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Robots will show off their moves at the 2016 Drives Show

19 November, 2015

Next April’s Drives & Controls Show in Birmingham, UK, will, for the first time, include a dedicated area where some of the latest industrial robot technology will be demonstrated. Interest in robotics is growing rapidly as prices come down and capabilities increase. “The technology is moving ahead incredibly quickly,” says exhibition director, Doug Devlin, “and the time is right for us to launch a robotics demonstration area”.

Plans for the demo area are still being finalised, but there will be several examples of the new generation of “collaborative” robots – or “cobots” – designed to operate safely alongside human workers, without needing a protective cage. For example, robots from the Danish cobot pioneer, Universal Robots, will be demonstrated by the company’s UK distributor, RA Rodriguez.

The Drives Show will also mark one of the first public appearances of a collaborative six-axis robot called Eva that is being developed by a UK start-up called Automata, which is aiming to sell its compact machines for £3,000 – a fraction of the cost of previous cobots.

Other exhibitors already lined up for the robotics demo area include the robot giant ABB, the Austrian manufacturer B&R Automation, and Plymouth-based Applied Automation. Talks are underway with several other robotic specialists.

Meanwhile, companies are continuing to sign up to exhibit at the show. One of the latest is Nord Gear, which is returning to the Drives Show after a long absence. Other companies that have not appeared at the show for several years include the linear motion and bearings specialist IKO Nippon and the precision motion manufacturer PI.

Exhibitors making their debuts at the 2016 Drives & Controls Show will include the motor testing and coil-winding specialist Whitelegg (which will be demonstrating the latest testgear from the German manufacturer, Schleich), the Irish control and switchgear distributor Demesne Electrical (which has a UK branch in Luton), the connector manufacturer Lemo, and Trimat, which manufactures friction materials for motion control and power transmission applications.

A new exhibitor from abroad is the Spanish firm Power Electronics, whose wide-ranging portfolio includes variable-speed drives and electronic soft-starters. Also making its debut is the US industrial monitor and touchscreen manufacturer Hope Industrial Systems, which has a UK base in Norwich.

A highlight of the robot demonstration area will be Automata's low-cost Eva robot

The pavilion being organised by EPTDA (the European Power Transmission Distributors Association), has two new participants – GGB (formerly known as Glacier Garlock Bearings), and Vulkan, a German couplings manufacturer which is expanding from the marine market into the industrial sector.

A new arrival on the pavilion being organised by Gambica is Eaton.

A familiar name from previous Drives show that will be returning in 2016 is the Lynch Motor Company (LMC) which manufactures pancake motors in Devon. Also returning is B&R Automation which has recently decided to increase the size of its stand by 50%.

The recent flurry of bookings means that the choice of remaining stands is becoming limited. Devlin warns that potential exhibitors who are hoping to leave their bookings to the last minute “will find themselves disappointed as they will be limited on the stand size and position they require”.

The Drives & Controls Show 2016 will take place at the National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham, from 12–14 April, 2016.




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Birmingham 2020The next Drives & Controls Exhibition and Conference will take place in Birmingham, UK, from 21-23 April, 2020. For more information on the event, visit the Show Web site

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