Universal Robots, VersaBuilt Robotics to Launch New Direct Interface for Cobots, CNC Machines at California Trade Show

Universal Robots in Ann Arbor and VersaBuilt Robotics in Idaho are launching a new cobot-CNC machine interface that allows communication between the two. // Photograph Courtesy of Universal Robots

Universal Robots, whose North American headquarters is in Ann Arbor, and Boise, Idaho’s VersaBuilt Robotics, are launching a new cobot-CNC machine interface at the ATX West trade show that is designed to allow communication between the CNC machine and the cobot tending it.

Making its debut at the show Feb. 5-7 in Anaheim, Calif., URCap, as the application is named, allows a Universal Robots cobot to easily execute any machining program stored on the CNC directly through the cobot’s own teach pendant. Initially launching for Haas CNC machines, VersaBuilt will develop UR interfaces for other popular CNC makes later this year.

The Haas CNC Communication URCap soon will be available through the UR+ platform, a showroom of products all certified to integrate seamlessly with UR cobots. The URCap maintains all Haas safety interlock features and works with Haas, VersaBuilt, and other third-party automatic door openers.

“VersaBuilt is excited to partner with Universal Robots to provide machine shops with automation solutions designed for high mix CNC manufacturers,” says Albert Youngwerth, CEO of VersaBuilt Robotics, a machine shop automation company.

VersaBuilt also is introducing its MultiGrip work-holding system to UR customers at ATX West. It allows the CNC machine and cobots to share a set of machinable jaws for infeed, outfeed, and machining, which results in reduced engineering costs, easier robot programming, faster setup time, and enhanced processing capabilities.

“CNC machine tending is one of the most popular tasks to automate with collaborative robots,” says Stuart Shepherd, regional sales director for Universal Robots’ Americas Division. “But there are still hurdles to overcome in achieving seamless integration. VersaBuilt’s two new products (URCap and MultiGrip) are important tools in addressing this.”