Ever since Rethink Robotics unveiled the Baxter robot back in September 2012, collaborative robots have taken the manufacturing world by storm.

One of the latest entries in the field—introduced in April 2015—is the YuMi dual-armed robot from ABB Inc. Each arm has seven axes of movement, giving the robot great dexterity and precision inside a compact, human-sized workspace.

Much like a human arm has a skeleton covered with muscles, YuMi has a lightweight yet rigid magnesium skeleton covered with a floating plastic casing wrapped in soft padding. And, like the human arm, YuMi has no pinch points. Nothing sensitive can be crushed between two opposing surfaces as the axes open and close.

If YuMi senses an unexpected impact, such as a collision with a coworker, it can pause its motion within milliseconds. Motion can be restarted with the press of a button.

Even with these inherent safety features, YuMi is precise and fast, with a positional repeatability of ±0.02 millimeter and a maximum velocity of 1,500 millimeters per second. Each arm has a 500-millimeter reach and can carry a maximum payload of 500 grams.

YuMi weighs only 35 kilograms, making it portable and redeployable. The robot runs off of standard household electrical power. It has an integrated control system and integrated internal cabling and air lines.

To handle a variety of parts, YuMi comes with integrated and highly flexible hands that can be equipped with servo grippers, suction cups and vision. In addition, the robot can be fully integrated with ABB’s FlexFeeder, a compact, flexible parts feeding system for small-parts assembly applications.

The YuMi is just one of many dazzling new technologies that will be on display at the third annual ASSEMBLY Show, which will be held Oct. 27-29 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, IL, adjacent to Chicago O’Hare International Airport.

Bigger and Better

The 2015 ASSEMBLY show will be bigger and better than last year’s show, consisting of more than 240 suppliers spread across more than 58,200 square feet of exhibit space. That’s a 23 percent increase in exhibitors and a 12 percent increase in floor space.

Exhibitors will be showing the latest advances in multistation assembly systems, robotics, screwdriving, adhesives, dispensing, plastics assembly, presses, riveters, conveyors, machine components, fasteners, workstations, software, vision systems, wire processing, test equipment and other technologies. Among this year’s exhibitors are such leading suppliers as AIMCO, Balluff Inc., Dymax Corp., Edgewater Automation, EPSON Robots, Nordson Sealant Equipment, Schleuniger Inc. and Schmidt Technology.

More than 3,400 manufacturing and design engineers and managers have already registered to attend the show. Registrants represent such diverse manufacturers such as The Boeing Co., Becton, Dickinson & Co., Bodine Electric Co., Deere & Co., Delta Faucet Co., General Motors Co., Insinkerator, Schneider Electric, Motorola Mobility and Yazaki North America.

The conference program comprises 30 hours of educational sessions covering topics ranging from power tools to vibratory feeders to automatic guided vehicles. The highlight of the program will be the keynote speech, “Leading Sustainable Improvement,” which will be presented by Richard Morris, vice president of assembly and logistics for BMW Manufacturing Co. in Spartanburg, SC. Sponsored by Promess Inc., the keynote will take place Wednesday, Oct. 28, at 9 a.m.

Can’t attend the show? No worries. Seven of the conference sessions will be broadcast live as webcasts. (For more information on the webcasts, visit www.theassemblyshow.com.)

Just as important as the conference sessions and the technology exhibits is the opportunity to network with one’s industry peers. The ASSEMBLY Show will offer networking receptions from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 27, and from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 28.

New Technologies

ABB is just one of many robotics suppliers exhibiting at The ASSEMBLY Show. At least five other robot suppliers will be attending, including OEMs, like Kuka and Janome, as well as suppliers of grippers and other robotic peripherals, such as SCHUNK Inc. and ATI Industrial Automation. And, that’s not including companies like dispensing equipment supplier Fisnar Inc., which offer various specialty robots in their product portfolios.

The ASSEMBLY Show features not only the machinery needed to assemble parts, but also the supplies, such as adhesives. This year, the show floor will host 3M, Hernon Manufacturing and at least 12 other suppliers of adhesives. In addition, there are at least 20 companies displaying equipment to dispense and cure adhesives, including Nordson EFD, PVA and Techcon.

Those assemblers that prefer screws over glue will find plenty to interest them at The ASSEMBLY Show, too. Bossard North America, Phillips Screw Co. and eight other suppliers of threaded fasteners, rivets, pins, O-rings and other parts will be displaying their wares. And, of course, the show will feature the latest tools and equipment for installing fasteners. Companies such as Panasonic, Vega Tool Corp., Design Tool Inc., and FlexArm Inc. will be showing the newest cordless tools, rivet guns, automatic screwdrivers and torque-reaction arms.

Assembly Automation

Riveters and power tools are nifty technologies, to be sure. However, it’s the multistation automated assembly systems that draw the interest of even the most seasoned engineers, and The ASSEMBLY Show will have plenty for them to look at. This year’s show features no less than 17 systems integrators, including Arthur G. Russell Co. Inc., ATC Automation, Isthmus Engineering & Manufacturing, and Lanco Assembly Systems.

Also exhibiting are 12 automation component suppliers, 10 parts feeder suppliers, and five conveyor suppliers, including Balluff Inc., Bosch Rexroth Corp., Festo Corp., IAI America Inc. Performance Feeders Inc. and Glide-Line.

Once a product has been assembled, it must be inspected and tested. The ASSEMBLY Show hosts some 23 suppliers of test and inspection equipment, ranging from vision systems to wire harness testers.

While assemblers will see some familiar faces at The ASSEMBLY Show, they will spot plenty of new exhibitors, too. One of them is Lattice Technology Inc. Based in Westminster, CO, Lattice supplies software that helps engineers to model assembly processes, generate complex technical illustrations quickly and easily, and create clear work instructions for assemblers.

Lattice isn’t the only software supplier at the show, either. At least 12 other suppliers of software and industrial computers will be exhibiting, including Nematron Corp., Dozuki and eFlex Systems.

This article hardly scratches the surface of the myriad technologies that will be on display at The ASSEMBLY Show. We’ve not even mentioned the 16 suppliers of wire processing equipment, the 11 suppliers of assembly presses, the 10 suppliers of plastics assembly equipment, or the nine suppliers of workstations, ergonomic accessories and lean manufacturing tools. And, for those companies that would rather have someone else assemble their products, at least six contract manufacturers will be exhibiting at the show.

For more information on The ASSEMBLY Show, visit www.theassemblyshow.com.   

Taste of Rosemont

A juicy, char-broiled steak. A heaping bowl of pasta. Sizzling shrimp fajitas. A grilled bratwurst loaded with kraut and mustard.

A cardiologist’s nightmare or the perfect dinner? Decide for yourself at The ASSEMBLY Show’s welcoming reception on Tuesday, Oct. 27, from 4 to 7 p.m. Sponsored by ASG, Div. of Jergens, this reception will bring back the popular “Taste of Rosemont,” featuring flavors and cuisine from 10 local restaurants. Connect with hundreds of suppliers, buyers and users of assembly equipment while you enjoy food and drinks in a relaxed and friendly environment.

The following restaurants will be offering a variety of tasty treats during the reception. They’re also the perfect spots for a quick bite during the show or a customer dinner afterwards. Tables book fast, so be sure to call ahead for reservations.

The Capital Grille



Five Roses Pub



Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse



Harry Caray’s Restaurant



Hilton Rosemont/Chicago O’Hare






King’s Bowling



McCormick & Schmick’s



Rivers Casino



One of the great traditions of The Assembly Show is that engineers often bring sample parts or assemblies with them to review directly with exhibitors.

In the spirit of that tradition, we invite attendees to bring sample parts to a special panel discussion on Thursday, Oct. 29, from 10:30 to 11:10 a.m. with the aim of getting informal advice about automated assembly from the country’s top systems integrators (and perhaps even their peers). What might an assembly system for the parts look like? How might the parts be better designed for automated assembly? What might be potential trouble spots?

Whether you’re currently running a multistation automated assembly system or are thinking about automating for the first time, you won’t want to miss this golden opportunity to learn from experienced experts in automation.

 The panel will be moderated by John Sprovieri, editor in chief of ASSEMBLY magazine. Panelists will represent several systems integrators, including PrimeTest Automation Inc. and Arthur G. Russell Co. Inc.