Vision and robotics to be center stage at AUTOMATICA 2010

AUTOMATICA, 8-11 June 2010 at the New Munich Trade Fair Centre, will present robotics solutions, key technologies for assembly and handling--including machine vision--and a spectrum of complementary technologies.

Jun 1st, 2010

AUTOMATICA, the international trade fair for automation and mechatronics, which is taking place from 8 to 11 June 2010 at the New Munich Trade Fair Centre, will present the largest range of robotics solutions in the world. It is presenting the key technologies for assembly and handling including machine vision, and is incorporating a whole spectrum of complementary technologies. Some of the highlights show the latest trends in the automation industry.

ROBOTICS
The basic advantages of robot technology are a high level of flexibility, reliability and its use in difficult working environments. In addition to this, we have been seeing technological innovations for many years, for example in the area of robot safety or simpler programming and handling. Along with decreasing prices, this has made the use of robots more attractive and robotics has made its way into an increasing number of new applications in industry in general. AUTOMATICA provides an overview of the wide range of industrial robotic solutions on the market.

European premiere at AUTOMATICA: Mitsubishi Electric, based in Ratingen, has announced the first trade fair appearance of its compact multifunctional robot Melfa RV-2SDB. Thanks to a 2 kg payload and cycle times up to 0.6 s, this multi-axis vertical articulated arm is achieving considerable increases in performance in production and assembly cells, which could result in uses in medical technology and other quick- running applications. In addition, a new system for flexible workpiece handling is being presented jointly with Robotics Technology Leaders GmbH. The robots will be able to make tools which do not have to be precisely aligned or positioned, according to manufacturer’s details, and without the aid of a visual system. (Hall B2, Stand 310)

A new generation of robot controls is the highlight of 2010 from the Italian company Comau, based in Grugliasco. The new controls provide an impressive performance for low energy consumption due to the APC820 industrial PC with dual core technology. The compact X20 input/output system and the fieldbus generation using Hilscher technology make a reliable interface to customer applications possible. The exchange of information between the peripheral modules and the Comau control software is ensured through the Ethernet Powerlink in real time. Spaces with different geometries can be used dynamically to restrict the robot’s outside area. In addition, integrated driver circuits are used for energy recovery. (Hall B2, Stand 111)

Control for cable robots: The automation software TwinCAT with integrated control from Beckhoff, based in Verl, supports various parallel and serial kinematics, for example as used for pick-and-place tasks. There will be a live demonstration at AUTOMATICA of the extension of the TwinCAT software by 6-D kinematics for cable robots. The advantages of the cable robot for pick-and-place tasks come from its mechanical structure: elaborate carbon rods are replaced by economical cables, the arrangement of the servo motors is flexible (e.g. also underneath the robot) and the workpiece gripper can be rotated and tilted further in comparison with alternative solutions. (Hall A2, Stand 530)

MACHINE VISION
Machine vision (MV) has become increasingly significant over the past few years. In addition to being a fixed component in many areas of quality assurance, it is also hugely important in automation. Through developments in software and data administration, machine vision is increasingly enabling the optimisation of production. A global system of components and systems has developed over the past few years. 2D systems and vision sensors are still dominant, but 3D applications are coming up fast.

Armed against inclement conditions: Matrox GatorEye industrial cameras from Rauscher, based in Olching, are armed against dust, dampness and fluctuations caused by machinery. The stable, dust-and waterproof IP67 housing of the CCD cameras copes admirably with these conditions and so is ideal for use in machine vision in wet or inclement sectors of the automotive, food, beverage, chemical and pharmaceutical industries. Matrox GatorEye offers connections with external devices with its optocoupled trigger input, strobe output, eight freely programmable user I/Os, and direct control of LED lights. (Hall B2, Stand 302)

Barcode reader right in the network: The barcode reader BCL 548i from Leuze electronic, based in Owen, with integrated Profinet, can be operated directly in the Profinet network with no detours. In addition, due to the integrated switch technology, it can also be used in a line network structure, which minimises cabling outlay. Depending on the requirement, the dovetail technology and four M4x6 threaded holes make simple and convenient fastening in the system possible. Adjustment and parameterisation are simplified by the presentation of the values on a display. During operation high reading reliability is ensured by the code reconstruction technology (CRT) – even in fast processes. (Hall B2, Stand 105)

ASSEMBLY AND HANDLING
At AUTOMATICA 2010 visitors can expect the biggest concentration of companies providing turnkey assembly systems in Europe. While many companies in this sector see themselves as providers of special engineering, where each system is unique, the number of companies providing modular systems is increasing. Both worlds, the suppliers of modules and special engineering, will be presenting a great many extremely interesting solutions at AUTOMATICA.

Limitless flexibility: The assembly platform Jetwing 2010 from Sortimat, based in Winnenden, is coming closer to its big sister Spaceline, a linear transfer assembly line, making assembly even more flexible. Two new sizes of workpiece holder expand the Jetwing range. Flexibility is also the byword for the modular construction: between 8 and 48 assembly stations are now possible, making change-overs from semi-automation to full automation and from small to large piece numbers run smoothly. At AUTOMATICA the Jetwing 2010 can be seen in a linked system with Clearliner and a clean room transfer system. (Hall A1, Stand 103)

Large workpieces moved smoothly: Swiss company Montech AG, based in Derendingen, is exhibiting a wide range of transport solutions. For transporting larger workpieces the company offers a multitrack conveyor with belts or toothed belts, that can move weights up to 100 kg. It is available with three different drives with spur gear motor. The smooth transportation of workpieces is ensured by a selected acceleration ramp and brake ramp. During the trade fair the manufacturer will be exhibiting the uses of the Montrac transport system and will demonstrate the conveyance of beverages. Montrac meets the high standards required in care, precision and safety when moving objects and so is ideal for exhibitions, museums, showrooms, libraries and catering. (Hall B1, Stand 318)

ASSOCIATED AUTOMATION TECHNOLOGIES
AUTOMATICA incorporates associated technologies such as positioning systems, drive technology, sensor technology, control technology, safety technology, utility engineering and software into the core areas of assembly and handling, robotics and machine vision. In addition there are exhibitors from the service sector and from research and technology. And of course there are highlights.

Rotating three thousand degrees: igus GmbH, based in Cologne, has developed an innovative compact energy chain system, which can rotate cables by 3000 degrees in very confined spaces. The TwisterBand TB30 guides energy, data and media cost-effectively with very little wear. Due to the low centrifugal forces caused by its mass, rotary speeds up to 720 °/s are possible. In the process all cables are kept close to the axis. As so little space is required, the energy chain system can be safely used in all installation positions (horizontal, vertical and overhead). Most applications for the slim-design rotary chain systems are for use with robots (supplying axis 1 and 6) and for special mechanical engineering tasks. Rotary movements in a very confined space are also common in handling, hoisting and assembly devices of all kinds, and in test stands and experimental rigs. Wind turbines are another area of use, where the sails can be adjusted within the rotary movements with little wear. (Hall B3, Stand 508)

Safety with little wiring: The Profinet variant of the Multifunctional Gate Box from Euchner, based in Leinfelden-Echterdingen, now also reduces wiring, in addition to its actual task, securing a safety door according to EN ISO 13849-1. Each function will no longer be wired individually, but rather the customer will define which element is to be integrated and which function is behind it. Comprehensive diagnostics information in the form of Profinet reports also enable quick and targeted problem solving when needed. (Hall A2, Stand 305)

MECHATRONICS
Mechanics, electronics, control technology and informatics have long worked hand in hand in mechanical and plant engineering – under the umbrella term ‘mechatronics’. Today there is a wide range of practical mechatronic solutions and what are known as mechatronic clusters are also represented at AUTOMATICA. The cluster approach is intended to improve companies’ competitiveness by making a wide network of specialist suppliers, relevant research institutions and specialist personnel available to them in their area.

Communication of business and research: One such cluster is Mechatronik & Automation e.V. based in Augsburg. At AUTOMATICA the range of services include a project for the automated production of carbon fibre components, where ‘CFK-Tex’, a partner in the cooperation project, will present research findings for efficient lightweight construction.

Another project from Cluster Mechatronik & Automation e.V. is a modified high-performance weaving machine, which weaves samples according to shades of colour. These are installed on an oversized keyboard using the feet. The initiative came from the IT company ITQ, and enables students to carry out practical training. The basis of the project is a weaving machine from Lindauer Dornier. In the case of the manufacture’s series machines, the heald shafts, which are responsible for producing samples, are moved using complex gear technology. Students participating in the Limoweb project have replaced these gears with a direct drive in the form of linear motors, which enables samples to be changed during operation, thus avoiding changeover time. (Hall B1, Stand 330B)

A ‘quiet zone’ has been set up at the cooperation stand for the Mechatronik-Cluster, based in Linz, Upper Austria, where visitors can escape the hustle and bustle of the fair. Cluster partner Profactor GmbH from the Austrian town of Steyr-Gleink, will be demonstrating the electronic system OptiSilence, which makes noise disappear in the air. The mechatronics solution processes microphone signals using an intelligent control unit, acting directly on loudspeakers that generate opposing sonic fields and overlay the background noise, with the result that noise vanishes into thin air. One application for the device is damping the noise surrounding the control stations of processing machinery, and another is for use with snow-making machines. Due to its construction method OptiSilence is versatile – it can be used both in enclosed spaces and halls and out in the open. (Hall B1, Stand 237)

RESEARCH
The German Aerospace Centre (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrttechnik – DLR) is demonstrating creativity at the highest level, as can be seen in the highlights. Products include a mobile humanoid upper body system called ‘Justin’, an innovative hand-arm system, the surgical system MIRO, and service robotics in aeronautics. Under the keyword flying robots, the DLR is presenting the unmanned test carrier Elwira (Extreme Low Weight Intelligent Radio-controlled Aircraft). Using this robot researchers are testing innovative, image-guided navigation processes. But due to its load-carrying capacity, Elwira will also be used as a payload carrier in various projects in the future, such as monitoring game and bark beetles in the Bavarian Forest National Park. (Hall A2, Stand 519)

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