The months of November and December were filled with online conferences, trade shows, and interviews. So many were there that I had more information than time to write. Here we are in a time of pandemic and no travel except for grocery and hardware (we moved to a new state in March, so it seems there is a weekly run for some tool or supply).
The Danish collaborative robot ecosystem does much innovating, although there seems not to be exponential growth in the market. There are two aspects of innovation. The first lies in the robot itself. The second concerns end effector advances that I had given up hope on seeing.
One December conference and trade show (by the way, the trade show technology keeps improving, maybe they can reach a critical mass online) came from OnRobot. This company’s product range features a wide assortment of tools for collaborative applications, including: electric, vacuum and magnetic grippers, the award-winning Gecko gripping technology, force/torque sensors, a 2.5D vision system, screwdriver, sander kits and tool changers.
These offerings from OnRobot make it quicker and simpler to automate tasks such as packaging, quality control, materials handling, machine tending, assembly, and surface finishing. Headquartered in Odense, Denmark, OnRobot also has offices in Los Angeles, Dallas, Soest (Germany), Barcelona, Warsaw, Shanghai, Tokyo, Seoul, Singapore and Budapest.
One draw for me was a panel discussion featuring robot investor (and Shark Tank star) Mark Cuban who joined OnRobot CEO Enrico Krog Iversen and Hirebotics CEO Rob Goldiez to discuss benefits of collaborative robotics applications.
“Manufacturers of all sizes are facing serious challenges in 2020 and, as a result, many are turning to collaborative applications to stay competitive and resilient,” says Enrico Krog Iversen, CEO of OnRobot. “We created OnRobot Expo to help manufacturers learn about collaborative applications and automation from their manufacturing peers and thought leaders from business and academia.”
In his keynote address on how Amazon develops, tests and deploys robots, Camilo Buscaron discussed how the cloud simplifies the development and deployment of robotics applications. He talked about the Robot Operating System (ROS) and AWS RoboMaker, a cloud service that helps customers build, simulate and manage robotic applications.
During a press conference, OnRobot executives discussed how value creation from robotics lay in application and solution, not just in robot or tooling. The robots plus modern end-of-arm tools provide new levels of flexibility for manufacturers. An intelligent gripper can handle a number of applications. The combination also solves labor shortages in manufacturing, enhances quality and productivity, helps enable social distancing as a Covid solution, provides fast return on investment, and allows manufacturers to rethink their supply chain risks.
Some statistics, OnRobot has:
- 800+ product combinations
- 18 supported Robot brands
- 500+ partners globally, 130 in Americas
- 32 new products released in 2020 versus 17 in 2019
OnRobot targets small to midsized companies finding that market still growing.