Manufacturing is becoming smarter, more flexible, and increasingly connected. Yet humankind is playing a more central role in the area than ever – at least where Comau is concerned. The company's cobots are expected to ensure a level of efficiency and safety never seen before in human-robot interaction.
Gone are the days when robots had to be kept behind cages so as not to harm anyone. Today they work side by side with their human colleagues. To reach this point, their developers took a great deal inspiration from humankind.
High-Tech Team Work
Comau has brought a few such cobots to HANNOVER MESSE. The Advanced Use Robotic Arm (AURA), for example, supports colleagues with a variety of manual tasks – and automatically adapts the speed with which its works to fit the situation. This safety measure enables the robot to get on with its job without protective cages. It teams up with the automated transport system Agile 1500, which can transport up to 1,500kg with a max speed of 1.7m/s. The transport system either follows programmed tracks or a colleague directs it manually.
Collaboration Is the New Automation
The story of how cobots came to be is a fascinating one. The fundamental idea is that they should adapt to human interactions as naturally as possible. This means they have to understand how we move and react to others.
Humans do this too – mainly using sight. We observe and anticipate how others act and adapt our own behavior accordingly. Where we focus our attention depends primarily on whether people are at the periphery or the center of our line of vision.
Touch also plays an important role in interaction – especially in dangerous situations, where for example, we would push someone out of harm’s way.
Strong Arms, Smart Skin
Comau's cobots understand this behavior thanks to their foam-coated skin with built-in sensors. This allows them to determine their proximity to a person or other machine and "feel" contact and the amount of pressure applied. The robots react by slowing down or stopping altogether.
What's more, the cobot can experience its environment visually. An integrated sight system shows it where people are and whether they are entering its field of movement.
All this enables human-machine collaboration on an entirely new level.
Cobots at HANNOVER MESSE
Cobots are one of HANNOVER MESSE’s most fascinating topics of focus. They are under the spotlight at the Leading Trade Fair for Industrial Automation , which covers all the opportunities of the latest automation solutions. Also, until Friday, you have the chance to meet Comau and many other cobot manufacturers in Hall 17, Stand C04.