Cobots - compact, collaborative, six-axis robots - are playing an increasingly important role in the fully automated production environments of the fourth industrial revolution. Yet they have a major disadvantage compared with their larger counterparts - their operating range doesn't generally extend beyond a few hundred millimeters. Linear axes, on which cobots can move horizontally or vertically to where they need to be, have proven to be at least a partial remedy for this. Solutions from RK Rose+Krieger, an end-to-end supplier of linear, profile assembly, connection and module technology, include a lifting column linkage for adjusting the height of collaborative robots. This is particularly useful for height-adjustable workstations, as the height of the cobots can be adjusted in tandem with that of the workstation itself.
In a joint project with the Fraunhofer Institute for Mechatronic Systems Design IEM - which is ideally qualified when it comes to developing (semi)automated processes involving cobots - the company has now taken things a step further. To extend the cobots' working range on both a linear and three-dimensional basis, RK Rose+Krieger has engineered and produced a 3D spatial gantry for a robot-assisted handling and processing system. Supported by intelligent sensors and sophisticated algorithms, the system is designed to enable perfect synchronization between the movements of robots and the spatial gantry and make it easy to adapt to changes in application scenarios without time-consuming conversion and resetting work. The spatial gantry's rigidity also ensures high precision when using the attached tool, while the costs associated with the new solution are significantly lower than for conventional industrial robots, according to the developers.
RK Rose+Krieger GmbH (32423 Minden, Germany)