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The French energy and automation specialist Schneider Electric has now developed a new collaborative robot for safe cooperation between man and machine. Dubbed Lexium, the Cobot is available in five model variants and can be retrofitted as a standalone solution in almost any industrial plant. Thanks to constant monitoring of torque and speed, the tech company's first collaborative robot can also perform extremely careful and cautious movements. Thus, in contrast to classic robotics applications, it is possible to dispense with further protective devices. The extremely mobile robot arm is programmed purely graphically and can be adjusted to new movement profiles by means of hand-guided teaching.

Gentle mobility should make man and machine more efficient

Unlike conventional industrial robots, which usually feature high acceleration and immense forces, cobots can work in close proximity to their human colleagues. The lightweight robots are equipped with safety protocols as standard and have sensitive force monitoring to detect a collision. This qualifies them for a wide range of applications that would not be possible with conventional industrial robots.

Lexium robot series increases safety and boosts efficiency

The total of five versions of Schneider Electric's first cobot differ in terms of size, payload (three to 18 kilograms) and working radius. All models in the series have torque monitoring, with which they detect a collision. In the event of unexpected contact, a safety protocol ensures that the gripper arm, which is made of aluminium, immediately stops its movement. Rounded edges and the overall low weight further reduce the risk of injury. Since this eliminates the need for additional safety devices, depending on the application, space requirements can be reduced by about 30 to 40 per cent compared to traditional industrial robots.

Six axes for maximum manoeuvrability

According to their developers, what also particularly distinguishes the Lexium Cobot models from Schneider Electric is their high degree of mobility. Due to the total of six axes, practically any movement profile can be realised. And not only in systems in which the Schneider Cobot is permanently integrated. Thanks to its own PLC control, the robot arm can also be used as a stand-alone solution and be connected upstream or downstream of machine processes - for example, when it comes to transferring workpieces to a human or stacking packaged goods.

Hand-guided teaching and graphic programming

Another special feature of the new collaborative robot from Schneider Electric is its graphic programming. Apart from a certain level of basic technical knowledge, this does not require any specific training. In addition, the cobot can learn to perform certain tasks by simply being taught the required motion profile by manually guiding the robot arm. This so-called hand-guided teaching results in a further simplification of the programming process and eliminates the need for detailed parameterisation of movement settings. In this way, the Lexium Cobot is ready for use very quickly and can also be adjusted to new conditions at short notice in the event of retooling. Specialised knowledge for programming or commissioning is not required.

Part of an integrated automation platform

At Schneider Electric, Lexium Cobot is part of the holistic automation platform Ecostruxure Machine. This portfolio includes other robots, transport systems (Lexium MC12 - Multi Carrier), motion controllers and drives, as well as a uniform software solution for all stages of machine development.