November 1, 2022
Ahead of next week’s FABTECH event in Atlanta, Universal Robots reported that collaborative-robot (aka cobot) welding is now the fastest growing application segment for the company. The company said the channel grew more than 80% the first nine months of 2022 compared to last year, with more than 1,200 cobots expected to ship in the welding vertical this year.
The company said it has a wealth of OEM partners that can standardize welding solutions on the UR platform, and it plans to showcase many of these systems at the FABTECH show. For example, Vectis Automation will debut its new Park’N’Arc, a “diving board” rotational range extender that allows for the base of the cobot to be manually moved to various locations.
“Compared to a short linear track, the Park’N’Arc is an improved design for increasing range as the cobot base can be translated nearly eight feet in a linear direction while maintaining simplicity, robust cable management and portability,” said Josh Pawley, co-founder of Vectis Automation. “We’ve got a lot of customer excitement around this new product and orders are already coming in for it.”
Additional UR partners in the cobot space include Hirebotics and Kinetic Technologies, which will launch the RT1 cobot-controlled rotary table designed to maximize welding capacity. “The need for this system is two-fold,” said Rob Goldiez, co-founder of Hirebotics. “RT1 gives customers the ability to rotate the part to the front and back for welding. Secondly, it gives users with high volume production the ability to have separate load and weld stations; loading a part on one side while the cobot is welding on the other, increasing arc on time and throughput.”
Beyond welding, the company plans to showcase piece picking applications, such as a collaboration with Precision Cobotics that demonstrates a UR5 cobot picking shiny metal parts from a randomized bin, and placing it into a MECCO laser marking machine. The UR5 in the demonstration is guided by Apera AI’s new UR+ certified Vue Vision software, which is able to accurately locate and place the part. “Robotic bin picking systems often struggle with shiny or complex objects and have much longer cycle times than a human performing the same actions,” said Eric Petz, head of marketing at Apera. “The Vue Vision software provides the industry’s fastest total vision cycle time – as low as 0.3 seconds – and operates under ambient light using standardized cameras, so the user does not need expensive specialized equipment.”
Additional demonstrations include Cobot Systems (laser welding) and Kane Robotics (deburring). UR said it will also showcase its recently announced UR20 cobot, which can handle 25% heavier parts than previous UR cobot models.
“We are launching a redefined cobot that has been completely re-engineered from the ground up, focused on freeing up more manpower within a wide range of human-scale automation tasks,” said Joe Campbell, senior manager of applications development and strategic marketing at Universal Robots. “We look forward to showing fabricators the capabilities of our new cobot along with the numerous new innovative partner solutions showcased in close to 30 different application demos across our own booth and throughout the FABTECH show.”
For more information on the FABTECH event, visit its website here.