ODENSE, Denmark — OnRobot A/S today announced a unified electrical and mechanical interface for its end-of-arm tooling for collaborative robot arms. The company said it will make robotic applications faster and easier to implement, dramatically simplifying automation.
With a single robotic system, a single platform for programming and training, and a single vendor relationship, manufacturers now have access to a full range of tools, full robot compatibility, and “virtually unlimited possibilities” for collaborative applications, claimed OnRobot. It added that the new one-system offering is intended to speed deployment, saving time and money and enabling customers to quickly realize the benefits of automation.
Interface incorporated into Quick Changer
At the Automate show in April, OnRobot released its Digital I/O Converter Kit, which allowed its end-of-arm tools (EOAT) to work with a full range of leading light industrial and collaborative robot (cobot) brands. Building on that initiative, all OnRobot products now have a unified mechanical and communications interface based on the OnRobot Quick Changer, which is now an integrated part of all OnRobot products.
An additional Dual Quick Changer incorporates these same new capabilities while allowing the use of two tools in one cycle, mixing and matching to suit application needs and maximizing robot utilization, said the gripper company.
“This integration of our Quick Changer across our current product lineup makes it easier than ever to switch between tools and robot types, allowing flexibility and reducing downtime for more efficient production and faster automation ROI,” said OnRobot CEO Enrico Krog Iversen. “This brings us another step closer to a unified OnRobot one-system solution that makes it easy, fast and cost-effective for manufacturers to build collaborative applications, no matter which robots they choose.”
Unified interface across robot brands
With the OnRobot Quick Changer — which is now integrated in all OnRobot tools — a single cable provides a universal interface for tools and communications, so there is no need to disconnect cables when changing tools, and extended communications options support a full range of robotic platforms.
For Universal Robots cobots, OnRobot now provides a unified URCap that allows all tools to work together, even in a single program. For example, using the new Dual Quick Changer, manufacturers can use an RG2 two-finger gripper together with a VG10 vacuum gripper in one cycle, achieving greater utilization of a single UR robot. Thanks to the unified programming solution, the setup time on UR robots is now faster than ever, said the company.
OnRobot said all its products now have a unified communication platform using standard field-bus protocols, making it easy to program the tools, regardless of robot used. With the new protocols, manufacturers can easily set software values and use more functions via a standard Ethernet cable.
This supports an increased level of sophistication with a simple plug-and-produce approach that doesn’t require additional cables, according to the Danish supplier. Deployment time can be cut from 3 hours to 30 minutes, so manufacturers can get their collaborative application up and running quickly.
For robots that connect through digital I/O, OnRobot said its one-system approach includes a WebLogic interface. Using the IP address of the OnRobot Compute Box, manufacturers can sign in via the OnRobot WebClient from a phone or any other network-connected device to monitor the robot or create simple robot programs.
Manufacturers can preset values and create elaborate programming logic using the feedback values from OnRobot grippers and sensors to provide finer control. This makes OnRobot tools compatible with an even broader range of robot arms and helps manufacturers get their collaborative application up and running quickly.
Continuous gripper improvements
In addition, the grippers now come standard with TÜV-certified Cat. 3, PLd level safety guards, said the company. The Gecko Gripper’s pads have been improved with a maximum payload, depending on the material, now up to 6.5kg (14.33 lb.).
OnRobot, which has grown aggressively, continues to set its sights on being the leading EOAT provider. In April, it acquired the assets of agricultural and food processing robot maker Blue Workforce. Last month, OnRobot opened a research and development office in Los Angeles.
The Robot Report is launching the Healthcare Robotics Engineering Forum, which will be on Dec. 9-10 in Santa Clara, Calif. The conference and expo will focus on improving the design, development and manufacture of next-generation healthcare robots. Learn more about the Healthcare Robotics Engineering Forum, and registration will be open soon.