HomeRoboticsWhat’s New in Robotics? 02.02.2024

What’s New in Robotics? 02.02.2024

Information briefs for the week check out BMW saying the first-ever Manufacturing unit in a Field as an add-on to its manufacturing strains, cobots braving gamma rays to make medical radioisotopes, extremely dexterous, deep-sea cobots saving human divers from harsh environments, ABB does it once more with one more acquisition for AMR management, and Mujin Robotics and Accenture accomplice in hope of jumpstarting robot-AI automation in Japan.

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Manufacturing unit in a Field

Cell manufacturing simply obtained an fascinating increase in what’s being hailed by carmaker BMW as a Manufacturing unit in a Field, which is actually a small, robot-driven manufacturing unit (with a number of industrial robots or cobots) that may simply be crated up and shipped anyplace on the globe.

First conceived of and developed in Sweden in 2007, Manufacturing unit-in-a-Field Options for Availability and Mobility of Versatile Manufacturing Capability, was an answer for the conclusion of “cell and reconfigurable manufacturing capability on demand.” Three key options of the system have been mobility, flexibility, and velocity.

1704978594749 (1)On the tenth Convention on Studying Factories, in 2020, Manufacturing unit in a Field, along with cell manufacturing, was introduced as “a mannequin manufacturing unit—a extremely participating and efficient studying expertise” for coaching workers in new and novel manufacturing procedures. As a substitute of many workers touring to a producing website, the location got here to them. The outcomes have been spectacular, displaying improved recall from individuals, and improved studying outcomes as individuals learn the way and why to use new instruments and methods not simply what they’re.”

BMW not too long ago (2024) used the idea for a real-world utility by producing the world’s first Manufacturing unit in a Field for its door meeting manufacturing line (see video).

The carmaker claims: “Manufacturing unit in a Field, the world’s first modular plug & play course of gear for door sealing functions. Developed in collaboration with AyTec Automation, it ensures a fast startup at our vegetation.”


Cobots, labs & gamma rays

Cobots have been working their approach into a variety of laboratories and demonstrating superb leads to almost each utility. One of many newest is at Argonne Nationwide Laboratory (Chicago) on a federal authorities undertaking to see how greatest to securely velocity up the manufacture of medical radioisotopes by incorporating cobots, synthetic intelligence (AI) and machine studying (ML).

robot-with-radioisotopeMedical radioisotopes are these radioactive supplies used significantly for imaging, analysis and remedy of assorted medical situations. With hundreds of thousands of radioisotope remedies yearly needing preparation, sluggish, costly, and oftentimes harmful manufacturing processes have been the norm. Some radioisotopes are nonetheless made based mostly on applied sciences used for the reason that Nineteen Forties.

In observe, a radioisotope fabricated from Iodine-131 travels all through the physique and localizes within the thyroid gland. As a result of it’s radioactive, its presence might be detected. It’s a radioactive tracer that detects a goiter, which is an irregular progress of the thyroid gland.

Consequently, in lots of circumstances, the demand for these rising isotopes is much past the obtainable provide. This limits the speed of progress in creating these superior most cancers remedies. That’s why the combination of cobots and synthetic intelligence into the manufacturing of radioisotopes holds a lot promise.

As Argonne physicist Jerry Nolen sees it: “Simply by gaining the flexibility to do the manipulation of the pattern from throughout the room signifies that we are able to safely deal with samples as much as 10 instances as radioactive. This dramatically will increase our means to provide these priceless and mandatory isotopes.”

6-axis, subsea cobots

Some cobots are being constructed for subsea adventures, like these from the comparatively new (2016) Sydney, Australia-based Attain Robotics. ReachX-Maniulators-1The Attain X, for instance, is a watertight, 6-axis, underwater manipulator with 3D imaginative and prescient that may dive to 1,000 toes and has end-effector gripping accuracy of 0.39 of an inch (<1cm). …It’s dexterous gripper abilities can swiftly unzipper a duffle bag on the ocean flooring.

With 75% of the globe’s floor lined in water, and with the world’s largest island/continent—Australia—surrounded by identical, Aussie subsea cobots ought to have an odds-on likelihood at doing pretty nicely as industrial merchandise. And certainly, the corporate has risen shortly. Between its two founders (2016) and right now’s 50 workers (2024), Attain Robotics has constructed a shopper record of personal companies, authorities, and better training, in over a dozen vertical industries.

A Attain specialty is that its cobot arms are purposefully engineered for “ultra-subsea dexterity” in order that they’ll carry out duties usually meant for human divers. In accordance with its founders, that’s exactly the corporate’s mission: “extending human attain into harsh environments by creating robust, sturdy, superior manipulation and notion methods.”


ABB Robotics does it AGAIN!

Immediately, ABB Robotics is an autonomous cell robotic (AMR) phenom! And all of it since 2018! Whereas simply since final week, it TWICE jumped up just a few notches in management for new-age mobility in “sensible” AMRs. Well timed plan brilliantly executed.

ABBRobotsSevensenseAlong with the AMRs, ABB will get a aspect profit: ABB now has a cell platform for its cobots.

Final week, What’s New in Robotics? reported on the ABB acquisition trifecta of Intrion (2018), and ASTI (2021), that vaulted ABB into AMR prominence; after which the January addition of Sevensence (2024) vaulting it additional into management in “sensible” AMRs.

Now comes this week’s acquisition of software program developer MeshMinds (2024) for AI, Industrial IoT, and machine imaginative and prescient. Collectively, Sevensense and MeshMinds will construct out a brand new R&D hub for progressive automation. These two might be joined by Austrian-based Bernecker & Rainer Industrie-Elektronik (B&R), acquired by ABB in 2017 that produces industrial PCs and manufacturing unit automation units designed to extend productiveness.

Development by means of acquisition for ABB’s Robotics & Discrete Automation enterprise is how the corporate intends to catapult itself into management place in what ABB calls “subsequent era versatile automation”.

Sami Atiya, president, ABB Robotics and Discrete Automation Enterprise was greater than happy: “AI-powered robotics and automation have the ability to rework industries,” he mentioned, “offering companies with better flexibility and intelligence amidst crucial international traits and workforce challenges.”

ABB’s total boss since 2020, Björn Rosengren, promised extra acquisitions: “Among the firm’s progress will come by means of acquisitions [maybe 5 to 10 a year] notably small to medium-sized ones to assist divisions strengthen their market positions.”

AMR’s have been a lot wanted at ABB. The marketplace for autonomous cell robots (AMRs) is anticipated to develop by round 20% per yr as much as 2026, in accordance with ABB estimates, increasing from $5.5 billion in 2023 to $9.5 billion by 2026.

This charge is quicker than the one anticipated for typical mounted robots, the place ABB sees annual progress of 8%.


Mujin Robotics and Accenture to jumpstart automation in Japan

Latest analysis in Nature and from the Oxford Martin College painting Japan’s industrial automation efforts as ranging anyplace from lagging to stagnating. Graeme Mcdonald at Citigroup factors out one of the best automated factories in Japan are those who make robots: “Manufacturing at a few of Japan’s main robotics corporations is already almost absolutely automated.” However automation doesn’t lengthen a lot past robotics.

mujin-accenture-alpha-automation-nueva-empresa-automatizacion-robotica-ia-1140x641Now that synthetic intelligence (AI) and machine studying (ML) have begun to converge with robotics, Japan’s limitations have grow to be obtrusive: Japanese robotics lags as AI captures international consideration, reads a header in a latest Nature article.

“AI and robotics are usually not separable,” says Minoru Asada, an emeritus roboticist at Osaka College. “Huge modifications occurred, and we couldn’t catch up.”

The consensus on Japan, robots, AI, and automation is that the “nation’s automation analysis would possibly want a renewed focus.” Enter Mujin Robotics and Accenture partnering with a plan to determine a “new paradigm” in automation in Japan. Mujin Robotics might be Japan’s greatest instance of an AI-driven robotics vendor, and naturally, Accenture is a Dublin-based info know-how companies and consulting large to largely the World Fortune 500, with revenues for 2023 of $64.1 billion. The article in AIThority states it plainly: Accenture and Mujin Set up Joint Enterprise to Deliver AI and Robotics to the Manufacturing and Logistics Industries.

The brand new enterprise, known as Accenture Alpha Automation, will assist Japanese corporations automate their administration infrastructure with data-driven options that seamlessly mix operational knowledge from manufacturing and logistics operations with administration knowledge. The three way partnership is owned 70% by Accenture and 30% by Mujin.

“Mujin gives clever automation options for industrial websites. Its clever robotics platform permits corporations to deploy industrial robotics methods with out the standard complicated advance settings and integration, together with movement settings and peripheral gear, usually required for different robotics methods.”

With its East Asian rivals, China and Korea, nicely forward of Japan in AI convergence, Accenture Alpha Automation will want a mighty effort to get Japan again into the sport.








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