miniPAL cobot palletizer to be shown at Universal Robots booth at ATX West

Universal Robots A/S plans to demonstrate the miniPAL collaborative robot system for palletizing, metrology, and machine tending at ATX West on Feb. 11 to 13, 2020, in Anaheim, Calif.

Booth 4815 will feature the new miniPAL mobile palletizer from Universal Robots reseller Columbia/Okura. Powered by the UR10e cobot arm, miniPAL can palletize at two pallet locations for optimized operation. The UR10e cobot arm has a 10kg (22 lb.) payload and 1,300mm (51.1 in.) reach. miniPAL has a footprint of 3.3 x 3.9m (11 x 13 ft.).

Universal Robots said its demonstration at ATX will include two safety mats and two area scanners that detect when people enter the work envelope. This enables the system to meet high speeds even when not in collaborative mode. miniPAL plugs into 110V AC wall power, can be set up in less than a day, and delivers an average payback in eight to 10 months, said Universal.

“The miniPAL partnership between Columbia/Okura and UR allows the two companies to provide a safe and economical palletizing solution to clients who are facing labor shortages, many of whom may also be new to factory automation,” said Brian Hutton, president of Columbia/Okura. “With the introduction of the miniPAL collaborative palletizer, employees can be reassigned to work on higher value, less strenuous tasks where their time and skills are better served.”

Parts inspection in augmented reality

Many manufacturers are still using hand tools like calipers, micrometers, or height gauges for parts measurement, causing consistency problems, said Universal Robots. While some have started to use 3D scanners, they have lacked the measurement tools to go with the scanners.

At ATX West, 3D Infotech will demo its Universal Metrology Automation (UMA) system in UR’s booth. The system includes a projector mounted onto a UR e-Series cobot arm. It projects inspection results back onto the part through the company’s Spotlight AR++ software that guides operators through workflows and provides visual instructions directly on the part.

“In recent years, we’ve seen businesses try to automate metrology, and it takes a long time – anywhere from six months to a year or more to implement, which negatively impacts a business,” said Rohit Khanna, president of 3D Infotech.

A recent UMA customer, Royal Technologies, needed to scan a wide range of parts. “Some operators would miss certain features of the part, resulting in bad parts. Now we catch anything that is deviated. To summarize, it has improved speed, quality, and overall performance,” said Trevor Lipsey, launch coordinator at Royal Technologies.

Vention will also have a presence in UR’s booth. It will demo its machine tending drawer system that holds parts for a UR5e cobot to pick for machining. Compared to a tray set-up, the drawer system extends the period of autonomous machine tending, as the UR5e pulls out a new drawer with more stock once the first drawer is emptied.

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