attended the Smart Production Solutions event in Nuremberg, Germany, in 2019. At this event, it was again at the Mitsubishi booth where I saw the technology on display. But this time it wasn’t part of a concept display, but as part of a product introduction between Mitsubishi and Realtime Robotics.

To see a video of the demo I saw at this event and read more about Mitsubishi’s work with Realtime Robotics, visit the link shown here.

A few months later, on my last business trip before COVID-19 brought a temporary end to live industry events, I met with Veo Robotics and learned that they were devising a system that could be used to bring collaborative capabilities to any industrial robot. Veo does this with its FreeMove Engine, which uses multiple camera sensors and an algorithmic computing platform to transform industrial robots into cobots. Veo has relationships with several robot suppliers such as ABB, Fanuc, KUKA, and Yaskawa and its system is being applied and tested in the aerospace, automotive, household appliance, and construction equipment manufacturing industries.

A key component in the acceptance of technologies that promise to make industrial robots collaborative is overcoming the safety concerns of those who could be working near the robots. After all, if you’ve ever seen an industrial robot going through its high-speed paces in a caged environment, you know you don’t want to be anywhere inside that cage when the robot’s operating.

These kinds of reservations about working so closely with industrial robots may now be on the verge of disappearing as Veo Robotics recently announced that its FreeMove Engine has been certified for compliance with ISO 13849. This standard addresses the safety of all system technologies including mechanical, hydraulic, and pneumatic products.

In applications where safety functions are handled by safety related parts of the control system, this standard can be used to show compliance with the essential health and safety regulations of the European Community Machinery Directive 2006-slash-42-slash-EC.

Veo Robotics’ CEO and co-founder, Patrick Sobalvarro, said the ability to offer the fully safety-certified system for making industrial robots collaborative is a momentous accomplishment for the Veo Robotics team and the automation industry overall. He added too that FreeMove is the only technology on the market today for making industrial robots collaborative that uses dynamic, 3D speed and separation monitoring.

If you want learn more about how Veo Robotics uses speed and separation monitoring to make industrial robots collaborative, visit the link shown here.

In related news, Atlanta-based Factory Automation Systems has joined Veo Robotics’ Certified Systems Integrator program. They’ll include FreeMove as part of their safety offering to customers. Another certified system integrator working with Veo Robotics is Calvary Robotics out of Greenville, South Carolina.

So, I hope you enjoyed this Take Five with Automation World episode and remember to keep watching this space for new episodes each week to help keep you on top of what’s happening in the world of industrial automation.