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Revolutionary robotics

Revolutionary robotics

31/05/2006 | Channel: Manufacturing, Technology

Robotised automation has revolutionised the entire supply chain, Motoman has all the answers

Motoman Robotics Europe is a worldwide developer, manufacturer and supplier of industrial robots, and robotised automation systems for a range of applications. Continually at the forefront of industry innovation, the company introduced the world’s first simultaneous control of two robots around ten years ago. Its recently introduced IA20 robot, a unique, market-leading product was awarded the Industrie Paris ‘Excellence in Productivity’ award.

“Motoman Europe is a subsidiary of the Japanese Yaskawa Electric Group, and we
supply robot products to the whole European market,” explains Jan Lindmark, president and CEO of Motoman Robotics. “Globally we are the leader in terms of
numbers of robots, and among the top four suppliers in Europe. In the past our core
focus has been on robot systems for arc welding applications, in which we are the
European leader.However, we are currently focusing on changing our direction, and
aiming at becoming a very good supplier, and systems partner, for other application
areas, such as machine turning, material handling, palletising and spot welding. Our strategy is to expand our market share in Europe by diversifying our business.

“One of the key factors that has contributed to our success is the fact that we have outstanding quality throughout all of our products,” Jan continues. “Together with this, unlike many of our competitors on the market, we have always had a product
strategy whereby we develop application specific products, rather than general robots. For example, we have robots dedicated to arc welding, spot welding and other areas, and although they can be used for other applications, they are designed to fit into a special job.”

In a revolutionary step forward for the industry,Motoman has recently developed
new, humanlike robots, including the IA20, which was awarded the ‘Excellence in Productivity’ award at this year’s Industrie Paris exhibition. “The IA20, nicknamed ‘the snake’, is a completely new way of designing a robot,” says Jan. “It is based on a development between Yaskawa and Motoman, whereby the motor, the reducer,
the feedback units, the brakes, and all of the other components are built in a very
compact unit. This means that the robot can be designed to be extremely thin, with excellent outer dimensions, but can still have very good handling capacity.

“Consequently, when the robot is resting it looks like a very thin tube standing on the floor,” Jan continues. “This is incredibly useful when there are a lot of machine tools
or die-casting machines in a production facility, as the robot can be fit into confined
spaces between the machinery, thus not taking up space in the machine area, or
interfering with the operator. Together with this, the robot has seven axes, which is
unique. A standard industrial robot has six axes, but with seven the robot can operate around corners, again saving space. Alongside the IA series robot we are also introducing a DA product, which is a dual arm robot that resembles a human being. It is an industrialised robot that will be used for machine turning applications.”

With the introduction of these new robots, the company sets the trend for the future of robot design. The revolutionary designs will be used to robotise manufacturing lines where a lot of the work is manually completed, such as component, and engine
assembly in the automotive industry, and assorting processes. The key emphasis of both designs is their human-like ability to perform complex tasks such as assembling and handling objects. Launched in Japan in late 2005, the company introduced these robots in Europe at the Automatica fair in Munich May 16-19.

Motoman works closely with its customers in developing new products: “Due to our focus on arc welding, the majority of our customers are automotive tier one clients,” Jan comments.“However, we also produce robots for heavy arc welding customers, and outside welding we have clients in machine turning, foundry work, plastics, palletising, the beverage industry, and beer manufacturers.We always try to develop robots to fit into certain application areas, which means that we work very closely with customers during the product development stages, and use their input in the designs.We have a very close relationship with Toyota and Honda in the development of new robots. I believe that they are among the leading companies in the world when it comes to production technologies.”

Jan explains that despite the challenges of increasing its customer base in Europe, he is confident that the company’s market-leading, innovative robot solutions, combined with its reputation in the industry, can ensure further success: “The challenge for us is to convince our best European customers that the way forward, and the way to compete with low cost competition, is to install further automation, and robots in their production facilities.However, we have the ability to develop new robots with a very short lead-time, to listen to the market needs, and develop robots that perfectly fit a customer’s environment. Compared to other robots manufacturers, we are always looking five or ten years into the future, and trying to
develop robots to fit that environment.”

Motoman Robotics Europe
Employees 650
Industry Industrial robotics