Technology Innovations at Automate

April 20, 2017
As usual, there was an abundance of new automation technologies on display at the Automate event in Chicago. Here’s a look at some of the highlights.

At many of the industry events we attend, automation technologies are often a subset of the technologies on display. At Automate, however, nearly everything on display is an automation technology of one type or another.

Following is a snapshot of some of the automation technologies highlighted at Automate 2017 (all are showcased in the video at the bottom of this article):

TM Robotics debuted its TVM 6-axis line of robots. This new line of robots was created by TM Robotics in partnership with Toshiba Machine. These new robots are compatible with other Toshiba Machine products, including the company’s injection molding machines and machine tools. The TVM model is a vertically articulated robot series targeted for use in multiple industries, including automotive components, plastics, medical, packaging and pharmaceutical. The three models in the TVM line have different reach and payload capabilities: TVM900/TSL3200E has a 1124mm reach and payload capacity up to 20kg; the TVM1200/TSL3200E has a 1418mm reach and payload capacity up to 15kg; and the TVM1500/TSL3200E has a 1715mm reach and a 10kg payload capacity. The TVM line can be combined with Toshiba Machine’s robot vision recognition package, TSVision3D, and can be used in bin-picking applications. On the subject of bin-picking, Nigel Smith, president of TM Robotics, said the TVM line does not require CAD data for model registration for such applications. Instead, users can set up the robot for operation using its calibration procedure.

Universal Robots’ major focus at Automate centered on its partnerships. Sixteen different partnerships were highlighted by Universal Robots at the event, which included connections with companies such as Igus for robot cable guidance; Robotiq for a camera interface, sensors and grippers; and Schunk and Weiss Robotics for different gripping systems. Universal Robots’ partnership with Light Guide Systems’ augmented reality is highlighted in the “Combining Collaborative Robots and Augmented Reality." In the video, you can see evidence of Universal Robots’ partnership with both Sick and Festo. In this example, Festo’s linear motion hardware and software are integrated with a Universal Robot, as is Sick’s safety sensing technology.

Two of Güdel’s gantry robot systems were impossible to miss. The Track Motion Overhead (TMO) system in Güdel’s display at Automate featured a Fanuc robot. The TMO comes in four sizes and can be built for ceiling, wall and elevated orientations. It is backlash adjustable with an eccentric gearbox mount and features Flexxpump automatic lubrication. Also on display was Güdel’s Track Motion Vertical (TMV) featuring a Yaskawa robot. Like the TMO, the TMV has Flexxpump automatic lubrication. It offers custom carriage options for accommodating different robot mounting orientations and can be mounted on Güdel’s TMF floor track to increase the work envelope of the attached robot.

Nook Industries exhibited its modular linear motion system products and design capabilities via its Stainless Steel System display, which can be applied in food and beverage, medical and pulp and paper industry applications. This system features Nook’s LLZE-60 stainless steel internal roller bearing guided linear actuator and DSVPIE-160 stainless steel internal profile rail guided actuator.

Elmo Motion Control spotlighted its Gold Twitter, a nano servo drive that can operate up to 80A/80V or 50A/100V and weighs less than one ounce. Due to its size, it can be mounted on a PCB and installed directly in machines axes for direct servo control at the point of actuation. The operating range of the Gold Twitter includes 60V dc (6 Vdc - 55 V dc); 100 V dc (10 V dc - 95 V dc) and 200 V dc (20 V dc - 195 C dc). Elmo Motion Control says the Gold Twitter supports EtherCAT and CAN communications as well as any feedback sensor in single, dual and gantry loop configurations. It also includes Elmo Motion Control’s proprietary “fast and soft switching technology” that reportedly delivers greater than 99 percent efficiency and negligible electromagnetic interference.

More Automation World reporting from Automate 2017 can be seen here: