Universal Robots in Ann Arbor to Debut Range of New Welding Cobots

Universal Robots in Ann Arbor will debut a variety of automated machines, including Vectis Automation’s new Park’N’Arc; a “diving board” rotational range extender that allows for the base of the cobot to be manually moved to various locations, at UR’s FABTECH booth #C-11045 in Atlanta from Nov. 8-10.
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Universal Robots will debut a new cobot with longer range, among others, at FABTECH 2022 in Atlanta. // Courtesy of Universal Robots
Universal Robots will debut a new cobot with longer range, among others, at FABTECH 2022 in Atlanta. // Courtesy of Universal Robots

Universal Robots in Ann Arbor will debut a variety of automated machines, including Vectis Automation’s new Park’N’Arc; a “diving board” rotational range extender that allows for the base of the cobot to be manually moved to various locations, at UR’s FABTECH booth #C-11045 in Atlanta from Nov. 8-10.

Long dismissed as too heavy-duty a task for cobots, welding is now the fastest growing application segment for Universal Robots (UR); The channel grew more than 80 percent the first nine months of 2022 compared with last year, with well over 1,200 cobots expected to ship in the welding vertical this year.

Since the first UR cobot-powered welder made its debut in North America at FABTECH 2017, a wealth of OEM partners now standardize weld solutions on the UR platform.

“Compared to a short linear track, the Park’N’Arc is an improved design for increasing range as the cobot base can be translated nearly 8 feet in a linear direction while maintaining simplicity, robust cable management, and portability,” says Josh Pawley, co-founder of Vectis Automation. “We’ve got a lot of customer excitement around this new product and orders are already coming in for it.”

Another new take on welding larger parts, typically out of the cobot’s reach, will be shown by Hirebotics and partner Kinetic Technologies, launching RT1, a new cobot-controlled rotary table designed to maximize welding capacity.

“The need for this system is two-fold,” says Rob Goldiez, co-founder of Hirebotics,. “RT1 gives customers the ability to rotate the part to the front and back for welding. Secondly, it gives users with high volume production the ability to have separate load and weld stations; loading a part on one side while the cobot is welding on the other, increasing arc on time and throughput.”

Picking unstructured parts out of bins is another traditionally challenging task to automate. At FABTECH, UR will showcase a collaboration with Precision Cobotics, demonstrating how a UR5 cobot is able to pick a shiny metal part from a randomized bin and place it into a MECCO laser marking machine.

The UR5 is guided by Apera AI’s new UR+ certified Vue Vision software that accurately locates and places the part.

“Robotic bin picking systems often struggle with shiny or complex objects and usually have much longer cycle times than a human performing the same actions,” says Eric Petz, head of marketing at Apera. “The Vue Vision software provides the industry’s fastest total vision cycle time — as low as 0.3 seconds — and operates under ambient light using standardized cameras, so the user does not need expensive specialized equipment.”

Metal fabricators visiting UR’s booth will also gain new insights from Cobot Systems, a UR Certified Systems Integrator (CSI), that has launched the first commercially available IPG LightWELD laser welder to be guided and controlled by a cobot.

For deburring needs, Kane Robotics will show the GRIT™ ST-X robotic system that is ideal for sanding, grinding and finishing, using ATI’s UR+ certified Compliant Reciprocating Tool.

For the first time at a fabricating show in North America, attendees will also be able to experience the new 20kg payload cobot, the UR20 from Universal Robots that greatly expands automation opportunities such as the ability to reach further into machines, tend several machines in the same cycle, and handle 25 percent heavier parts than other UR cobot models.

Despite being UR’s most powerful robot, the UR20 is the lightest cobot in its class, weighing only 64kg (141.1 lbs.).

“We are launching a redefined cobot that has been completely re-engineered from the ground up, focused on freeing up more manpower within a wide range of human-scale automation tasks,” says Joe Campbell, senior manager of applications development and strategic marketing at Universal Robots. “We look forward to showing fabricators the capabilities of our new cobot along with the numerous new innovative partner solutions showcased in close to 30 different application demos across our own booth and throughout the FABTECH show.”

Since introducing the world’s first commercially viable collaborative robot (cobot) in 2008, Universal Robots has developed a product portfolio including the UR3e, UR5e, UR10e, UR16e and UR20, reflecting a range of reaches and payloads.

Each model is supported by a wide selection of end-effectors, software, accessories and application kits in the UR+ ecosystem. This allows the cobots to be used across a wide range of industries and be redeployed across diverse tasks.

The company, which is part of Teradyne Inc., is headquartered in Odense, Denmark, and has offices in the USA, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, the Czech Republic, Romania, Turkey, China, India, Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Mexico. Universal Robots has installed over 50,000 cobots worldwide.

For more information, visit universal-robots.com.

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