SMEs Need More Plug-and-Play Automation Options
Isaac Maw posted on September 13, 2017 |
Job shops and small factories don't want to pony up for complex programming or expensive maintenance...

The Taiwan Automation Intelligence and Robot Show is a 4-day manufacturing tech expo in Tai Pei, Taiwan. Exhibitors at this year’s show, which ran last week, included COMAU, Universal Robots and dozens of Chinese, Taiwanese and international manufacturing tech corporations.

According to the organizers, the first significant event planned for this year’s expo was an “Advanced 7-Axis Co-Robotic System” launch ceremony showcasing a robot system co-developed by Taiwanese IoT and controller company NEXCOM and American robotics and machine vision maker Energid.  

(Image courtesy of Energid.)

The companies are responding to the needs of the rapidly growing industry 4.0 movement, and the hundreds of manufacturers who could use robotics systems, but are wary of automation’s high cost of entry. Purchasing, programming and maintaining industrial robots can be costly and intimidating for factories looking to make the leap. However, the benefits of boosting production with new technology can quickly make up the costs.

Because of this hesitation, we’re seeing companies taking advantage of the unique new market segment. By offering a little extra service that helps mitigate start-up costs, programming headaches or maintenance, robotics systems manufacturers are bringing robots to more and more manufacturing floors.

"While the robotics industry continues to explode, especially in Asia, many companies still avoid the risk of creating robotic systems because they don't know how to create software that enables the type of precise, coordinated control many industries require,” said Niel Tardella, CEO of Energid. “Turnkey commercial software to facilitate creating, controlling and intuitively programming robots is rare, creating a huge global market. With Actin, the development risk is greatly reduced, and the use of Actin results in easy robotic programming and control, even for complex tasks, to meet the needs of multiple industries.”

NEXRobo is a NEXCOM robot controller powered by Energid’s Actin software, designed to be a turnkey commercial robot control software that helps developers bring their robotic technology to market. The software can coordinate the motion of up to hundreds of axes in real-time, which is necessary for robots that will do complex tasks requiring dexterous manipulation not easily supported by traditional control software.

Energid’s control software can also use machine vision data to enable robots to dynamically avoid collisions with humans and other objects. In addition, the software supports visual servoing, enabling vision-based manipulation of objects in changing environments.  

Last week in Taiwan, NEXCOM showed robotic developers how their new controller aimed to simplify complex tasks.  The demonstration highlighted the software’s high-axis control, dexterity, and collaborative feature support, including teach-mode and collision stopping, with a seven-axis robot.

Traditional manufacturers across the globe are carefully following the advances in automation and robotics, waiting for the best time to make their investment. This cautious attitude is coaxing robotics systems makers into offering more plug-and-play, IoT-connected and versatile options that are more attractive to small and medium enterprises.

If you agree that robotics need to become more accessible to SME’s before they can invade the manufacturing market, leave a comment below, or hit the share buttons to post this story on Twitter or LinkedIn.

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