Tech Briefs Magazine - June 2022 - Sensor-14

TECHNOLOGY LEADERS Sensors
Torque Sensors Make Safer Cobots
A
s Industry 4.0 evolves, the use of
more sophisticated robots, as
well as advanced automation
and control systems within industrial
applications has become more
common as companies continue their
pursuit to increase effi ciency and profi tability.
The
advancement of automated technology
has helped drive the development
of collaborative robots (cobots).
They are robots that can work alongside
or with humans. These cobots are intended
to interact with and assist workers as
opposed to being standalone automated
equipment with little to no human interaction.
Historically, this interaction was
limited due to safety concerns and the
fact that humans and robots were not
able to work together safely, effectively,
and effi ciently.
Today, cobots offer much greater fl exibility
in the workplace since protective
cages are no longer needed for safety
purposes. They have been developed to
work seamlessly with humans and can
perform tasks together that neither humans
nor robots could do on their own.
This fl exibility helps increase return on
investment (ROI) due to increased productivity
and reduced labor costs.
Cobots can also handle complex or
dangerous tasks that humans either cannot
complete or cannot perform safely.
For example, cobots have the capability
to perform surgery with a degree of
precision and steadiness that is beyond
the capabilities of even the best human
surgeon. On the safety side, cobots can
handle toxic materials and operate in
environments that are not suitable for
humans.
From product manufacturing operations
to industrial packaging applications
- and everything in between - cobots
play a signifi cant role in increasing
productivity. As companies continue to
fi nd new ways to integrate cobots and
the benefi ts of utilizing cobots become
better understood, this is leading to
enormous growth in their deployment
in factories and manufacturing facilities.
According to the International Federation
of Robotics (IFR), 22,000 cobots
14
Figure 1. A typical cobot arm. The black bands are rotating joints. (Image: Borshch Filipp/Shutterstock)
How It's Made
1
Strain Gauges
2
3
Assembly starts with a flexure base
Strain gauges are added
Gauges are electrically connected to a PCB
4
Electronics PCB is added with
interconnect via B-to-B headers
Flexure substrate
Silicon strain gauge
Adhesive
Flexure Base (Top view)
Figure 2. TE Connectivity safety torque sensor construction. (Image: TE Connectivity)1
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Sensor Technology, June 2022
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Tech Briefs Magazine - June 2022

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