Some start talking about a paradigm shift, others believe it is the beginning of a new era of robotics. What is clearly true is that cobotics, although representing still a market niche, is gaining popularity, growing consensus in one simple way: providing people effective solutions to old and new challenges.
Cobot manufacturers started to fulfill the wishes of their clients with new arms for heavy-duty applications and additional plug and play features. End-of-arm-tool producers unveiled smart devices covering any application you could dream about.
Need to increase the payload? Fine! Do you want a gentle gripper for soft manipulation? That’s ok!
What do we expect from the next years? Which surprises are still hidden in the laboratories? Some future developments are pretty clear, crying out from clients, but some others will solve problems we are still not aware of, opening doors to new opportunities.
While waiting to be surprised by what the future of cobotics has for us, we recall 10 cobotic innovations we welcomed in this past 2019!
- Fanuc CRX Series – A Christmas gift from the big boss of robotics.
Modern shapes for the new CRX series of Fanuc cobots. Lightweight and compact design, upgraded programming interfaces and compatibility with Fanuc existing software products like iRVision, iRPickTool and many others. Released the last December it was a nice Christmas gift for all cobots passionates.
- OnRobot VGC10 vacuum gripper – What an upgrade from its predecessor.
Half the weight of the previous model with smaller and more compact design for the latest arrival at OnRobot. This is what we call an upgrade! 15 kg payload, no need for external air supply, two independently controlled air channel and many possible customizations.
- Jaka Zu 18: The surprise.
The Chinese cobot manufacturers released its fourth model with a surprising 18 kg payload. The company is still not present outside its country but, given the growth seen this last year, we expect many surprises in 2020.
- Schunk Co-Act EGH – A true HRC device.
Another piece to Schunk portfolio of collaborative grippers confirming its intention to become a reference for cobotic applications. The Co-Act EGH is a true plug and work device with HRC features and fast hardware and software integration.
- Rethink Robotics Sawyer Black Edition – Phoenix from the ashes.
Like the phoenix from the ashes. The Hahn Group, who acquired the assets of Rethink Robotics Inc after its unexpected shutdown, restyled the company’s top product with new higher quality components for giving that little boost to precision and durability.
- Universal Robots UR16e series – Always on top.
16 kg payload! A 6 kg jump to guard the new battleground for heavy load cobots as if to say “I am still here and I am still the leader of the sector”. The same technology and the same design of its lighter ancestors for this fourth model of the e-series.
- Robotiq Air Pick and Robotiq E pick – The vacuum twins from Quebec.
Robotiq was maybe undecided about which strategy to follow for their new vacuum tool and they answered by launching two products, covering all the clients’ needs. While Air Pick offers a powerful vacuum flow in a compact design, E Pick allows for gripping with no external air supply. No need to speak about plug and play features and possible customizations.
- Piab piCOBOT and piSOFTGRIP – Full steam towards food industry automation.
Piab piCobot vacuum tool is definitely not a newbie but its upgraded mechanical and electrical interfaces allow for integration with almost the full stack of cobots on the market. piSOFTGRIP is a new natural powerful extension, a food-compliant silicon plug and play gripper for soft manipulation.
- New Scale NSR-PG-10-20-URe – The first cobotic caliper.
The first automatic caliper for cobots. With a measurement precision of 2.5 µm, four times better than its predecessor, this electrical parallel gripper is the right tool for small parts inspection and gauging. Now, looking forward to an extension in term of cobots compatibility.