Tech Briefs Magazine - July 2022 - 36

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When the Future
of Robotics Becomes
Pneumatics
Cobots will achieve a new level of
flexibility with digitized
compressed air.
T
raditional robotics has been supported
mainly by the automotive industry,
so the performance of these
devices was adapted to the needs
of transportation manufacturers. Envisioning
smaller and more lightweight robotics,
designers realized that cobots could
be used for millions of assembly tasks now
being carried out by humans. Following traditional
thinking, every cobot in use today is
based on electric motors and drives. Something
new is on the horizon, however: a cobot based on
pneumatic technology that will change the paradigm
of a cobot itself and open the door to new ways of thinking
about robotic design. Pneumatics will simplify components
and make it easy to operate these collaborative units.
Hardly any industrial market segment will grow as rapidly
over the next few years as collaborative robotics. Cobots relieve
employees of particularly strenuous or monotonous tasks, thus
giving them new levels of value-adding activities and making
work easier, healthier, and more productive. Sales of cobots for
assembly lowered the costs of robots to a level where small- and
mid-sized manufacturers can now apply them. In addition to
cost reduction, ease-of-use drives the adoption of cobots for
small- to mid-sized companies.
The Benefits of Pneumatics
A pneumatic cobot will represent the next development step for
the segment of human-robot collaboration. No other technology
36
has such a
sensitive and
flexible approach
to human-robot collaboration
as pneumatics
because changes in air pressure
due to contact or adjustment
can be immediately sensed and
rapidly adjusted.
A cobot based on pneumatics owes many
of its advantages, such as sensitivity, weight, and
cost value, to the benefits of compressed air technology. The
direct drives in the articulated joints are cost-effective and
lightweight because, unlike electric solutions, no heavy gear
units or expensive force-torque sensors are required.
Because of the uniquely intuitive and simple commissioning
and programming of pneumatics, it is quick and easy to comprehend,
and extensive training is not required. A pneumatic
cobot will be less expensive than electric cobots in the same
class and will provide excellent value for the money in its main
application area of small parts handling. Lower cost and ease
of use continue to lower barriers to employ robotics for smalland
medium-sized companies.
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Tech Briefs Magazine - July 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Tech Briefs Magazine - July 2022

Tech Briefs Magazine - July 2022 - Intro
Tech Briefs Magazine - July 2022 - Sponsor
Tech Briefs Magazine - July 2022 - Cov1
Tech Briefs Magazine - July 2022 - Cov2
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