Automation

Industry News for Automation

The World Robotics 2021 Industrial Robots report shows a record of 3 million industrial robots operating in factories around the world – an increase of 10%.
At every stage of manufacturing, there is an opportunity for automation. Unfortunately, many manufactures often let perceived barriers keep them from implementing complete machine or process automation. With this mindset, they end up limiting their productivity by automating only one or two aspects of the process or not automating at all.
When looking at the place of metrology in the “Fourth Industrial Revolution,” it is interesting to ponder whether Industry 4.0 is being driven by developments in metrology or metrology developments are being driven by Industry 4.0.
Changing a three-axis machining process from a vertical machining center (VMC) to a horizontal machining center (HMC) offers many benefits.
Aluminum, with its many advantageous properties, is used in a wide spectrum of industries to manufacture a vast, and growing, range of products. As the use of aluminum is so varied, so are its' traceability requirements.
Five trends have helped triple the number of annual installations of industrial robots within ten years (2010-2019) reaching 381 thousand units in factories around the world.
In the past decade, a California-based machine shop has relied on a flexible, honing tool for a range of automated CNC machining applications such as cross hole deburring, cylindrical honing, surface finishing, edge-blending and cleaning.
The ThyssenKrupp Crankshaft Co. in Danville, Illinois, operates up to 21 shifts per week to produce forged crankshafts for the North American heavy-duty automotive, truck, and engine markets. Meeting production needs requires precise technology, including a Zema Numerika GH1500 grinding machine from Junker.
Fastems Group will host an online Open House & Conference entitled "Productivity Beyond Machine Tending" that will showcase the latest developments in automation and surrounding technologies.
Industrial automation is changing the way cutting tool manufacturers operate. Machines can take on the heavy lifting at each stage of production letting workers get on with less repetitive tasks. And while automation may sound costly and complex to implement, it’s not reserved just for big business.
The Integrex i-H series of multi-tasking machines from Mazak was designed to allow for additional automation technologies to be added onto the machine after purchase as a company's production needs grow and change.

PI (Physik Instrumente) LP, a provider of motion control and laser processing solutions, launched a virtual tradeshow on its website. The tradeshow features industrial automation and laser material processing products.
If you didn't visit it live, then through Aug. 28, you still can attend The Cobot Expo, a North American digital trade show by Universal Robots USA Inc.
RobotWorx breathes new life into its extensive robotic parts inventory to meet increasing demand in a shifting market.
Taiwan Excellence, an international campaign to promote Taiwan's products, will host the Taiwan Excellence smart machinery online press conference June 2 from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m.
TWINSBURG, Ohio (May 2020) — As COVID-19 has significantly altered the way that business is conducted, Pepperl+Fuchs Inc. is striving to keep the needs of customers at the forefront. To this end, the company has announced extended hours for its live chat customer support.
The impact of COVID-19 has changed the way we conduct business and illuminates more than ever the need for manufacturers to assess their processes and implement smart manufacturing technology. The challenges that manufacturers face daily have been only exacerbated by the pandemic. Adding value to machinery to allow unattended operations and improve productivity without relying on operators to perform every function is even more imperative in today’s climate.
In an effort to support the global need for medical ventilators, Minnesota-based Tolomatic Inc. has dedicated a team of engineers to the development of highly efficient emergency ventilator concept systems using electric linear actuators. The proposed technologies are the first step in creating innovative emergency ventilators for patients around the world.
The industrial control robotics systems perform, control and monitor a wide range of industrial operations and automated processes. The objective is to improve the overall quality, reliability and precision of these processes.
Customers and partners of BIG KAISER Precision Tooling teamed up to generate a $7,283 donation to benefit the National Robotics League (NRL). The amount is nearly 10% more than last year and the fourth year-over-year increase in NRL funding from BIG KAISER.
January is traditionally a month for new hope and new energy to meet life and business goals. But for manufacturers facing a new year with the lowest unemployment rate in more than five decades, it can be a tough time to expect workers to come back with enthusiasm from holiday celebrations to dull and menial tasks. That makes January an ideal time for National Cobot Awareness Month
New robots will be able to generate savings in manufacturing and plug short-term gaps while helping create future jobs.
Toolcraft, a machine shop in Monroe, Washington, was immediately impressed by the 30 µm repeatability and built-in force/torque sensing in Universal Robots’ new flagship line of collaborative robots. The company needed to automate a challenging, three-operation machine tending task inside its CNC machine and has saved 23% on production costs and increased throughput 43% by using the UR5e cobot.
Tomenson Machine Works is a third-generation, family-owned manufacturer of precision hydraulic manifolds, with a focus on continuous improvement. The company turned to collaborative automation in its pin-stamping application to improve quality, profitability and worker satisfaction. The OnRobot collaborative RG6 gripper handles dozens of different part sizes with fast and easy changeovers, and sets the stage for ongoing automation in potential applications such as CNC tending, deburring and packaging.
RCM Industries Inc., a Wheeling, Illinois-based manufacturer of die-cast aluminum components for industries such as automotive and consumer products, found itself in competition with low-wage suppliers in Mexico for a large outsourced project. “We had to look at how to drive cost out of the product without reducing the value that we provide our customers,” said Mike Higgins, RCM Industries director of sales and marketing. “Without the cobots, we would not have had a shot at that work.”
A report from McKinsey & Co., “The Future of Work in Black America,” highlights the challenges American workers will face during the next decade as automation continues to take away blue-collar jobs. While the negative effects of automation are expected to hit all demographics, black American men are the group who will be most affected.
Since 1992, RobotWorx has been refurbishing industrial robots, restoring the workhorses of manufacturing environments to like-new condition. Robots are commodities today, performing everything from welding tasks to handling intrinsic materials in solar panel clean room environments. For RobotWorx, opportunity beckons when companies upgrade their plants, close their facilities, or when old robots are replaced. Regardless of their condition, RobotWorx gives used robots new life.
As manufacturers continue to be challenged by a shortage of skilled workers and the need to boost productivity, automation remains a topic of significant interest. That was certainly the case at the Wisconsin Manufacturing & Technology Show. The biennial trade show took place Oct. 8-10 at the Exposition Center at Wisconsin State Fair Park, West Allis, Wisconsin.
The human hand is still regarded as the benchmark when it comes to flexibility of gripping tools. Humanoid manipulators that enable the widest variety of gripping variants will be more and more in demand in future, particularly when it comes to service and assistance robotics. In addition, the factor of economical viability is increasingly important.
Researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology developed robots that have the ability to reason about shape, function and attachment of unrelated parts. This lets the robots build basic tools by combining objects. The breakthrough is a significant step toward enabling intelligent agents to devise tools that could prove useful in hazardous situations.
For the first time, the annual World Robotics report includes a specific analysis on the market for collaborative robots, documenting a robust 23% growth worldwide. The International Federation of Robotics’ report indicates that a substantial part of the adoption will be driven by more intelligent components, such as smart grippers, “plug and play” interfaces and programming by demonstrations.
As per the findings of a report, the global industrial robotics market is projected to indicate substantial growth over the forecast period due to multiple driving factors such as adoption of internet of things in industries and growing digitization of manufacturing industry across geographies.
Toolcraft Inc., a small machine shop in Monroe, Washington, makes parts for such industries as aerospace, defense and medical. The company needed help tending its CNC machine and ultimately turned to e-Series collaborative robots by Universal Robots A/S.
Cole Technologies Inc., Columbus, Indiana, is a certified Universal Robots system integrator that supplies automation systems specializing in pick-and-place, deburring and plastic part trimming applications. One recent project involved the deflashing of molded parts where a more accurate robot path was deemed necessary.
Fetch Robotics announced the results of the inaugural FetchIt! Mobile Manipulation Challenge. The competition was designed to advance the state of technology for applying mobile manipulators, which are autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) fitted with robotic arms, for use in manufacturing and related applications.
The rise of the robots is pervasive across all verticals, including the cutting tools industry. As more and more manufacturers turn to leaner processes robotics have been seen as a way to increase productivity, improve precision and reduce labor costs. It’s led to some asking whether robotics will replace humans completely. It’s also led others to ask if the benefits are just too good to be true.
Based on the high level of traffic and activity that I saw at Automate 2019 combined with a U.S. unemployment rate of just under 4%, my hunch is that robot manufacturers will report impressive sales figures this year. This guestimate is a result of a conversation I had with Joseph Gemma, CEO of division industries – Americas for KUKA Robotics Corp., Shelby Township, Michigan. According to Gemma, as the unemployment rate decreases, robot sales increase. He emphasized that automation is changing jobs—not taking them away.
Industrial robotic applications have been growing exponentially across multiple industrial ecosystems, as value-addition to the existing operational paradigms become imperative. Rising eminence of collaborative robots (cobots) in the future is not surprising as automation continues to lie at the heart of industrial spaces for both regular and complex applications. Cost is also a key factor responsible for the rise of industrial robotics, owing to the fact that the average selling prices of robots have come down significantly over the past 20 to 30 years.
As the cover indicates, the February issue will include a focus on automation. In addition to Contributing Editor Kip Hanson’s cover story about automating CNC lathes, I wrote about the productivity gains Camcraft Inc. is realizing after installing a Makino Machining Complex (MMC2) flexible manufacturing system.
Robots don’t take away jobs.
When companies lose to their competition, that’s when workers lose jobs.
There seems to be this idea: If the robots hadn’t shown up, the jobs would have stayed. But nothing could be further from reality.
Here’s the truth: We aren’t using enough robots.
The growing use of work robots and the deployment of artificial intelligence have been most disruptive in just those areas of the country that provided President Trump with crucial margins of support in 2016.
In connection with my article about flexible manufacturing systems for the February issue, I visited Camcraft Inc., which has a Makino Machining Complex (MMC2) automated pallet-handling system. Four Makino 4-axis a51nx horizontal machining centers are integrated into the system.
Sometimes manufacturing can feel like a battle between David and Goliath. But in the era of automation, think Industry 4.0, manufacturers are discovering the advantages to being smaller. Automation technology has leveled the playing field and now smaller means nimble, niche and, for the first time, heading in the same direction as the big guys.
While attending The Assembly Show, it seems that I saw robots and other automation equipment everywhere I turned. The trade show and conference took place Oct. 23-25 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Illinois.
Accenture believes that investment in artificial intelligence has the potential to double the annual economic growth rates of major developed economies, such as Germany, and triple Japan’s economic rate by 2035. In the manufacturing industry, Accenture believes that the power of AI technologies will increase profitability by 39 percent, boosting gross value added by almost $4 trillion in 2035.
There are no collaborative robots, only robots with collaborative applications. That’s according to Simon Whitton, regional division manager of North America for KUKA Robotics Corp., Shelby Township, Michigan.
Although automation is occurring in manufacturing, as it is in other sectors of the economy, the evidence does not support the idea that automation was the main cause of the sudden decline in manufacturing employment after 2000. It’s difficult to precisely pin down what was to blame, but a large body of research suggests that economists and pundits are wrong to so quickly dismiss trade and to blame machines.
Robots and the programming they rely on have certainly made huge leaps in recent years. But manufacturers have little use for jumping or cuddling machines. They need performers that can do specific production jobs. Do robots fit the bill? Will they replace all our manufacturing employees?
For its new “Manufacturing Perception Report,” Thomas surveyed more than 1,000 participants from across the U.S. to examine their awareness and views about the manufacturing industry. When respondents were asked about which industries automation will have the biggest impact on, the New York-headquartered information, data and analysis provider reported that manufacturing took the lead at 34 percent, followed by transportation (15 percent), retail (11 percent) and fast food (10 percent).
The Jacksonville Jaguars introduced FANUC America as a partner of the team and welcomed five new robots to TIAA Bank Field and the Jaguars family of game day staff this past Sunday during the team’s victory over the New England Patriots.
Regardless of which area of the world you’re in, lack of labor is a pervasive problem that has the potential to cripple the global economy. Fortunately, automation in many forms can help bridge the gap and fill holes on the factory floor, doing jobs that humans just don’t want—and can afford to turn down.
When I’m visiting CNC operations around the country, shop managers often start our conversations like this, “Labor is killing us. We can’t find enough good operators and we’re losing some of our experienced operators to competitors. What are my options?” The manager often goes on to describe operational issues related to labor that are typical in high-mix CNC manufacturing. This article describes automation options for CNC shops, specifically focusing on those processing parts in CNC milling machines with batch sizes between 10 and 1,000 pieces.
Myths and debates swirl around the questions of using robots to automate CNC operations. From “Should we automate?” and “Can we automate?” to “How should we automate?” Are they true or not? Let’s look at a few of the most-discussed topics regarding robotic CNC automation.
Lately, a very different trend has begun to manifest itself: Manufacturers have started replacing robots with humans. This is not driven by nostalgia or from a desire to provide more manufacturing jobs. It is simple, practical self-interest on the part of manufacturers.
There’s a new woman in my life, and my wife is jealous. Really? I admit that I’ve been a little preoccupied lately with automating my house, but to say that I talk to Alexa more than the mother of my children is unfair. No, it’s not obsessive behavior; it’s an experiment in what’s possible.
Not only is automation continuing to displace workers at manufacturing companies, the thought of being ousted by a robot is making some workers at those plants feel sick. That’s according to a study by three Ball State University researchers and a Villanova University professor.
My October 20 post on adding capabilities to your current CNC brought a response from a reader who who shares a problem. “We have a few Kitamura MyCenter 4XiF VMCs with FANUC 16iMB controls running daily on our shop floor,” he writes, “The control hasn’t given us a single problem since they powered on for the first time. However, we haven’t been able to get the machines onto our network and we have given up trying.”
For our February issue’s Industry Briefs department, I’m writing an article about the Deburring Application Laboratory at Matrix Design LLC. The company designs, builds and installs robotic automation systems for deburring parts, as well as machine tending and material handling.
Earlier this week we shared the conclusions of the McKinsey Report, which concluded that it may be possible for U.S. manufacturing to grow by 20 percent and add more than 2 million jobs by 2025. That was the good news. It can only happen, however, if manufacturers embrace Industry 4.0 technology. The Integr8 conference in Detroit showed how to get started.
Aircraft Tooling, a Dallas-based repair center for the aviation industry, was surprised to find that Universal Robots could withstand the high temperatures and harsh environment while performing metal powder and plasma spray processes. The UR “cobots” have been in operation for 3 years without breakdown or service requirements.
Harrison Manufacturing, a custom plastics injection molding manufacturer specializing in molded plastics and light assembly, recently deployed Rethink Robotics' Sawyer robot at its Jackson, Miss. facility and saw immediate tangible benefits. Deployed within hours, Harrison Manufacturing is reducing labor costs and increasing throughput by using Sawyer in ergonomically challenging tasks.
FANUC Corporation, supplier of robotics, CNC and factory automation has announced the production of its 500,000th robot. The company is working toward ramping production up from 6,000 to 11,000 units per month. To that end, FANUC is building a new factory, which is scheduled to open in August 2018.
A novel 3D printing process that relies on melting aluminum wire and manipulating it with electromagnetism is no longer just another lab project. Vader Systems, which developed the process, has announced the first commercial sale of its signature Mk1 3D printer to Becker CAD-CAM-Cast, a tier-one supplier of engineered aluminum automotive components.
In 2017 robot supplies in the Americas will surge by 16 percent from 2016, according to the International Federation of Robotics. IFR estimates that by 2020 the worldwide stock of operational industrial robots will increase from about 1,828,000 units at the end of 2016 to 3,053,000 units—an average annual growth rate of 14 percent between 2018 and 2020.
The online magazine Fast Company reports that while the rest of the auto industry increasingly uses robots in manufacturing, Toyota has taken a contrarian stance by accentuating human craftsmanship: "The central role that people play in this corner of [Toyota's] Georgetown plant is repeated throughout the factory and exemplifies the uniqueness of Toyota’s manufacturing philosophy."
The American manufacturing industry is charging ahead. Despite losing five million jobs over the past decade due to automation and offshoring, the American manufacturing industry is now producing up to 12% of the country's gross domestic product. That's the same percentage of product produced in 1960, but with three times the growth in productivity experienced in 1978.
UI LABS and ManpowerGroup have released a workforce analysis that identifies 165 data-centric jobs that will define the future of manufacturing in the United States. Descriptions for jobs such as collaborative robotics specialist, manufacturing cybersecurity strategist and enterprise digital ethicist give a window into the advanced skills and knowledge needed to put new technology into practice and remain globally competitive.
Boeing and Georgia Tech formally opened a new advanced development research center designed to solve some of the toughest technical challenges in manufacturing. In the Boeing Manufacturing Development Center, company researchers and Georgia Tech engineering students will work together to implement automation in industrial applications. The center is located in Georgia’s Tech new 19,000-sq.-ft. Delta Advanced Manufacturing Pilot Facility.
Capgemini’s Digital Transformation Institute reports that manufacturers expect investments in smart factories will drive a 27 percent increase in their operation efficiency over the next five years. This would add $500 billion in annual added value to the global economy. Fifty-six percent of surveyed manufacturing executives said their companies have invested $100 million or more in smart factory initiatives over the past five years, while 20 percent claim to have invested $500 million or more.
In 2007 the KUKA Titan entered the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest and strongest robot in the world. A decade later a modified version of the behemoth has been given accuracy unprecedented for its size—better than 100µm (0.0039").
According to Frost & Sullivan’s Industrial Automation and Process Control team, cognitive technologies and artificial intelligence (AI) are "poised to transform all manufacturing sectors." Partnership, collaboration, and technology investment are crucial for growth opportunities in an era when "data is the new currency."
It takes knowledge and skill to get a robot to do exactly what you want it to do in a manufacturing environment--and those are hard to come by in this skills-gap era. A new interface designed by Georgia Institute of Technology researchers is simpler and more efficient than most interfaces, and doesn’t require significant training time. The user simply points and clicks on an item, then chooses a grasp. The robot does the rest of the work.
Typically in a scrap handling process, the how and where the scrap is collected and disposed of is not part of the conveyor system's design—but should be. That how and where could be crucial to the longevity of your conveyor. PRAB Inc., Kalamazoo, Mich., has a free, downloadable white paper on "The Importance of Design Elements in Maximizing the Life of Your Steel Belt Conveyor," that details what to be aware of.
FANUC America has marked the 35th anniversary of manufacturing its line of painting robots at the company’s Rochester Hills, Mich., headquarters. In 1982, FANUC America produced its first NC Painter, a hydraulic paint robot using key components from parent company FANUC Corp. in Japan. Now, 35 years later, FANUC America remains globally responsible for all paint robots and door openers of the FANUC robot lineup.
Yamazaki Mazak Corp. and Murata Machinery, Ltd. (Muratec) have collaborated in the development of the MAZATEC SMS, an advanced manufacturing system designed to provide efficiency by performing unmanned machining. It incorporates the internal factory material handling technology of Muratec with the advanced horizontal machining centers and multi-tasking machine tools of Mazak Corp.
On Robot ApS, a Danish manufacturer of grippers for collaborative robots (cobots) that was founded in 2014, is introducing its technology to the North American market and has appointed Gary Eliasson as its general manager for North America. He will be based in Charlotte, N.C. “My goal is to set up a North American distribution channel,” he said.
The U.S. manufacturing industry is rushing to embrace technology as a critical part of its processes and plans to make new technological investments in 2017, but barriers to Industry 4.0 adoption still exist, according to Automation Alley’s 2017 Technology Industry Report. According to the report, 85% of national manufacturing executives said their company plans to increase budgets for technological advancements; nearly a third of them plan to increase their budgets by 10% to 15%.
In a recent article, a few Forbes Technology Council members examined what jobs they think will be automated in the next five to 10 years. But what about the flip side of the issue: What kind of positions or work will be safe from the automation process?
Student apprentices graduating from a new automated equipment program will hold demonstrations in front of high-tech industry representatives in February and March at Oakland Community College and Henry Ford College in Dearborn, Calif.
A growing global movement toward automation, and it comes at a time in China when demands for fair working conditions and wages have led to increased volatility, resulting in labor strikes in different parts of the country. 
The Robotic Industries Association has announced that in 2016 the North American robotics market broke all-time records for orders and shipments. During the year, 34,606 robots valued at approximately $1.9 billion were ordered in North America, representing growth of 10 percent in units over 2015.
Robot use is set to accelerate: Worldwide spending on robotics and related services will more than double by 2020, growing from $91.5 billion in 2016 to more than $188 billion in 2020, according to the newly updated Worldwide Commercial Robotics Spending Guide from International Data Corporation (IDC).
The world of robotics and automation is changing fast. International Data Corp's (IDC) Manufacturing Insights Worldwide Commercial Robotics program peeks over the horizon with predictions for the world of robotics in 2017 and after.
After robot builder MegaBots Inc. determined that its Mk. II robot was unsafe for the two human pilots to operate during the upcoming Giant Robot Duel against Japan-based Suidobashi Heavy Industry’s Kuratas robot, the Hayward, Calif.-based company decided to build a new robot from scratch. 
As useful and commonplace as robots are in manufacturing, buying one is rarely a one-stop shopping experience. However, robot manufacturer Universal Robots A/S has launched a new service, UR+, which may change the way robots are bought and sold. 
For 10 years, FANUC Corp.’s highly accurate ROBONANO automated milling machines have been in use in Japan’s semiconductor industry. Now the newest iteration of the machine is in the U.S. to help researchers studying emerging materials and manufacturing processes. 
The Janesville, Wis., micromanufacturer Performance Micro Tool is part of a Janesville Gazette feature on local companies increasing their use of automation. The article notes that a recent source of revenue for the company is a tool contract with a company that makes the tiny housings in credit cards that hold those now-ubiquitous micro chips.
To spur significant innovation and growth in advanced manufacturing, as well as save over $100 billion annually, U.S. industry must rectify currently unmet needs for measurement science and "proof-of-concept" demonstrations of emerging technologies. This is the overall conclusion reached by economic studies funded by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) of four advanced manufacturing areas used to create everything from automobile composites to zero-noise headsets.
In the past 18 months, several Whirlpool Corp. plants have added collaborative robots to the assembly process. Collaborative robots are at the forefront of manufacturing technology and are designed to work alongside their human counterparts. "Collaborative robots allow us to be much more flexible,” says Eric Howe, Whirlpool senior engineer and automation lead.
The University of Wisconsin-Madison College of Engineering is the new home of a unique machine that is capable of 3D milling precise to one nanometer. The machine, called the ROBONANO α-0iB, is the first of its kind in North America, and it brings extremely advanced technological capabilities that could represent the future of advanced manufacturing. The ROBONANO, which is on a multi-year loan from the Japanese robotics manufacturer FANUC, is housed in the laboratory of Sangkee Min, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at UW-Madison. The ROBONANO’s extremely precise capabilities offer Min and colleagues new research opportunities, which he hopes will open up improved and novel approaches to manufacturing.
“Manufacturers who conduct a lot of machining know that the cost of productivity of a machining operation is inextricably connected to the selection of the cutting tool and the process for managing them,” writes GE Industry Analyst Andy Henderson in a GE Digital blog post. “In the utopian future, the manufacturing intelligence system will automatically control how cutting tools are used and automatically optimize the cost of machining operations.”
"With rising salaries, labor unrest, environmental devastation and intellectual property theft, China is no longer an attractive place for Western companies to move their manufacturing," writes Vivek Wadhwa. "Technology has also eliminated the labor cost advantage. [China] built its dominance in manufacturing by offering massive subsidies, cheap labor, and lax regulations. With technologies such as robotics and 3D printing, it has no edge."
Rodney Brooks, founder of Rethink Robotics, introduced the concept of cost-effective and collaborative robotics in manufacturing. He explains why he believes robots like Rethink’s Baxter and Sawyer won’t endanger jobs.
Dorner Holding Corp., the parent company of Dorner Mfg. Corp., Hartland, Wis., on May 12 announced the acquisition of Jülich, Germany-based Geppert-Band, a leading European manufacturer of belt and modular belt conveyors. 
One constant fear in regard to automation is that it will make human workers obsolete. Citing a 2013 University of Oxford study, University of Cincinnati Assistant Professor of Economics Michael Jones wrote that almost half of those employed in the U.S. are at risk of being replaced by automation over the next 10 to 20 years, with transportation, logistics and administration as the most vulnerable occupations.
Forklifts—the workhorses of the plant floor—are more valuable than ever at ITAMCO (Indiana Technology and Manufacturing Cos.). The Plymouth, Ind.-based manufacturer of gears and other precision components connected its forklifts to the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), which integrates machine tools and other manufacturing equipment with networked sensors and software. 
Dorner Mfg. Corp.’s newly completed 25,000-square-foot facility, which became fully operational last month, reportedly positions the company to become even more responsive to customers, while meeting future production goals and anticipated growth in the low-profile conveyor market.
Dorner Holding Corp., Hartland, Wis., recently announced the acquisition of FlexMove, a leading manufacturer of flexible chain conveyors for food, beverage, automotive, electronic and other industries. The addition of FlexMove, located in Penang, Malaysia, expands Dorner Holding's geographic coverage and complements existing products and capabilities of the corporation's Dorner Mfg. line.
The Gleason Corp. announced a new name and operating structure for Distech Systems effective Jan. 1, 2016. Acquired in May 2014, Distech will now do business as Gleason Automation Systems, and will operate as a division of The Gleason Works.
In October 2015, TRUMPF purchased approximately five acres of land adjacent to Interstate Highway 90 in Hoffman Estates, Ill., a northwestern suburb of Chicago. Located within one of the core zones of the sheet metal business in North America, this site will serve as the future home of the TRUMPF Technology Center and the center of excellence for Industry 4.0, according to the company.

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Videos on Automation

The Robotics Results column in the February 2022 issue of Cutting Tool Engineering magazine demonstrates how ROI is guaranteed with robotic automation, and enables industry professionals to visualize their ROI through off-the-clock operations.
This video supplement to the Robotics Results column in the October 2021 issue of Cutting Tool Engineering magazine features the RoboJob-USA Turn Assist Essential i model with a Schunk three-finger gripper on a Haas Automation St-30 CNC machine. The setup helped a shop increase productivity 48%. 
For one high-mix, low-volume application, Methods Machine Tools reported that it worked with diamond tool manufacturer CDP Diamond Products Inc. in Livonia, Michigan, to design, create, test and integrate a custom turnkey automation cell composed of a Fanuc CRX cobot (video demo), two Fanuc C600iA Robocuts and an infeed/outfeed system.
Tri-V Tool and Manufacturing Co. doesn't turn down work or shy away from challenging parts. To meet customer demands, they’ve added more-sophisticated and advanced horizontal machining centers, an automated pallet system and multi-tasking part processing from Mazak.
This video supplement to the Robotics Results column in the August 2021 issue of Cutting Tool Engineering magazine demonstrates how one shop increased productivity 43% by introducing a RoboJob NV Turn-Assist 200i on a Haas Automation ST-20SS CNC machine. 
The sixth episode of this Cobotics Corner video series demonstrates the use of a Universal Robots UR5e arm with a  Schunk three-finger gripper loading and unloading a Haas Automation SL-20 CNC machine. This automation solution reportedly helped increase productivity by 41%, according to Fusion OEM.
Watch a Cobotics Corner demonstration that helped increase productivity by 32% using a Universal Robots UR5e arm with a Robotiq dual parallel servogripper on a 2018 Haas Automation VF-2SS CNC machine, according to Fusion OEM.
Watch a Cobotics Corner demonstration that helped increase productivity by 43% using a Universal Robots UR10e arm with a Robotiq dual parallel servogripper on a 2018 Haas VF-2SS CNC machine, according to Fusion OEM.
Watch a Cobotics Corner demonstration that helped a shop increase productivity by 34% using a Universal Robots UR5e arm and a Robotiq Dual Hand-E gripper on a 2012 Haas ST20SS, according to Fusion OEM.
Fusion OEM recently came to the aid of a family-owned contract machine shop that was ready to automate. After visiting the shop, Fusion worked with the owner to automate two mills in a six-machine cell. Watch a brief demonstration of a robotic CNC machine tending operation on a Haas Mini Mill with a Universal Robots UR5e and Schunk dual pneumatic parallel gripper.
Universal Robots USA Inc. in Ann Arbor, Michigan, has introduced a pick-and-place kit to automate machine loading without the major integration and programming efforts usually required to install and set up an automated bin-picking system.
Cutting Tool Engineering debuts a new video series, Cobotics Corner. Watch a brief demonstration of a robotic CNC machine tending operation on a Haas VF2SS with a Universal Robots UR5e and a Robotiq Dual Hand-E.
This video supplement to Cutting Tool Engineering magazine's June 2020 Productive Times article showcases the solution provided by Güdel Inc. — automated material handling through the use of a double-axis gantry robot with special grippers.
Precision Tool Technologies Inc., Brainerd, Minnesota, developed the FullShop automated coolant delivery system to eliminate manually monitoring and replenishing coolant so that the shop could enable unattended machining.
Searching for skilled labor and ways to increase overall efficiency and productivity has just gotten much easier with Okuma’s automation solutions.
Cutting Tool Engineering Owner/Publisher Dennis Spaeth walked the aisles at EASTEC 2019 with his trusty camera in hand. Take a look at some of the highlights captured along the way.
Green is the color of collaboration FANUC America Corporation. Here, Senior Marketing Analyst Joseph M. Baldiga shows off one of the company's cage-free collaborative robots, which can safely work in the same space as humans.
FANUC's new Intelligent Human Machine Interface (iHMI) featured prominently at the company's booth during EASTEC 2019 last month.
Adding automation to your operation isn’t always about making extraordinary changes
Inspired by the best design characteristics from both vertical and horizontal machine platforms, the Makino DA300 5-Axis VMC delivers the highest production capabilities for multi-axis workpieces in the very smallest of machine footprints.
Society's rapid digitalization brings opportunities for the manufacturing industry to overcome challenges, minimize waste and ultimately become more profitable.
Take a look inside Okuma's GENOS M460V-5AX with Errol Burrell, machining center product specialist. Now with an increased capacity for 48 tools, this customer favorite just became even more appealing.
Go from "solid to part" seamlessly. Eliminate extra steps. The newest control feature for both three and five axis machines from Hurco is the skills gap buster shops need.
While the MU-S600V’s compact footprint can be misleading, this flexible, 55-inch, 5-axis vertical machining center will have a dramatic impact on your overall productivity.
Daren Manternach, sales executive for Halter CNC Robotics LLC, visited with Cutting Tool Engineering Publisher Dennis Spaeth during IMTS 2018 to chat about the Halter LoadAssistant and the role the load tending robotic cell has played in the company's growth within the U.S. market.
Harry E.M. Brandicourt, director of strategic partnerships and growth strategies at Up! LLC, discusses the Up! app, a free app that connects service requesters with service providers to repair industrial equipment. Version 2.0 has been released.
Building custom machine tools with FANUC - Excalibur Tools in Grants Pass, Oregon
SW North America demonstrates its new Gantry Robot that enables barrier-free access to the machining centers (MC). The component is rotated in the gripper and loaded into the MC from above.
For shop managers considering "lights out machining," Bob Warfield of CNCCookbook.com offers a host of tips to help ensure your success. Watch the 15th episode of the CNC Chef, a collaboration between Bob Warfield of the CNCCookbook.com and Cutting Tool Engineering.
CTEPLUS visits the ATS Systems booth at IMTS 2016 for a demonstration of the Xcelerate robot from Cellro, a robotic automation company located in Veenendaal, The Netherlands.
Methods Machine Tools showed off its 3D part-picking cell during IMTS 2016 held at McCormick Place in Chicago last week. Methods' Zachary Hallowell, Mechanical Engineer, Automation Team, provides a guided tour of the system.
Mazak Corp. Applications Engineer Dan Dasilva offers an overview of the company's "Done in One" approach as he provides a guided tour of the Variaxis i-600 and Multi Pallet Pool (MPP) 500.
John Lucier, National Automation Manager for Methods Machine Tools, offers a guided tour of the company's post-machining process deburring cell, which was on display during IMTS 2016 held at McCormick Place in Chicago last week.
Haas Automation's "Tip of the Day" video series tackles the buildup of stringy chips that wrap around tools. "If you’ve ever experienced a rat’s nest of stringy chips wrapped around your tools, this video is for you," according to the video description on the Haas Automation YouTube channel. A Haas representative offers "a simple way to throw those chips off the tool before they have a chance to build up." In addition, the video introduces a new feature in the Haas NextGen control that is said to eliminate the problem of chip buildup altogether.
The Haas Minimum Quantity Lubrication (MQL) system delivers a steady flow of compressed air and a small quantity of cutting oil directly to the cutting tool or tap, which reduces heat, removes chips and provides lubrication, according to the Haas Automation Inc. website, which features a video report looking at the key features and benefits of MQL.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) produced this video report to highlight some of the backstory behind building a 3D printed electric car in full view of everyone who attended IMTS 2014 in Chicago. The video notes that the collaboration among Local Motors, Cincinnati Inc., the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and DOE's Advanced Manufacturing Office helped spur the advancement of 3D printing technology.
Zoller unveils 3D Check, Titan and cost per click calculator at IMTS 2014.
GF Machining Solutions unveils the Transformer automation cell at IMTS 2014.
A Rockwell Automation representative talks about the Ethernet trend based on open standards and how its potential application for many industries. The video captures a robot arm sorting and aligning pucks. Driving the automation are Stratix switches, which were jointly developed by Cisco and Rockwell Automation.
David Holmes, the production manager at Linda Tool in Brooklyn, N.Y., recently pointed out the growing shop's emphasis on documentation. Here, Holmes offers a quick walk through of the company's DMG/Mori Seiki NL2000 lathe.
Len Graham, Business Unit Leader, Rexam Mold Manufacturing, discusses the motivation behind the Buffalo Grove, Ill., company's decision to build a Mega Cell automated mold manufacturing system. Graham offers a detailed walk-through of the company's Mega Cell, which began operation in March 2013.
Perplexed by the lack of automation for vertical machining centers, Steve Simons, president of Simons Design Innovation, decided to do something about it.
A Makino Machining Complex integrated with two a71 horizontal machining centers is used to produce conveyor chain assemblies for the coal mining industry in this video report shot at Cincinnati Mine Machinery.
Joseph A. Cvengros, Marketing Director at FANUC Robotics, Rochester Hills, Mich., points out the new connectivity driving FANUC's Intelligent Machining Center: Fixtureless IR Vision, Force Sensing device and Machine Tool Connect software.
FANUC FA America featured a seamlessly integrated automotive solution at the imX event held in Las Vegas Sept. 12-14. The new system integrates CNCs, robots, Rockwell Automation PLC Pack Motion and Enterprise Software solutions.

Products for Automation

With a wide variety of modules, ATRO gives users the power to create almost any custom robot design within the rated payloads for their application – from a simple single-axis rotary indexing table application and delta kinematics up to multi-axis articulated robots. Expansive configurations with as many as 16 robotic arms are possible.
Lantek Expert V2021 includes 25 innovative cutting, punching and shearing strategies that offer more options for efficient destruction of slugs and to redistribute parts throughout the entire metal sheet to optimize the rigidity of the skeleton and further reduce waste. The system digitalizes scrap with previous cuts, identifies areas on the sheet available and allows for any part to be cut within that space, all with a simple drag-and-drop operation.
uniLoad is offered on the basis of a linear portal cell with two parallel grippers and is suitable for shaft components up to a length of 350 mm and a diameter of max. 100 mm. It thus covers a large proportion of the component ranges produced on these machines. The parts are supplied via a standardized, adjustable V-belt. The housing for the base module, which is provided with a loading hatch as standard, has been adapted to suit the machine design and enables safe and clean operation of the system.
In contrast to conventional zero-point tooling systems, monitoring sensors were specifically designed for the MTS 4.0. Each of the four chucks in the MTS 4.0 base plate are equipped with a sensor to check the presence of the workpiece holder and to monitor the actuating piston. There is also a force sensor to measure the clamping power. Similar to previous MTS versions, the chuck is operated with compressed air for opening, re-clamping and cleaning functions.
Both the SmartMoma and the Nextage robots will be shown in working action during the IMTS 2022 in Chicago. The SmartMamo will transport full and empty cassettes between the grinding machines and the post‐grinding station. The Nextage humanoid robot will perform tasks such as tubing and labeling.
The FPC 8 is controlled by Fastems’ Version 8 Manufacturing Management Software (MMS) which offers a new single-view user interface with drag-and-drop production orders, EasyRoute feature for bringing new workpieces into production in under 60 seconds, and an advanced automatic Order Generator for recurring orders or maintaining a certain stock level.
PI’s hexapod 6-axis motion controllers and hexapod software are based on decades of experience with parallel kinematic motion systems. They are easy to program, allow the user to change the center of rotation with one command, and come with high level alignment functions built in. PI’s hexapod motion simulator software calculates the limits of workspace and load capacity, thereby ensuring the hexapod you choose will handle the loads, forces, and torques in your application.
The APS Automation Cell is capable of delivering abrasive-to-part and part-to-abrasive applications, wet/ dry processing and uses a full range of abrasives such as coated, non-woven, thin wheel, bonded and superabrasives. Equipped with a verified turnkey solution, manufacturers can then contact an automation system integrator to implement the solution. This avoids costly trial and error at the integrator level.
This system is capable of transporting wire gauges from 1 to 20 and tube sizes from Ø 0.250 mm to Ø 12.7 mm. The WT500/1000 provides quick setups for part changeovers with a belt-driven automatic diameter adjustment transport. Laser selections include nano, pico, and femtosecond UV and NIR sources as well as mechanical spindle drilling assemblies with upwards of 80kRPM of speed for precision quality hole formation.
The compact 3-axis linear nanopositioning stage is based on PI’s A-142 mini air bearing linear slide and suited for high precision, high-dynamics positioning, scanning and alignment applications in fields such as fiber optics, photonics, semiconductors, micro-mechanical systems, etc.
The system is a solution for fabricators facing worker shortages and bottlenecks resulting from the increased productivity of higher-volume fiber lasers. The high-speed modular sorting solution significantly maximizes the productivity and efficiency of downstream operations. 
TwinCAT 3 offers numerous options for connecting TCP/IP-based third-party systems to the main control program: OPC UA, MQTT, HTTPS and Modbus are some prominent examples of the comprehensive range of supported communication protocols. The TwinCAT S7 Communication (TF6620) function now expands this broad spectrum to include the S7 communication protocol.
The M-1000iA’s serial-link construction gives the robot a wider range of motion in every direction.  It can extend its arm upright or rotate it backwards, which is not possible for typical heavy-payload robots with a parallel-link mechanism.  With a 1000 kg payload, a 3,253mm horizontal reach, and a 4,297mm vertical reach the M-1000iA is ready to go to work for manufacturers looking to increase output and maximize their production line’s efficiency.
Through the device passthrough feature of TwinCAT/BSD Hypervisor, hardware resources such as the GPU, USB ports and/or network interfaces can be explicitly assigned to a virtual machine. In this way, access to the TwinCAT/BSD system by user and/or network interfaces can be limited, creating opportunities to boost control system security.
Offering an all-round package for modern production in the Industry 4.0 era, GROB provides 12 modules ranging from planning to engineering to maintenance. Each GROB-NET4Industry module is designed to increase productivity. Users can select from among these modules and combine the most relevant for the best system to ensure transparency and connectivity.
As an external loader, STUDER roboLoad measures only 59.06" (1.50 m) wide: half the width of the machine itself. This saves valuable shop floor space, and yet the system offers plenty of room for workpieces manually loaded on six trays – each measuring 42.52" x 12.6” (1080 mm x 320 mm) – within a comparatively small work area. 
The MMS Insights module provides CNC companies with numerous highlights and suggestions on how to improve their production processes based on data gathered from the automation system, including all the integrated machinery and data systems. MMS overviews the whole production and comes up with suggestions such as adding or removing certain tools or fixtures based on usage rates or updating NC-program runtimes for more precise order scheduling.
The LR-10iA/10 has a 10 kg payload and a large work envelope with a long reach of 1101 mm.  Its compact size makes it an ideal solution for companies with limited floor space, and the slim arm fits into machine tools to load and unload parts.   In addition, a fully enclosed structure features built-in airlines, solenoid valves and electrical utilities for easy integration, and an IP67 rating allows it to operate in industrial environments with dust, water and oil mist.
For end users and integrators, WebLytics not only eliminates manual data collection -- it provides actionable insights into how well a collaborative application is performing, offering live device diagnostics, alerts and preventive maintenance measures to keep costly robot cell downtime to a minimum. 
Fastems FPT is compatible with any machine tool brand, and it integrates with milling machines whether or not they have automatic pallet changers. In addition, the system footprint is extremely compact: FPT-500 for 300-500mm pallets requires only 100 square feet, and FPT-1000 for 500-630mm pallets requires 175 square feet. Instead of having a fixed storage, like most of the comparable units, FPT can work with different load heights and pallet sizes with a configurable pallet storage that can store up to 24 pallets in two to four levels.
Localized with support in nine languages, Learn OnRobot’s extensive library of simple, direct ‘How To’ videos and 3D simulations provides detailed information on collaborative applications, including machine tending, palletizing, pick & place, and sanding. The platform is accessible via PCs, smartphones and tablets, which enables easy access to Learn OnRobot resources from the shop floor during the deployment process. Learn OnRobot also mitigates labor shortages by enabling fast and effective collaborative automation deployments, empowering companies to respond quickly to challenging labor conditions.
The LFT-500 Series provides a cost-effective way to provide this type of enhanced process capability into your own facility. When functionally trimming, the particular parameter is continuously measured and compared with the set value. Once the set value is reached, the laser cut stops automatically. Resistance, voltage, current, frequency – almost all output signals can be adjusted to their target value via the LFT-500 Series tool, in conjunction with appropriate measuring equipment. Specifically built to target US based development groups who need tools for prototyping and pilot production, the platform provides a host of options including customized fixturing and test hardware.
An intuitive visual-based teaching environment, Epson RC+ Express offers fast, efficient programming of Epson SCARA robots for users with little-to-no programming experience, enabling manufacturers to quickly and easily develop robotic programs to overcome cost and time barriers associated with running industrial robots.
Using the method and software, manufacturers can fully optimize their thread turning operations. As part of the solution, CoroPlus Tool Path helps users develop optimized OptiThreading tool paths that specifically overcome the challenge of chip control. This is achieved by offering tool paths that deliver controlled, oscillating movements for interrupted cuts that go in and out of the cut on all passes except the last one.
One highlight of HALCON 21.11 is the addition of instance segmentation technology to the range of deep learning functions. This technology combines the benefits of semantic segmentation with those of object detection and enables the pixel-precise assignment of objects to different classes. It is particularly useful in applications where objects are very close together, touch each other, or overlap. This is the case, for example, when gripping randomly arranged objects from bins ("random bin picking") and when identifying and measuring naturally grown structures, such as organic material.
GF Machining Solutions offers eight WPT 1+ models. Shops can start with a single magazine unit and then add one more as production needs change. The systems easily serve one or two machines within in a production cell thanks to the flexibility of the magazine capacities and its variants (Light, Heavy or a Rotary magazine), along with fully integrated pneumatic control for gripping devices and table chucks. Large doors allow for fast and easy loading and unloading to help shorten changeover cycle times for both low and high-volume applications.
Robotmaster, a Hypertherm brand, is an offline robot programming software that helps manufacturers maximize their robot’s productivity with easy and efficient robot programming for a variety of applications such as cutting, trimming, milling, welding, spraying, polishing, sanding, grinding, deburring, and more. Robotmaster uses integrated CAD/CAM functionality to make robotic programming easy and intuitive for everyone, even first-time users.
The toolless jaw quick-change system reduces set-up times to a minimum, therefore increasing the productivity and flexibility of the entire system. Dowel pins and a corresponding bore hole are available options, serving as additional mounting aides. For example, in the case of asymmetric finger pairs, this ensures that they can only be mounted in the correct position.
For manufacturers who produce different components on the same line, and therefore need to regularly change grippers, this system is highly beneficial. One and the same programmable gripper solution is used to handle all blanks, regardless of shape and size. The transition is automatic and takes less than two minutes. 
Made4CNC’s first official product, the Safedoor SD100 removes the barriers to the automation of component feeding at machine shops. Safedoor SD100 opens CNC doors that are up to 1 meter wide and weigh 400 kg, at a speed of 500 mm/s. The door opener can connect to any robot and CNC machine make via galvanic insulated digital inputs and outputs.
With just a few clicks, users are guided through product selection, comparison tools, and complete technical information to quickly discern their needs from a variety of portfolio options. The Rexroth Store also provides pricing and estimated product lead times. 
CoroPlus® Connected is used alongside the existing Silent Tools™ Plus, a digitally connected damped boring bar from Sandvik Coromant. Having been awarded first place in the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) Production Innovation contest in 2018, Silent Tools™ Plus helps customers by providing visibility at the cutting zone in internal turning applications with long overhang.
R-Palletize is a configurable palletizing station which allows low-volume, high-mix manufacturers to use a single robotic cell for palletizing a variety of product patterns. R-Palletize is available in four hardware configurations which include a FANUC America M710iC/50H robot to handle cases up to 40 pounds, a Rockwell Automation control system, and optional end-of-arm-tooling (EOAT) to suit the application.  Designed for rapid installation and easy setup, R-Palletize offers changeover time in as little as five minutes from the user interface.  
For applications requiring XYZ motion, a motorized vertical linear module can be added at the factory - voice coil motors, linear motors, and screw drive linear modules are available, all with counterbalance or break option. Customizations, such as stage base materials (granite, aluminum, etc), a steel base, or isolators as well as mounting platforms for vision systems, laser heads, galvos or dispensers, etc., are also available.
The Smart Function Kit for Handling can be used in a variety of areas, such as production handling, machine assembly and packaging. Pick-and-place tasks can also be performed quickly and cost-effectively, as a Cartesian multi-axis system for packages of different sizes, weights and formats. 
The ToolConnect barcode application uses a barcode scanner at the machine tool to scan the presetter generated barcode. ToolConnect reads and processes the barcode data, displays all tool and process information and then automatically updates the offsets to the correct fields in the control. No operator data entry is required.
The enhanced UR10e retains the small footprint, intuitive programming experience, uncompromising repeatability, commitment to quality, and trusted performance that Universal Robots customers have come to expect, but its increased payload capacity means that users can now do more.
This low-profile nanopositioning stage (only 27 mm high (1.1”)) is maintenance free, and due to its non-particle generating drive and guiding principle, cleanroom compatible. It delivers 10mm (0.4”) of hysteresis-free linear travel of its 75x80mm (≈3x3¼”) moving platform while supporting up to 3kg (6.6lbs) loads. The air bearing guide guarantees straightness of 100nm and flatness of 0.5µm. High motion performance is achieved with an integrated voice-coil motor that achieves a max. velocity of 450 mm/s and acceleration of 20m/sec2, a great advantage in dynamic scanning and positioning applications.
The LPMA revolutionizes modular laser process automation and promotes innovative, globally competitive opportunities for small to midsize niche manufacturers in the United States and Europe. LPMA series contains all beam delivery functions necessary to support the efficient operation of the laser, with integrated power measurement, beam diagnostics (option), laser attenuation, purge system, and quick optic change mounts. Customers will select configurations for bowl feeding, bin feed, pick & place automation, and machine vision. 
The robot’s design includes a new arm structure, drive system and lighter main unit, which enables high speeds and a large working area. Its 1,460 mm reach is the largest in its class, allowing for installation flexibility and use in a wider variety of applications. The RS013N robot also leads its class in speed, resulting in reduced cycle times and increased productivity.
The AOV orbital sander tool is specially designed for grinding and polishing workpiece surfaces. The pneumatic unit is driven by a vane motor and achieves rotational speeds of 10,000 RPM. The MFT-R is the ideal solution for manufacturers who require a particularly flexible and robust polishing spindle for polishing and brushing of workpieces with axial compliance. The PCFC ensures that a consistent compliance force is acting in any position, due to the position sensor.
This new XPlanar capability makes a variety of groundbreaking adaptive manufacturing applications possible. For instance, mixing liquids or 360-degree inspection of objects is possible with this additional degree of freedom. Furthermore, the movers can leave the rotation positions with an orientation changed in 90-degree steps, so that the transported workpieces are correctly aligned in accordance with the remaining processing steps.
The integrated excitation source of the EL5072 provides a wide range of parameterizable excitation frequencies and voltages. Further special features include the automatically adapted measuring signal range, switchable input impedances for different probe types and one digital input per channel for setting and storing the position value (including timestamp). The measured value is determined with high precision by a 24-bit A/D conversion and output directly as a 32-bit position value that can be easily integrated into the control program.
The robot cell provides flexible solutions for traditionally high-mix, low-volume facilities to introduce automation, and is designed with mobility and flexibility in mind. LoadMate Plus automates the task of loading and removing parts from a machine tool through the use of robotics, and can be mounted next to one machine, between two mach- ines, and otherwise moved around a facility as jobs require. When this cell is paired with Mitsubishi Electric M8 Series CNC, operators can use the Direct Robot Control (DRC) feature within the CNC controls to also control and program the robot with menus and G-code from the same screen used for the machine tool. No robot programming experience or teach pendant is required, allowing manufacturers to use existing staff to automate and make adjustments.
Doosan Robotics strategically designed its ROS 2 Foxy package to provide both convenience and accessibility. As the package is compatible with Doosan Robot Language (DRL), operators of Doosan robots with only standard ROS knowledge can easily create intelligent robotics application. The package is expected to accelerate the development of robot applications in various fields, including gripper, mobile robot integration, and multi-robot control in addition to existing controls.
ITI’s “MITI MAXX” is a robust, yet mobile automation system that utilizes the durable Fanuc CRX-10iA collaborative robot that meets RIA safety standards and doesn’t require fencing. MITI MAXX’s simple interface allows it to be integrated to almost any machine controller. Even if you have hi-mix, low-volume applications, the MITI MAXX is affordable, plug and play self-automation that will maximize your resources and reduce costs.
For maximum acceleration and velocity, KUKA’s optimal motion planning software calculates and sets the correct motion path to ensure that all the robot’s axes can finish moving simultaneously at the desired point in space. In electronics applications, there is little need for changes in part orientation, so necessary robot moves are up, down and inserting. It is for this reason that the KR 6 is simple and easy to use, as well as light weight and extremely fast.
The compact format provides a rotation range up to 2° in theta-X / theta-Y and 5mm vertical (Z travel) range with excellent dynamics (up to 1g acceleration). The 250mm diameter (10”) platform can carry loads of 8kg (~18lbs), while the low profile of only 60mm (2.4”) keeps the center of gravity down, a great advantage in dynamic applications. The A-523 can be combined with the A-361 X-Y-θ Air Bearing Alignment Stage to form a very compact and low profile 6-axis precision motion system.
With an overall volume of only 16 liters and weighing just 9 kg, the KR C5 micro, allows users to mount the controller horizontally or vertically in a wall mounted/bookshelf orientation or stack multiple units on top of each other, or with an existing standard 19” rack mount cabinet. Optional mounting brackets for controller fastening allow the new controller to adapt to existing industry standard rack mount rails for having multiple robot controllers within a single cabinet. Plus, with a lighter, more compact design, the KR C5 micro is easy to deliver/ship, set up and relocate if needed.
The sBot Stop – URCap and sBot Speed – URCap are easy-to-use safety systems based on the smart combination of the nanoScan3 safety laser scanner and UR Robot safety features. These solutions work well in handling operations using robot applications with free access and enable manufacturers to achieve safety without sacrificing productivity.
Building upon the redesigned V7 architecture, first introduced in 2018, Robotmaster uses integrated CAD/CAM functionality to make robotic programming easy and intuitive for everyone, even first-time users. The software is used by a wide range of industries to program robots for tasks that include surfacing, 3D milling, additive manufacturing, welding, painting, and more. 
The innovative MG10 comes with built-in grip and sensors for part detection. For applications that involve handling sheet metal --such as machine tending tasks that require robots to lift sheet metal from a stack, place it into a press brake/press bending machine, and remove it when the machine has completed its work-- this functionality ensures smooth, consistent and safe operation. And if the robot loses power or has to make an e-stop while performing a task, these features ensure that there is no risk of dropping the part being handled. 
In addition to speed, the new robots handle an increased number of workpieces/tools, are more compact and consume less energy. They also support the latest WALTER HELITRONIC Tool Studio and Robot Manager software that allows users to load multiple trays with various workpiece diameters for lights out unattended production.
The APC measures just 82.68” by 82.68”/2,100 millimeters (mm) by 2,100 mm. The compact APC gives the MB 650U AMP the ability to complete multiple workpieces without the need for additional automation. The work envelope spans 19.7”/500 mm in diameter and 19.7 “/500 mm in height, with a weight of 425 pounds/192 kilograms, allowing users to handle workpieces of various sizes and weights with ease. The confluence of the APC and the 48-tool automatic tool changer (ATC) reduces setup and changeover times.
BOLD Laser Automation put into development of a cost-effective, modular UR Cobot loader unloader for laser-based microfabrication applications called the LPF-UR5P Series (Laser Precision Fabricator – UR Cobot 5 – Pallet System), including options for laser drilling, trimming, welding, marking, and laser soldering. With a UR Robot part placement of ±0.030 mm (±0.0012”), the system is an excellent process automation choice.  With onboard or remote camera alignment options, an assembly to be processed can be picked up, aligned, and inserted into a processing fixture automatically.
Highlights include a new customizable green sensor type called Green Flex. This versatile cyclic sensor monitoring type now allows for specification of the required state of the sensor at the start and end of the ready window. The sensor can be set to require a specific number of actuations inside the ready window.
Mitsubishi and Absolute jointly designed the plug-and-play cell. It consists of a Mitsubishi industrial robot, a wheeled stainless steel base, a clear polycarbonate cell enclosure featuring a safety door with an interlock switch, and a side table extension. The cell accommodates Mitsubishi 6-axis RV-series robots ranging in load capacity from 7 kg to 20 kg and reach up to 1,388mm. Integrating the robot cell with a CNC machine is a one-step process using a single Ethernet cable, Mitsubishi’s Direct Robot Control function and the Mitsubishi M8 series control. The LoadMate Plus can also interface with other control types via remote I/O connectivity.
The FreeBSD system – and thus also TwinCAT/BSD – supports ARM CPUs up to Intel® Xeon® processors, providing a scalable platform from small embedded controllers to high-performance IPCs. With this scalable new solution, Beckhoff presents a new operating system that combines the advantages of Windows CE – low cost and small footprint – with the numerous features of large Windows operating systems. Therefore, TwinCAT/BSD is also an alternative to Windows 7 or 10 in many applications.
Both the Power Connect and Thermocouple I/O slices feature push-fit wire connections into a cage clamp. Increasing connection security, particularly for applications which could be subject to vibration, the cage clamp system improves reliability and also means faster, simpler wiring without the requirement to use additional tools for installation and maintenance.
The XY base system is made of two 3-Phase motor powered V-417 linear stages with travel ranges from 204 to 407mm. Integrated absolute-measuring linear encoders provide better reliability, while eliminating the need to reference. A granite base plate is available for stability and can hold the G-901 EtherCat-based controller with ACS driver module. PI supports customers, system integrators, and machine builders to quickly configure and integrate the appropriate system, reducing design and development time while optimizing the outcome.
TwinCAT 3 automation software can communicate with HTTP(S) servers as an HTTP(S) client, for example for exchanging data via a REST API. Establishing a connection with MindSphere® is now also possible via this HTTPS communication for exchanging telemetry data. This connection is secured by TLS (Transport Layer Security) and uses MindSphere®-specific authentication mechanisms.
The ELM72xx modules’ metal housings provide optimum heat dissipation even at high output power as well as optimal shielding against electrical interference. The new servo terminals can connect directly to other EtherCAT Terminals as an integrated component of the Beckhoff I/O system. The comprehensive functionality includes the direct connection of the motor, feedback and brake via the convenient connector front end, an integrated absolute value interface and One Cable Technology (OCT). 
ROS drivers are the latest addition to its H-811 high performance hexapod 6-axis miniature robot, allowing fast, seamless integration into a ROS environment, with comfortable control using their well-known mechanisms. With an included URDF model in the driver package, the H-811.i2 hexapod can also be simulated and visualized.
Boasting a maximum payload of 11 kg (24.3 lb), an external grip range of up to 74 mm (2.91 in) and a gripping force of between 20-140 N, the versatile 2FG7 can handle heavy, bulky payloads with ease. Smaller than OnRobot's RG2 and RG6 grippers –and yet more powerful than both –the 2FG7's dimensions (156 x 158 x 180 mm/6.14 x 6.22 x 7.08 in) make it the perfect gripper for use in small work envelopes, which is a major bonus in busy manufacturing facilities where space is at a premium, and in applications with tight quarters for maneuvering.
AIMS offers functionality that is adaptable to each factory’s needs; from smaller scale, data-based options to the full AIMS setup across a series of machines with endless possibilities. Central to any AIMS system is the AIMS Server that manages data flows between the elements of the AIMS system and established IT platforms, such as your ERP system. Building on this, customers can choose from a suite of “auto” solutions for reducing production costs, resolving labor challenges and integrating systems to improve product and process quality.
Tool manufacturers are seizing options that streamline processes and save labor costs. AutoMarkX is capable of automated pallet loading and takes care of the tool laser marking process, freeing up operators to perform more value-adding tasks. AutoMarkX is designed for integration with AIMS, being able to automatically receive and dispatch pallets from AutoFetch, while connectivity to the AIMS Server provides details of the message to be marked on the tools.
With the highly dynamic, EtherCAT-based AX8000 servo system, new setpoint values can transfer every 62.5 μs from the motion controller in the Industrial PC to the servo drive, along with μs motor current scans. Comparable control systems usually operate with a cycle time of only 1 ms. Now the AX8000 firmware also supports oversampling technology, which is well known from Beckhoff EtherCAT I/O devices. This feature enables multiple samples of process data within a communication cycle with an oversampling factor of up to 128 and the transfer of all data in an array via EtherCAT.
The Clamping Module is ideal for totes, boxes, bottles and square, round and rectangular containers. As products pass through the Clamping Module, pre-programmed photo sensors trigger a pneumatic-clamping actuator that is mounted on both sides of the conveyor. The Clamping Module produces a gap of about one product length; product must be able to withstand some back pressure and squeezing force.
The V-817 linear stages, engineered for highly dynamic and precise motion, boast a load capacity of 600N, travel ranges from 8” (204mm) to 32” (813mm), and velocities to 3000mm/sec. Driven by 3-phase linear motors and guided by robust recirculating ball bearing guides, the low-profile design of only 63mm minimizes moving mass and tilting errors. An integrated linear encoder provides <1nm resolution and when operated with PI’s industrial motion controllers, the stages achieve 10nm minimum incremental motion, 1µm bidirectional repeatability, and 2.5µm accuracy.
JOC (PA) now fully automates CAD import, whereby a folder can be monitored for a CSV file containing details of DXF files to process, material, thickness, quantity required and machine to nest for. An existing system such as CAD, MES or MRP could generate a CSV file that would be  immediately imported, tooled for multiple machines, nested, with NC code being available  within minutes and all completely without any user intervention.
The EN-20 product series features industrial grade 3D NAND supporting an ambient temperature range from -40°C to 85°C. The managed device combines high grade NAND Flash chips, a sophisticated PCIe controller and firmware that supports demanding applications. The PCIe 4 lane interface with backwards compatibility to single or dual lane system designs operates according to the latest PCIe 3.1 specification and offers high bandwidth up to 1600 MB/s for sequential read and 770 MB/s for sequential write.
The F-122 motorized 5DOF positioning stage is a compact solution for aligning (silicon) photonics and optics components, such as fibers, waveguides, lenses. As the leading innovator of high precision motion control solutions for 50 years, PI offers a host of 3-axis XYZ  to 6-axis precision motion systems for automation and research.
To assist in product selection and application optimization, a variety of "Knowledge Base" resource material is available in the online store including application notes, success stories and related documents.
With the new ctrlX AUTOMATION platform, Bosch Rexroth has eradicated the traditional boundaries between machine control systems, IT and the Internet of Things. Centralized and decentralized automation topologies can now be created flexibly with the scalable platform. Thanks to a Linux real-time operating system, open standards, app programming technology, web-based engineering and a comprehensive IoT connection, ctrlX AUTOMATION reduces the engineering time and effort by 30% to 50%.
The new vacuum linear stage series was designed from the ground up for vacuum compatibility, with each component qualified to work under the specified conditions. Everything, from the base materials, nuts and bolts, encoders, cables, limit switches was selected for optimal performance.
Greenerd will present unique hydraulic press application solutions at IMTS this year, including discussing an automated 30-Ton Gantry style hydraulic press which was built for an application requiring precise positioning of pins. A linear transducer mounted in the press cylinder enables a minimum depth to be programmed into the control to ensure proper pin depth has been achieved. The 25' long hydraulic press features automated gantry positioning with optical recognition of the distance between each set of pins to be inserted. The cycle can be initiated in autonomous operation where the gantry moves to each pin location and applies the set of tonnage on the pins. 
The HS flex heavy handling system is designed to be adaptable to five-axis PERFORMANCE-LINE machining centers (C 400 and C 650) as well as the HIGH-PERFORMANCE-LINE models (C 32 and C 42). This also marks the first time that the C 650 is available with automation capabilities. 
ActiNav combines real-time autonomous motion control, collaborative robotics, vision and sensor systems in one easy to use, fast to deploy and cost-effective kit. The system requires no vision or robotic programming expertise, but is instead based on a “teach-by-demonstration” principle.
Twenty proven software and hardware kits for the most popular cobot applications are available on the UR+ platform, a large and comprehensive ecosystem of products certified to integrate seamlessly with cobots from Universal Robots. By reducing recurring engineering decisions for common applications, the "plug and produce" kits decrease project risk and complexity and are ready for fast implementation for tasks such as finishing, inspection, assembly, machine tending, material removal, dispensing and material handling.
Robotiq announced new functionalities for its Finishing Copilot software. Designed for manufacturers with polishing or sanding processes, the software’s new weaving motion and variable trajectory planning enables a cobot to adjust its own path. This means cobots can finish a family of parts without the operator having to adapt the program.
OnRobot continues to drive innovation with the release of the compact, large-stroke 3FG15 three-finger gripper. The 3FG15 makes previously hard-to-automate precision handling of cylindrical parts easy to program and deploy, and provides flexibility for a wide range of part sizes.
Workpieces with a maximum weight of 800kg and a size of up to Ø850 mm x 1,000 mm can be loaded onto the machine tool safely and reliably. The Robot Easy 800 is optimally suitable for moving pallets from our EROWA MTS system, which are predominantly used for milling and grinding.
Fairlane Products announces the launch of the web-based GripShape application that allows users to design and purchase custom robot gripper fingers, available online at www.gripshape.com. GripShape offers design services, a design configurator, and manufacturing services for tooling robot grippers. The interface is easy to use and requires no CAD experience to customize a one-of-a-kind design in minutes.
OnRobot has launched a compact, single-pad version of its innovative Gecko no-mark adhesive gripper. The new Gecko Single Pad (SP) gripper brings the same capability to new automation applications with small footprints and lower payload. The Gecko SP is available in three sizes; SP1, SP3 and SP5 named after the gripper’s payload in kilos, featuring ability to lift a wide range of flat, smooth, shiny or perforated surfaces.
Shrinking availability of skilled labor and continual cost-reduction pressures are magnifying the importance of manufacturing systems, services and integrated solutions, according to machine tool importer and distributor Absolute Machine Tools Inc. During more than three decades of selling and supporting a comprehensive selection of machine tools, Absolute has participated in wide-ranging changes in the manufacturing industry. The company concludes that manufacturing success and growth now require engineered solutions that integrate machine tools with automation systems, process design and maintenance services.
igus has released a new collaborative robot cable management kit with universally-designed hook-and-loop mounting brackets and more than 100 links of the company’s innovative triflex R cable carrier, which offers enhanced cable protection compared to corrugated tubes.
Enabling end-to-end factory manufacturing through total solution offerings, Panasonic offers its new autonomous delivery system. Fully integrated with the company’s PanaCIM Solutions Ecosystem, the autonomous delivery system provides improved efficiency and lower total costs for virtually any manufacturing environment. Best-in-class partner solutions powered by Panasonic’s software to create a complete material management solution will also be on display during the show.
Universal Robots' OEM partner Columbia/Okura’s new miniPAL is a mobile palletizer product that can be powered by the UR10e cobot arm. The flexible miniPAL with a footprint of 11’x13’ can palletize at two pallet locations for optimized operation.
Many manufacturers are still using hand tools like calipers, micrometers or height gages for parts measurement, causing problems with consistency and measurement for complex geometries. 3D scanning provides a more comprehensive inspection report for in-process and final verification for a wide variety of industries. To automate this process, 3D Infotech has developed the UMA Smart Station, a standardized system integrated with Universal Robots collaborative robots.
Introduced as part of SCHUNK's Plug and Work portfolio, the new EGH Co-act gripper is an effective way to easily implement automation with a cobot. Easy to install and control and fully programmable to ensure flexible workpiece handling, the EGH is particularly suited to the handling, assembly and electronics industries.
Fastems has launched three new products to enable educational institutions and manufacturing enterprises to benefit from its advanced digital manufacturing (DM) solutions for factory automation. In addition to functioning as a classroom teaching and learning tool, DM enables companies to do training and testing before ramp-up and simulation during production, for example.
Productive Robotics Inc. announced the launch of its updated software for the company's full line of OB7 collaborative robots. The software update enhances OB7’s connectivity, allowing for efficient integration with other equipment and for easily accessible status monitoring.
To reduce the once time-consuming process of dashboard creation down to a simple mouse click, Beckhoff has introduced the new TwinCAT Analytics One-Click Dashboard. When tailoring new data-driven services to individual customer requirements, machine builders and system integrators need solutions that are as cost-effective as possible.
Beckhoff Automation has introduced new TwinCAT Cloud Engineering software for IoT and Industry 4.0 applications. With this feature-filled addition to the TwinCAT 3 platform, users can instantiate and use existing TwinCAT engineering and runtime products directly in the cloud.
Beckhoff Automation has announced another addition to the popular family of ultracompact C60xx series Industrial PCs (IPCs) with the new C6025. This space-saving IPC delivers the high computing performance of the Intel Core i series in a fanless, small-form-factor device. The new Intel Core i U processors, with exceptionally low power requirements, have made this advancement possible.
Veo Robotics announces the launch of Veo FreeMove, a safety-ratable, production-ready vision system for safe human-robot interaction. The Veo FreeMove system gives manufacturing engineers the freedom to combine the strength, precision and speed of standard industrial robots with the ingenuity, judgment and dexterity of humans.
Festo introduced the Handling Guide Online configurator for Cartesian robots. This new productivity tool significantly reduces engineering overhead for OEMs and speeds delivery to laboratory equipment, electronic light assembly, end of line packaging, food and beverage, automotive, and machine tool manufacturers.
The new DHEF adaptive shape gripper from Festo offers maximum gripping flexibility with minimal engineering. The adaptive shape gripper automatically grips mixed objects with multiple shapes, unaligned objects and numerous objects at once. The gripper gently forms around an object and is ideal for gripping fragile items. It is suitable for human/machine interaction.
FANUC’s new collaborative arc welding robots offer the same high level of performance that FANUC ARC Mate robots are known for, including world-renowned technology and proven reliability. A built-in sensor allows the welding cobot to work safely alongside people without the need for expensive guarding.
Festo offers Magswitch switchable magnetic gripping and clamping solutions to automotive and OEMs through a new distribution agreement. Magswitch automation solutions are designed to last the life of a production line. The company has shown that energy costs can be lowered by as much as 90%, throughput can be increased by up to 30%, and capital costs reduced as much as 25% compared to systems using vacuum cups and pneumatic/electric grippers or clamps.

Buyers Guide Companies for Automation

New Vista Corp. 410-342-3820 http://www.newvistacorp.com
Halter CNC Robotics 800-314-8261 http://www.haltercncrobotics.com
Made4CNC ApS +45 2629 4781 http://www.made4cnc.com
Rethink Robotics 617-500-2487 http://www.rethinkrobotics.com
Bosch Rexroth Corp. 704-583-4338 http://www.boschrexroth-us.com
Runma Molding Robot Automation Co. Ltd. +86-769-82181987 https://www.runmarobot.com
Rigibore 262-363-3922 http://www.rigibore.com
Kuka Robotics Corp. http://www.kuka.com/en-us
Gehring LP 248-427-3901 http://www.gehring.de/en-ww
Beckhoff Automation LLC 952-890-0000 http://www.beckhoffautomation.com
Veo Robotics Inc. http://www.veobot.com
Fusion OEM 866-952-9020 https://www.fusionoem.com/
SW North America Inc. 734-736-4072 https://www.sw-machines.de/us.html
Universal Robots USA Inc. 844-462-6268 http://www.universal-robots.com
Mazak Corp. 859-342-1700 http://www.mazakusa.com
ABB Inc., Robotics Division 248-391-9000 http://www.abb.com/robotics
Kawasaki Robotics (USA) Inc. https://robotics.kawasaki.com
ATS Systems 949-888-1744 http://www.ats-s.com
Acu-Gage Systems 603-622-2481 http://www.acu-gage.com
Nanotec Electronic GmbH & Co. KG +49-89-900686-37 http://www.nanotec.de
Fusion Inc. 440-946-3300 http://www.fusion-inc.com
Nord Modules +45 44 22 10 70 http://www.nord-modules.com
Aerotech Inc. 412-963-7470 http://www.aerotech.com
Bystronic Inc. 847-214-0300 http://www.bystronicusa.com
Alliance Mfg. Inc. 920-922-8100 http://www.alliancemfginc.com
SoftPLC Corp. 512-264-8390 http://www.softplc.com
OnRobot +45-53-53-57-37 http://www.onrobot.com
AutoCrib 714-274-0400 http://www.autocrib.com/industrial-vending
READY Robotics 833-READY-US http://www.ready-robotics.com
Precise Automation Inc. 408-224-2838 http://www.preciseautomation.com
Atometric Inc. 815-986-7352 http://www.atometric.com
Danobat USA 281-812-4259 http://www.danobatusa.com
Hines Industries 734-769-2300 https://hinesindustries.com/
Doosan Robotics Inc. +82-31-8014-5500 http://www.doosanrobotics.com
Lang Technovation Co. 262-446-9850 http://www.lang-technovation.com
BOLD Laser Automation Inc. 603-493-2579 http://www.boldlaserautomation.com
Automation Within Reach 937-586-5062 http://www.automationwithinreach.com
Productive Robotics, Inc. 805-244-9300 https://www.productiverobotics.com
Turbo Engineering 03-9464-7727 https://www.turboengineering.com.au/specialised-products.htm
Industrial Tool Inc. 763-533-7244 http://www.industrial-tool.com
Predator Software Inc. 503-292-7151 http://www.predator-software.com
Velmex Inc. 585-657-6151 http://www.velmex.com
Bug-O Systems Inc. 412-331-1776 http://www.bugo.com
Automation Alternatives 905-605-9200 http://www.auto-alt.com
Inverter.com 323-558-4806 https://www.inverter.com/
Applied Manufacturing Technologies Inc. 248-409-2000 http://www.appliedmfg.com
Brushless.com 832-814-2639 https://www.brushless.com/
SCANLAB GmbH +49-89-800746-0 http://www.scanlab.de/en
Kurt Mfg. Co., Industrial Products Div. 763-574-8309 http://www.kurtworkholding.com
Powerinverters.net 909 860 9449 https://www.powerinverters.net/
ATO Frequency Converter 323-585-6895 https://www.ato.com/frequency-converter
Drake Manufacturing Acquisition LLC 330-847-7291 https://www.drakemfg.com
RedLux Ltd. +44-023-8026-3095 http://www.redlux.net
Midaco Corp. 847-593-8420 http://www.midaco-corp.com/
EROWA Technology Inc. 847-290-0295 http://www.erowa.com
Cool Clean Technologies LLC 651-842-8600 http://www.coolclean.com
Gleason Corp. 585-473-1000 http://www.gleason.com
Weiler Abrasives 570-595-7495 http://www.weilerabrasives.com
Beckwood Press Co. 636-343-4100 https://beckwoodpress.com/
Burkhardt+Weber 859-308-6625 https://burkhardt-weber.com
SCHUNK 919-572-2705 https://www.schunk.com
Rockwell Automation Inc. 414-382-2000 http://www.rockwellautomation.com
Halifax Rack & Screw 513-449-4296 http://www.halifaxrs.com
Epson America Inc. 800-GO-EPSON https://epson.com
Panasonic System Solutions Co. N.A. 847-637-9600 http://www.panasonicfa.com
ATO Automation 800-585-1519 https://www.ato.com/
Centricity Corp. 330-545-5624 http://www.centricity.net