Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - 4

4

* F E B R U A R Y 2020

Human-like robots
arrive, creating
a new industry
within an industry
With sight and smarts,
'cobots' are doing more
on the factory floor,
automating tasks
that could not be
automated in the past

in visual inspection because you
are literally staring at parts all
day, looking for
defects." Cobots
help alleviate that
task, Hasenfratz
said, freeing people
Magna
to do more comBy ROSE SIMONE
International's
plex jobs.
WAT E R L O O C O R R E S P O N D E N T
Alexander Zak:
Cobots have had
Self-driving
limitations. They
technology is
THE ROBOTS ARE BREAKING FREE
are slower than
being applied
from their cages.
industrial robots,
to
robots.
Industrial robots have been workthe amount of payPHOTO: MAGNA
ing in the automotive industry for
load they can handecades, but for the most part, they
dle is limited and
have been behind fences to keep them
they are not as durable, but advances
segregated from humans for safety
are being made.
reasons.
Alexander Zak, Magna's direcBut now, because of machine learntor of research and development in
ing and technological advances in senadvanced robotics, said his team
sors for vision, a new type of robot
recently developed a cobot that can
- smaller, more flexible, much more
operate at 10 times the speed of other
intelligent - is operating near human
cobots currently on the market and
workers on the factory floor.
handle double the payload.
These smaller, collaborative robots
"We worked with our technoloor "cobots" are increasinggy development partners to
ly being employed by globdesign the system, and we
al suppliers such as Ontariolaunched it at our plant in
based Magna International
Austria in 2019."
Inc. and Linamar Corp. They
Magna's Canadian plants
perform tasks such as visual
also are deploying cobots and
inspection of parts or picking
are looking at more appliout components on an assemcations for the technology
bly line, tasks that might be
throughout their operations,
boring to humans but until
he said.
now were far too complex for Linamar
CEO
Linda
AUTONOMOUS SPINOFF
machines.
Hasenfratz:
The evolution of cobots is
Cobots "are
A VISUAL IMPROVEMENT
also connected to the developenabling us to
The technology is proments in autonomous-driving
automate tasks
foundly changing the
that we couldn't technology, Zak said.
way many jobs are done,
"We are working with our
automate in the
said Linamar CEO Linda
past."F I L E P H O T O peers who develop autonoHasenfratz.
mous vehicles so that we can
"They are enabling us to automate
take the fundamental algorithms and
tasks that we couldn't automate in the
apply them to robots," he said.
past."
William Melek, director of one
Vision inspection is a good examof the biggest robotics research cenple, she said.
tres in Canada - RoboHub at the
"We have the highest turnover rate
University of Waterloo in Ontario -

Last year in Austria, Magna International launched a cobot that can operate
at 10 times the speed of a typical cobot and can handle double the payload.
PHOTO: MAGNA

COBOTS KILL SOME
JOBS, CREATE OTHERS
RELATED STORY/P13
William Melek, right, of the RoboHub research centre, says autonomous
vehicles - with their depth perception, planning, mapping and navigation -
are essentially a type of robot. Alex Werner, left, is the lead humanoid robot
engineer. P H O T O : R O B O H U B

said autonomous vehicles are a type
recently, cobot manufacturers such
of robot. If you think about depth peras Universal Robots have realized
ception, planning, mapping and navthe importance of opening their softigation, Melek said, "These things in
ware platform to companies such as
autonomous vehicles are all applicaRobotiq.
ble to cobots."
LIKE SMARTPHONE APPS
Linamar is currently building a
new research and innovation hub
Jobin likens it to what happened
in Guelph, about 95 kilometres west
with smartphones as they opened up
of Toronto, to pursue the next gentheir software platforms to app develeration of technologies for
opers, resulting in a slew of
industry. The company also
new applications.
recently invested in TorontoUnlike industrial robots
based Synaptive Medical Inc.,
for painting and welding, the
which has developed techcobots are easier to program,
nology that includes a robotcan be moved around in the
ic digital microscope. There,
factory and have a much
again, advances in one type
smaller footprint, Jobin said.
of robot - for surgical purObstacles to true collaboposes - could cross over into
ration remain. Typically, a
industrial applications as
Robotiq's
cobot will do one task and the
well, Hasenfratz said.
Jean-Philippe
human a different task someJobin likens
where down line. Melek of
NEW TYPE OF SUPPLIER
the cobot
RoboHub said that as robots
boom to what
The evolution of cobots
are developed to more easily
has led to a whole new type of happened when understand human gestures
smartphone
automotive supplier geared
and speech, they will be worktoward making tools for these makers opened ing with humans in a much
machines. Quebec City-based their software
more collaborative way. The
platforms to
Robotiq, for example, startresearchers at RoboHub work
developers.
ed out making products for
on the whole gamut of robots,
The result was
heavier industrial robots.
including humanoid robots.
an
explosion
About five years ago,
"With the evolution of artiof app
with the advances of artifificial intelligence and the abildevelopment.
cial intelligence and more
ity of these robots to operate
PHOTO: ROBOTIQ
sophisticated cobots, Robotiq
intelligently in a human-censwitched to making end-of-arm tools
tric environment," Melek said, "I
for cobots, such as a wrist camera and
think we will see more and more of
mechanical and suction-cup grippers
the cobots." - ANC
that the cobot uses to find and identify
parts on the assembly line, and manipulate objects. It also supplies the software that operates the tools.
"The market has been growing
very fast," said Robotiq's co-founder and chief technology officer, JeanPhilippe Jobin. "It is booming, and
we are seeing new players coming
into the cobot market, and also companies that were previously serving
the industrial-robot market now have
cobot divisions."
About five years ago, Robotiq began
When cobots first came on the
making end-of-arm tools for cobots,
scene, Jobin said, their programming
such as a wrist camera.
was basically "a closed loop." More
PHOTO: ROBOTIQ



Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2

Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - Intro
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - 1
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - 2
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - 3
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - 4
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - 5
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - 6
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - 7
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - 8
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - 9
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - 10
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - 11
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - 12
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - 13
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - 14
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - 15
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - 16
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - 17
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - 18
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - 19
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - 20
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - 21
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - 22
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - 23
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - 24
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - 25
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - 26
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - 27
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - 28
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - F1
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - F2
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - F3
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - F4
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - F5
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - F6
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - F7
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - F8
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - F9
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - F10
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - F11
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - F12
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - F13
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - F14
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - F15
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - F16
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - F17
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - F18
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - F19
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - F20
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - F21
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - F22
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - F23
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - F24
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - F25
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - F26
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - F27
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - F28
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - F29
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - F30
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - F31
Automotive News Canada - February 2020 - v2 - F32
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