ABB and Kawasaki partner on cobot project

Wednesday, 29 November, 2017

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Industrial automation and robot suppliers ABB and Kawasaki Heavy Industries have announced the world’s first cooperation that will focus on collaborative robots, or ‘cobots’.

Europe’s largest robot supplier, ABB, is known for its YuMi dual-arm robot, whereas Asia industrial giant Kawasaki has developed its Dual-Arm SCARA Robot called ‘duAro’.

The two companies plan to work together to share knowledge and promote the benefits of cobots, particularly ones with dual-arm designs, while continuing to manufacture and market their own offerings. This includes educating policymakers, NGOs and the general public about the benefits of collaborative automation, and creating common industry approaches to safety, programming and communications.

The introduction of robots into the workforce has been happening for a while now. Although many originally feared robots would threaten their robots, the potential for them to collaborate with humans and perform different tasks could actually provide a number of benefits.

The collaboration between humans and robots is increasingly important, particularly for industries with more product variability which needs more human intervention. While human strengths lie in process knowledge, insight and improvisation for change, robots can perform more menial and repetitive tasks for longer periods of time.

“Collaborative robots, especially those with two arms capable of human interactions, can greatly contribute to society and help the world cope with labour shortages and an ageing workforce. We see high potential in expanding collaborative applications and processes where people and technology work together to create solutions,” said Yasuhiko Hashimoto, managing executive officer and general manager, Kawasaki Robot Division. “I’m very pleased that ABB and Kawasaki are joining forces to lead the drive for more user-friendly, advanced collaborative automation.”

Automation and robotics are continually advancing. They can make processes more efficient and their use in the workforce is only expected to increase in coming years. As managing director of ABB’s Robotics business Per Vegard Nerseth said, “The scale and pace of change in the robotics industry today is unimaginable.”

The global cooperation is effective immediately and the first output will be a collaborative dual-arm robot demonstration in Tokyo from 29 November to 2 December 2017.

Image credit: ©

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