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Compact cobot ‘can be programmed by anyone’

10 July, 2018

Kuka has developed a lightweight collaborative robot (cobot) designed to be easy to program, even by non-experts. The LBR iisy cobot, which can handle payloads up to 3kg, adapts to the user’s knowledge of robotics – offering a choice of programming techniques from simple teaching of the arm using manual guidance, through to Java programming of complex activities.

Kuka says that the 600mm-reach robot can be commissioned in less than 30 minutes, and can be reprogrammed quickly and easily to perform new duties. It is aimed at tasks, such as simple handling or assembly, that may be changed frequently and require quick reactions.

The 18.8kg cobot can be programmed to adapt automatically to new workstations. In a “search run” mode, for example, it can locate screw positions, carry out fine adjustment of components, and tighten screws autonomously. Existing workplaces do not need to be modified because the arm adapts flexibly to its environment.

“We are aiming at a target group that knows the processes in manufacturing very well, but is not necessarily capable of programming a robot,” explains Christian Tarragona, Kuka’s senior vice-president of research and development. “It is important to use technologies that are not only extremely flexible, but also networked and intelligent.”

Torque sensors built into each of the arm’s six axes can respond to the slightest of external forces to provide collision protection. In the event of unplanned interruptions, the arm remembers every motion or activity it has executed and can resume working without needing to be retaught.

Kuka's compact LBR iisy collaborative robot has been designed for easy programming by non-experts

A new graphical user interface allows fast and intuitive parameterisation of work sequences, without needing specific programming knowledge. A simulation suite allows production sequences to be defined, tested and optimised on a desktop PC, before being transferred to the real production environment.

The cloud-based Kuka Connect platform allows applications to be monitored and optimised by delivering key performance indicators and process data.

The LBR iisy supports OPC UA, fieldbus protocols, digital and analogue I/Os and safety functions (to PL d / Cat 3). It will cost around €20,000.

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