Highlights and Photos from Automate 2023
Join Control Automation for a review of the show highlights and a special feature of some exciting booths visited on the last and final day of the Automate trade show. Excited for the next year of innovation!
Automate 2023 came to an end in Detroit, but the lasting impact of the showcased technologies is sure to drive plenty of innovation as we progress through the year.
One of the technology combinations that seemed to stand out as a theme from the show is the inclusion of AI processing for vision systems. Instead of pure algorithms to process visual images for inspection, safety, and sensing, AI-based training systems implemented in the cloud and at the edge provide the basis for continual improvement.
In the algorithmic approach, the only improvement to the analytical capability of the system is a change in the algorithm, which is possible, but can be difficult. Using AI technology, image ‘training’ can be performed with fewer test images, and it can ‘learn’ to improve its own identification ability as time goes on. With highly capable IPCs and servers designed for the edge of the factory floor, the AI processing can be performed, in many cases, without the inclusion of a link to a remote cloud service.
On this final day, our team met with several innovative companies to learn about the latest technology in automation.
This company, supported by the primary ownership of Bosch Rexroth, is reimagining the reach and capability of the collaborative robotics market. The reach and payload are the primary design criteria of the Kassow 7-axis cobots, but one of the keys to the task ability is that 7th axis.
This axis is located near the middle, just below the elbow joint, and it comes standard on every Kassow robot. This axis allows a higher degree of manipulation, particularly around corners, which allows more collaboration in environments where both the robot and a human operator must be able to access a point; the robot can be placed in more convenient locations without experiencing travel limitations.
The next versions of the Kassow robots will include a controller integrated into the base unit to save space and increase mobility between applications.
Well known for scanners and sensors to identify codes (bar and QR codes) and process parameters, Balluff is also a leader in IO-link devices. A highlight of the booth was the newly released BVS Identsensor, a scanner capable of reading both 1D and 2D codes as well as DMC codes, which are data matrices, a 2D construction bearing similarities to QR codes, and used for many medical and industrial applications.
Balluff also has many products for condition monitoring, allowing not only proper creation of the products in a production line, but also the production devices themselves, preventing costly downtime and replacement operations.
Imagine if a robot on a production line experiences a fault. You dread the idea of calling the integrator or corporate field service team, waiting until the next morning when the engineer arrives on the earliest flight, watching as they examine a few sensors and make some measurements, replace a wire and adjust a few objects, jog the robot a few inches and restart the program, then bill you thousands of dollars. It’s a common story.
Now, imagine if you could simply call the engineering team, they remotely examine the cell and the current position and faults from the robot, identify the issue, and safely move the robot and restart the program within a few minutes…
This is the objective of Olis Robotics, allowing safe secure remote control of a robot using camera feeds for visual real-time inspection, and an interface with the robot controller to both manipulate and check faults within moments.
With a long history in the industrial space, Bosch Rexroth highlighted its ctrlX platform to illustrate the integration of control, visualization, and motion all into a single environment. This platform is a single controller sharing data with the various modular components that accomplish specific tasks, including motion, analytics, user inputs, all with the ability to interact with a network environment to process and store data at the MES level or even a cloud environment.
Bosch Rexroth also demonstrated the Flexible Transport System (FTS), a high-speed conveyance track for accurate positioning and independent modular carriers to adapt to nearly any system requirements.
Finally, check out the images below to see the rest of the Automate show in action!