The shortage of skilled workers, price competition and increasing flexibility in production pose new challenges for manufacturers. At the iREX in Tokyo, the world’s largest robot trade show, the leading automation and industrial robot manufacturer FANUC presented solutions for the factory of the future, including a host of technological innovations. The fair ran from 18 to 21 December 2019.
The biggest novelty on the FANUC stand (booth number B-31 in Aomi hall) is the CRX-10iA. This lightweight collaborative robot establishes a completely new level of industrial robots working hand in hand with manufacturing workers. Compared to the existing CR series of collaborative robots from FANUC, the brand new CRX-10iA is significantly lighter and therefore can be used for easy installation on a broad range of applications such as driverless transport systems (AGV). Also the Teach Pendant for CRX-10iA can be replaced with a tablet computer, which increases ease-of-use by the special new user interface. The new user interface is particularly suitable for users with little programming experience by intuitive operation.
The CRX-10iA is therefore ideal for customers who want to use robots in their production for the first time. While customers in automotive industries have already strongly automated their manufacturing processes, small and medium-sized companies are experiencing a steady increase in demand. The CRX-10iA comes in two versions: As a short-arm version with a reach of 1.2 meters and as a long-arm version with an arm reaching up to 1.4 meters. The load capacity is 10 kilograms each. While all six models of the existing “green” CR series of collaborative FANUC robots are based on the company’s proven and widely used industrial robots, the new CRX-10iA collaborative robot opens a new chapter in the history of the Japanese automation specialist.
Simple functions and programming
At first glance, the ergonomic design of the white CRX-10iA is striking. Behind the slim robot arm and body lies the well-known FANUC quality – coupled with simple functions, simple installation and simple programming. Like his colleagues from the “green” CR series, the CRX-10iA can be equipped with a vision system that enables autonomous loading and unloading of containers or shelving systems. At the iREX, the CRX-10iA demonstrated its ability to load metal blocks into a ROBODRILL machine tool. This is implemented using a 3D Vision sensor.
FANUC also offers a novelty in the field of sensor technology: The new 3DV/1600 vision sensor enables fast image capturing with a significantly extended field of view of up to 1600 millimetres in square. This means that even large parts can be reliably detected by the sensor. At the iREX, the sensor was shown in a bag palletising application. Because both the sensor and the robot are made by FANUC all vision processes such as programming and application are integrated on the robot controller. This solution is called “iRVision” and holds a great advantage to solutions in which a sensor first has to be connected to the robot via a PC. FANUC has been building high-tech vision systems and force sensors for years, which are an important element of collaborative robotics – and an important step towards a Smart Factory.
Another highlight of the fair was the new Delta robot DR-3iB/8L with a payload of 8 kilograms. Instead of the usual yellow colouring, the DR-3iB/8L is supplied in white as standard. This specification is particularly relevant for customers in the food industry. The reach of the robot extends over a radius of 1600 millimetres. Thanks to its high load capacity, it is also suitable for loading prepacked food such as cans. The robot could also be seen in such an application at iREX. Meanwhile the SCARA series from FANUC has experienced a strengthening of the payload. The new SR-12iA features a 12 kilogram payload in order to expand the application feasibility of the SCARA robot. At iREX, SR-12iA showed an assembly application of electric batteries with large envelope and powerful motion.
The new FANUC high accuracy robot M-800iA/60 performs precise process applications like laser cutting and welding together using FANUC fibre oscillator. This integration leads to excellent synchronisation as the laser power is automatically controlled by the highly accurate robot motion of the M-800iA/60, and also offers simple programming of laser processes on a robot teach pendant. This solution is interesting for automotive engineering, for example doors or car bodies can be precisely machined.
Industry 4.0 and Artificial Intelligence
The FANUC exhibition at the iREX rounded off by presentation of solutions in the fields of Industry 4.0 and Artificial Intelligence (AI). These included exhibits such as FANUC’s Industrial IoT platform FIELD system and AI solutions such as AI Error Proof and AI Bin Picking. The FIELD system is going to be launched in Europe in 2020. The system which was introduced firstly in Japan and in FANUC’s own factories – has been successfully running and has special features that distinguish it from other IIoT solutions. The FIELD system collects and analyses machine data locally (on premise) and does not send them to the cloud initially. This means that critical customer’s production data stays within their factory and speeds up the data analysis on site. The analysed results can be implemented to improve the production process immediately.
At iREX AI Bin Picking was demonstrated on FIELD system. The App enables a robot which is equipped with a vision system to pick randomly placed parts. The robot teaches itself how and which part to pick next by learning from former bin picking situations. This learning is enhanced by annotated information provided by a human programmer during the installation process (Annotation Function). Meanwhile AI Error Proof enables a robot to successfully inspect parts and sort out rejects. As robots, sensors and machine tools are nowadays networked, they constitute a single intelligent manufacturing system. By developing a wide range of AI functions for robots, FANUC is striving to supply its customers with the most advanced solutions for the factory of the future.
For more information, please visit http://www.fanuc.eu.