AUTOMATICA to show growth in product innovations

MARCH 31--According to officials, the automation sector has recently been quiet for manufacturers of robotics, machine-vision systems, and assembly and handling technology while they have been busy upgrading their technology. What the future has in store will be on display at the exhibition stands at AUTOMATICA between May 16 and 19, 2006, in Munich, Germany.

MARCH 31--According to show officials, the automation sector has recently been quiet for manufacturers of robotics, machine-vision systems, and assembly and handling technology while they have been busy upgrading their technology. What the future has in store will be on display at the exhibition stands at AUTOMATICA between May 16 and 19, 2006, in Munich, Germany. Reliable production processes, cost-effectiveness, and high quality are the challenges that have to be met by all countries, including high-wage Germany. The exhibitors at AUTOMATICA will be displaying and demonstrating products and systems that will achieve this aim; the solutions presented are applicable to a wide range of industrial sectors.

Many new products will be launched at the show--the majority developed with cost-saving in mind. It is not only international competition that is strong. On the domestic market, too, the going is tough. Products are being reviewed in regard to cost--performance, user-friendliness, and maintenance costs are constantly increasing. Statistics for the international robotics sector show this clearly: the prices for robots have fallen in the last 15 years by around 75% (figures adjusted for quality).

At AUTOMATICA a host of new robot models will be presented, many of which have been developed specifically with this concern in mind. Reliability, of course, may not suffer in this drive, and this is a challenge that manufacturers have had to rise to. Among the innovations highlights at the fair will be new robot controls that meet the higher demands placed on performance by the users.

Encouraging new innovations and fascinating new developments and outstanding work in robot technology are the aims of the 'Walter Reis Innovations Award for Robotics.' This prize of 24,000 euros, being presented for the first time at AUTOMATICA, is divided into three categories. The award is sponsored by Walter Reis, the founder and owner of Reis Robotics, Obernburg.

In automated processes, the manufacturers of grippers and gripper systems are much in demand. How well, how fast, and how carefully a workpiece or a product can be handled is a key aspect in successful production processes and therefore in cost-effectiveness. A range of innovations has been announced by leading suppliers coming to AUTOMATICA. The developers are concentrating mostly on modular systems, so that one handling device can be effectively equipped to tackle changing tasks by means of system grippers.

Advances in imaging systems, a relatively young sector, are so great from one AUTOMATICA to the next that it is appropriate to speak of a generation change in cameras and vision systems. Higher speed and better performance--that´s the motto. Now, with USB cameras, complicated preparations for image analysis are a thing of the past--provided that the application is suitable. Users from all sectors can get a good overview of the state of the art in this technology in Munich. There they will also see that transfer rates in gigabytes are already becoming the norm. Also demonstrated in Munich, for the first time, will be proof that these machines are now ready for practical applications--in a combination of robot technology and intelligent vision system.

In assembly and handling technology, ready-to-use cells are very popular. These can be used in production, transfer, or loading processes, and, despite all the standardization, there is a wide range of systems available. Many of these systems are tailored to particular sectors, for example, for use in electronics manufacture or in special applications in communication technology. Assembly systems featuring robots at work and an interface for an imaging system are now a standard part of the product programs of manufacturers.

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