In the past, designing, integrating and programming even a simple three- or four-axis system like that would have required considerable time and effort. Now, however, thanks to advances in electronics and software, the process is much easier. That is the premise behind the Smart Mechatronix line of products from Bosch Rexroth Corp.
MyAppCafé is a fully automated robotic barista. The machine is the brainchild of caterer and entrepreneur Michael Stille of Karlsruhe, Germany, who envisioned a fully automated system for vending coffee at catered events and trade shows.
Promess, Inc. has introduced a new line of lightweight press systems intended for use as end effectors in robotic assembly applications. The L-Series Robot Presses weigh up to 51 percent less than first generation Promess Robot Presses and will initially be available in sizes up to 50 kN capacities offering a 200 mm stroke and 300 mm/sec speed.
Before cobots and other fast-deployable robots, many automated manufacturing cells incorporated only fixed or dedicated tooling rather than solutions that allow for changes or updates. An advantage of fixed automation is that it allows for reliable and high throughput, but it also tends to be custom engineered towards a specific process.
Noted horror writer Clive Barker once claimed that nothing ever truly begins or ends; rather, current things are just continuations of past things, and future things are continuations of present ones. Although interesting, this notion doesn't work well in the world of manufacturing.
The lives of manufacturers would be so much easier if all their automation processes were homogeneous. Unfortunately, there are many that require customization to satisfy the unique requirements of an automated work-holding or material-handling application.
For manufacturers, the product-miniaturization trend is kind of a Catch-22. They know that serving a large and ever-expanding marketplace ensures company growth—so long as their robots can precisely place ever-smaller parts into subassemblies, final assemblies or packaging. Specially designed small grippers and vacuum cups have enabled many manufacturers to achieve both goals.
Among Forrest Gump’s greatest life lessons was the insight that you could never be certain what you would find inside a box of chocolates. Although Gump never actually clarified what that uncertainty is, it’s generally assumed he was referring to the various types of fillings hidden in chocolate candies.