New Robot and Robot Controller Hit the Market

Comau and ABB release a new robot and robot controller, respectively, both of which are aimed at increasing flexibility of robot applications in industry.

Just a few weeks ago I asked if 2015 would be the year of the robot, and less than two months into the year we’ve already seen two key robot introductions.

Comau, a supplier of a range of advanced manufacturing systems to industry, has released its newest robot—Racer 999. The six-axis articulated robot has the same key features of the previously released Racer 7-1.4, but features a reach of less than one meter (999mm), making it more suitable for limited space applications such as assembly, materials handling, machine tooling, and packaging.

Designed for a payload of 7 kg, the Racer 999 can carry up to 10 kg for high-speed pick-and-place applications and can be mounted on the ground, on a wall, on the ceiling or on inclined supports.

In its release announcing the arrival of Racer 999, Comau notes that the “physiognomy of a human muscle” is reflected in the “geometric shape” of the robot. The company says these curves are not just for cosmetic effect, but are “directly related to the speed with which trajectory points are met.”

Racer 999’s reduced dimensions, coupled with its controller, are said to provide lower energy consumption as a result of eComau Energy Management System< e.comau.com> principles. The E-motion controller software for the Racer 999 reportedly reduces cycle times by up to 25 percent though increased fluidity of motion compared to Comau’s previous-generation robot.

Speaking of controller software, ABB Robotics has introduced RobotWare 6, the latest version of its robot controller software. The updated software reportedly offers greater flexibility and reliability through an extensive toolbox for developers as well as a broad range of communications capabilities.

ABB claims the new Installation Manager feature of RobotWare 6 gives OEMs a flexible application licensing mechanism as well as a more intuitive user interface to help end users and system integrators with robot set-up time and system reconfiguration.

RobotWare 6’s Externally Guided Motion (EGM) feature is said to give operators more precise control over robot motion and allows integrators to optimize cell design and production flows. The EGM sensors reportedly provide the ability to input absolute positions and modify the robot’s path. Paths can be updated every four milliseconds with a controller lag of between eight to 20 milliseconds, depending on the type of robot.

This video shows Comau’s Racer 1.4 robot—an earlier, larger version of Racer 999—shooting hoops with Marco Belinelli of the San Antonio Spurs.

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