The cobot revolution has ushered in an era of flexible robots that can be deployed to do one task, then redeployed to do another. Lightweight and less expensive, collaborative robots offer smaller businesses a path to automation that was never practical in the past.
Science fiction writer William Gibson says, “When you want to know how things really work, study them when they’re coming apart.” For robotics engineers, redeployment is where the rubber meets the road. Changing EOAT and teaching the robot where it is in space and time can be long and laborious. The tasks aren’t done until the system works.
Changing End of Arm Tools Painlessly
Here at Millibar, we tackled the first challenge of redeployment with the Millibar Manual Tool Changer. Without any tools, a robot operator can effortlessly switch tooling between adaptive grippers, vacuum grippers, and much more. Simply release the locking lever and slide a new tool into place. Any robot, any tool.
When Flexxbotics reached out to us about their Flexx Reference product, the possibility of even faster redeployment became clear. The Flexx Reference is a hardware/software solution that provides a relative offset for a Universal Robot, informing the robot of its position in space. Without the Flexx Reference, the process requires an engineer and can take anywhere from 4 hours to a couple days, depending on the size and complexity of the program. We became instantly invested in seeing Flexxbotics succeed because their product dovetails nicely with Millibar, in that it helps redeploy robots quickly.
Whenever Two or More Engineers Gather…
Our engineering group wanted to jump right in to find a smart way to marry their components with ours to save money and provide a clean design. We were inspired by Flexxbotics excitement to move forward with Millibar and it felt like a team effort.
The collegial atmosphere made for easy collaboration that yielded quick results: the Flexx Swap. This new Flexxbotics product combines the cobot redeployment benefits of the Flexx Reference with the end of arm tool innovation of Millibar. Users can rapidly switch between the Flexx Reference to set position, then to the needed EOAT.
These innovations open new possibilities for robot applications, and make each robot more valuable to the end user.