Name: Jim Shimano
Company: Precise Automation
Role: Program Manager
Contact E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Which benefit of collaborative robotics do you think is the most important one?
Total Ease-of-use. Most collaborative robot companies approach this only from the software point of view (easy-to-use software that doesn’t require hiring an automation engineer). But, for Precise it means more. While we do provide very easy-to-use software for our collaborative robots, we also offer a wide variety of robot geometries (6-axis, Cartesian, SCARA).
So, it is easier to get the robot geometry that best meets the needs of your applications. This simplifies overall workcell design and programming. Our robots are extremely light weight and have the controllers, power supplies and harness inside the robot structure, which makes installation and cell design simpler as well. They are also inherently safe, so there are no extra expensive internal or external safety devices to manage.
Which kind of future do you forecast for collaborative robotics?
Up to this point, collaborative robots have been used to reduce RIO in simple applications where the simple software can be used to quickly get a system up and running without a lot software or hardware development. This is also useful in changing production environments where robots need to be quickly redeployed. I think the next step is to merge the unique features of collaborative robots (ease-of-use software, safety) with the performance and control features of industrial robots. This allows early adaptors of collaborative robots to redeploy these robots in more sophisticated cells as their comfort level and needs grow over time and permits traditional users to create mix manufacturing environments where robots and people work side by side, effectively. So, while there will always be a need for very fast and dangerous high speed robots, cobots will not only continue to expand the customer base for simple applications but will also start to take over moderate speed traditional robot applications.
What, in your opinion, do cobots still need to improve in order to become more effective once installed in industrial lines?
As mentioned above, Precise thinks the next step is for collaborative robots to achieve speeds comparative to industrial robots and still be safe.
As such, we have been designing our robot mechanisms from the ground up to meet the ISO standard for collaborative robots at cycle times similar to industrial robots. Our SCARA robots can achieve cycle times of 1.4 seconds while still meeting the ISO standard and has been accepted by OEM and end user safety groups for use without shielding. Towards the end of the year, we will be releasing a first of its kind direct drive 6-axis robot that will also achieve industrial cycle times while meeting the ISO standard.
How the collaborative robotics phenomen is evolving in your country?
There has been a lot of discussion about manufacturing returning to the US. Collaborative robots are playing a big role in this because you can pick the low mix, moderate speed processes to automate while leaving the high mix, lower speed processes to human operators. This mixed manufacturing environment creates the most efficient production line while still leaving it extremely flexible for the future. As product life cycles are getting shorter and shorter, it is important that you keep the flexibility. If you automate the pieces that are likely to remain more or less consistent over time, you can still adapt as your products adapts to changing markets and keep your automation working. Having fast cycle times while still being safe is the key to these mixed manufacturing applications being cost efficient as your process change.
Which are the cobot model your company propose and why manufacturers should choose them among all the available models?
Precise is the only company that offers a full line of collaborative robots including our 6 axis robots, the world’s only collaborative Cartesian, and the world’s fastest/safest SCARA robot. We also will be offering a totally unique 6 axis direct drive collaborative robot at the end of the year. Combined with the cycle times our robots can achieve while still meeting the ISO standard for collaborative robots and the unique space saving designs of our mechanisms, workcells made with our robots are some of the most efficient available in both space and cost savings. In addition, we provide both an easy-to-use browser based GUI interface in addition to our powerful full featured programmable open source language. This gives the user more control options than any other collaborative robot on the market and enables unique programming features not found in any other robots, collaborative or traditional.
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