Airskin Transforms Industrial Robots into Cobots

April 2, 2024
With its ability to trigger an immediate robot stop from just one pound of resistance, Airskin modules allow industrial robots to work fencelessly at speeds of up to 2 meters second.

At Modex 2024, KUKA Robotics showcased how its industrial robots, such as the Agilus, Quantec and Cybertech, can now be outfitted with Airskin’s soft, pressure-sensitive safety skin that allows the robots to operate collaboratively with humans.

According to Airskin, its technology allows fenceless operation of industrial robots at speeds up to 2 meters per second. By removing the need for fences around industrial robots, floor space is saved and material flows can be more quickly rerouted to keep up with changing production demands.

Filip Ivankovic with Airskin explained that Airskin is “a soft safety skin that is mounted directly onto an industrial robot. Airskin is filled with air so that whenever there is a contact of at least 5 Newtons (about 1 pound), it triggers the robot to stop immediately. When somebody touches the Airksin, the volume of air inside decreases and the pressure increases, triggering the stop of the robot.”

The Airskin technology meets the ISO 13849-1 PLe/Cat3 and IEC 62061 SIL 3 safety standards. 

Using the Airskin technology on KUKA’s Quantec robots, the robot’s reaction time to any contact of about 1 pound of force is less than 9 ms. The Quantec robots can handle payloads from 120-300 kg and feature reaches from 2700-3100 mm.

The Airskin modules have an IP54 rating, are resistant to cleaning agents, oils, alcohol and sanitizers and can be used in environments from 5-50°C and at humidity levels up to 85%. For palletizing applications, as an example, Airskin’s Safetyflange Pro on KUKA’s Cybertech robot allows the robot to function collaboratively to handle packages up to 20 kg for up to 10 picks per minute. 

The video below shows the KUKA Quantec robot outfitted with the Airskin modules.

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