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Hannover, Germany. The automation company drag&bot, the Fraunhofer IFAM institute and the Heinz Berger Group have been selected as the final contestants for the ROBOTICS AWARD 2018. The ultimate winner of this world-renowned prize will remain secret until the second day of HANNOVER MESSE – the world's leading trade fair for industrial technology. The big moment will come at 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, 24 April. This is the eighth time that HANNOVER MESSE and the Robotation Academy are teaming up to award this prize for applied robot solutions. Bernd Althusmann, Minister of Economic Affairs, Employment, Transport and Digitalization for the German state of Lower Saxony, is serving as the official patron of the ROBOTICS AWARD, which carries a prize purse of €10,000. The awards ceremony will take place at the Automation Forum in Hall 14.

Companies and institutions from Germany and abroad were invited to submit their solutions, with the object consisting of products, projects or technological innovations which have made an innovative contribution to robot-based solutions in the field of industrial automation, mobile robots or autonomous systems. The jury's assessment of all of these systems resulted in the selection of the following three solutions that have been nominated for the prize to be presented at HANNOVER MESSE:

The Stuttgart-based drag&bot automation provider made the final cut on the basis of its programming platform which allows users to intuitively program and flexibly operate industrial robots from a wide range of manufacturers. A cloud and graphics-based interface can be used from anywhere. The software can also be expanded to cover all the relevant hardware and software. Its operation requires no prior robotics or IT skills, making it possible to use industrial robots economically in small batches.

The Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Applied Materials Research (IFAM) impressed the jury with its system for milling large components that can be used to upgrade standard industrial robots to become mobile CNC milling robots. The solution consists of a modularly designed mobile system on a highly rigid mobile platform (AGV) and involves integrating various technologies to increase accuracy. This mobile and flexible system enables highly productive precision machining, making it possible to replace space-consuming gantry systems. A low investment volume and increased productivity are above all useful for the production of large components and industrial tool and die making. Visitors to HANNOVER MESSE can see the mobile CNC robots at the Siemens stand in Hall 9.

The Heinz Berger Maschinenfabrik , a Wuppertal-based company specializing in grinding and polishing technology, won over the jury with its process chain of robot cells used as a polishing system for pots and pans. A total of 33 highly interactive, networked robot systems are capable of executing fully automated workpiece and tool changes. Intelligent cell interaction and distribution of the individual production steps make the systems enormously flexible, particularly for efficiently producing small batch sizes. An integrated Industry 4.0 interface with IP-based protocols means that the system can be controlled and monitored worldwide. The system is already deployed on the factory floor in Wuppertal.

The jury for the ROBOTICS AWARD consists of Dr. Alin Albu-Schäffer, Head of the Institute for Robotics and Mechatronics at the German Center for Aviation and Aerospace; Marc Brosig, Head of Systems Technology at the Volkswagen Group; Dr. Norbert Elkmann, Business Unit Manager for Robotic Systems at the Fraunhofer IFF Institute; Werner Götz, Editor-in-Chief and member of the Managing Board of the Konradin Media Group; Olaf Katzer, Head of Vocational Education and Training at the Volkswagen Group as well as General Manager of Technology and Technical Training at the Robotation Academy; Dr. Tobias Ortmaier, Head of the Institute for Mechatronic Systems at the Leibniz University of Hannover; and Franz Vogt from the Maintenance Division of SMP Deutschland.