Kinova’s Link 6 - The First Canadian-Built Industrial Cobot
Kinova, based in Montreal, has recently developed a cobot to add to their robotic lineup with many industry-standard features, designed to help alleviate post-Covid pressure.
Kinova, a company based in Montreal, has recently developed a cobot to add to their robotic lineup. The cobot is advertised to be the first industrial cobot built by a Canadian company. The cobot has many industry-leading features and was designed to help alleviate the economic pressure felt from recent pandemic related labor shortages.
Cobots are Gaining Traction
Cobots, or collaborative robots, have the ability to work alongside humans with no need for protective safety fencing or alternative safety measures that are traditionally used with industrial robotic systems. They move more slowly and have the ability to detect collisions with their human co-workers before they are hurt in the event of a collision.
Kinova’s Link 6 collaborative robot. Image used courtesy of Kinova
There has been an increase in the use of cobots in recent years, and pandemic-related labor shortages have helped to bolster sales for cobots. Cobots are often used to help workers by reducing the amount of repetitive or dangerous physical labor supplied by the worker. Cobots have reached into many different applications including:
- Pick and place
- Machine tending
Cobots are also designed with easier programming interfaces, allowing more rapid editing of tasks and motions to make them more flexible in the workplace. The task of programming doesn’t usually require advanced training, meaning the existing workforce can adapt to this technology more easily.
Kinova’s Link 6 cobot tending a CNC machine. Image used courtesy of Kinova
The Link 6
Kinova’s latest robotic addition comes in the form of the cobot dubbed the Link 6. Their new collaborative robot was built with the intent to help anyone looking to use collaborative automation in their industry. Kinova has made the system so that users with even a low level of robotic experience will be able to work with and program the robot.
The cobot features excellent performance in cartesian speed capabilities and has a reasonably high payload capacity for its long reach. It comes standard with a compact controller that has the option for adding GPU for any future applications of AI and machine vision processes. The controller has the highest processing power and memory capacity currently on the market for cobots in its category. The Link 6 has many great features:
- Hand guiding capabilities, which are reported to be superior to competing models
- User friendly interface for ease of programming
- Lightweight design for flexible placement and transportation
- Power and data cables integrated into the arm
- Built-in software support for many available third-party end effectors
- Multi-colored indicator ring integrated into wrist for operating status
Kinova designed the Link 6 with a 6kg payload, 1000mm max reach, max speed of 1.65m/s (although limited to regulated safe travel speeds) and the arm weight is a reasonable 23.45kg. The third-part end effector support allows grippers, vacuum applications, weld tips, and a host of other common cobot tools.
Kinova’s Link 6 cobot with a colored status indicator at the wrist joint. Image used courtesy of Kinova
Cobots have become a major component of modern manufacturing and automation, reducing injuries and supplementing the strained workforce. Kinova’s new Link 6 is a promising new addition to their robotic lineup which already includes professional and medical robotic systems. The cobot is built entirely in North America and has many competitive features, being designed with new users in mind, hoping to reach customers who have traditionally not used robotics.