Epson Robots Launches New Robots, Intelligent Feeding System

Epson Robots today announced a series of new robotics products aimed at manufacturers looking to solve problems with existing processes or those looking for a lower-cost option for other applications. The company plans to showcase its new offerings this week at booth #7566 at the Automate 2019 event in Chicago.

Epson made the following three announcements for the show:

The new VT6L All-in-One 6-Axis robot, a new entry-level offering to its line of 6-axis robots.
The debut of its IntelliFlex Feeding System, designed as an alternative to manufacturing feeding systems to eliminate costly and time-consuming retooling.
The expansion of its LS series in the SCARA robot category, offering the LS3-B, LS6-B, LS10-B and LS20-B models.

The new products help address customers in two areas, said Rick Brookshire, product manager at Epson Robots. “We’re very focused on continuous improvement of existing products based on feedback, and the LSB series does that,” said Brookshire. “At the same time, we’re looking at problems that customers are having in the field with applications that either can’t do something, are too expensive to solve, or that they’re struggling with. That’s where the VT6L and IntelliFlex fall into.”
About the VT6L
The VT6L is the new entry-level 6-axis robot by Epson Robots.

The VT6L, offered at the cost of $13,900, is a compact 6-axis robot that includes the next generation of technology from Epson, the company said. It is aimed at simple parts transfer applications such as machine-tool and injection molding load/unload, pick-and-place, dispensing and simple assembly projects. Like the T-Series All-in-One that Epson launched last year, the VT6L is designed with a built-in controller to save on space, while its SlimLine structure includes a compact wrist pitch to enable access to hard-to-reach areas in confined spaces, the company said.

The VT6L includes integration tools such as vision guidance, and has a reach up to 900mm and payloads up to 6 kg. The hollow end-of-arm design gives users simplified cabling options and more versatile tooling choices, the company added. Power options include 110 V and 220 V, and there is no battery required for the encoder.

“As customers were using the T-Series, they would tell us, ‘Oh, I’ve got this other application, but it really needs a 6-axis robot – it’s a really simple application, I wish you had something,’ ” said Brookshire. “And every time I heard that I would bite my tongue, because I knew we were developing this.”
IntelliFlex offers smarter feeding system
The IntelliFlex Feeding System is powered by Epson’s IntelliFlex Software and Vision Guide, aimed at accommodating a wide variety of parts for advanced applications in the medical, consumer, automotive, and electronics markets, among others, the company said. The combination of a robot, vision system and feeder into a single development environment helps manufacturers looking for high-mix, low-volume parts singulation.

The IntelliFlex Feeding System provides vision guidance for parts singulation. Source: Epson Robots

Manufacturers typically rely on bowl feeder systems when they need to take bulk parts from a system and have it orientate correctly for a machine to grab the part correctly. They are generally custom-built for a specific part and design, which is fine for high-volume, low-mix situations. But when a part’s design or weight changes, costly retooling is usually required.

With the IntelliFlex Feeding System, the vision guide helps the robot see a singular part and grab it correctly. In addition, the vision system can notice whether parts are bunched up in a corner and then vibrate in order to singulate the parts. On the software side, changes to parts are handled by reprogramming the feeder system, so new parts can be used with the system without needing to retool.

“We’re starting to move into a world of high changeover, low-volumes, where they want to make these products for the next two weeks, but then they want to change over to make these other products for the next two weeks,” said Brookshire. “What do you do if you’ve got to get all these custom bowl feeders, that’s where flexible feeders come in.”

In addition, the IntelliFlex system includes an auto-tuning system that automatically adjusts the feeder parameters for new parts setup. “At the end of the day, what customers really want is to have the parts be singulated and the robot to go over and pick them up,” said Brookshire. The auto-tuning and easier programming is designed to speed up the process for parts changeover.

The system can support parts ranging from 5 mm to 40 mm in size, as well as complex and delicate materials. The system also includes red, green, blue, white and infrared blacklight options, and includes ESD/anti-static and anti-rolling configuration options.
About the LSB SCARA robots
The LSB series of robots will be available during the summer and fall this year, with the LS10-B shipping in June. Features of the new robots include:

Faster cycle times;
Lower cable duct profile for hard-to-reach work cell layouts;
A built-in camera cable for easy vision setup;
A new top-of-arm layout for enhanced useability;
A batteryless encoder to minimize downtime and reduce the overall cost of ownership.

“For the last several years, our LS-Series Robots have been the robot of choice for high performance, low-cost automation,” said Gregg Brunnick, director of product management at Epson Robots. “Our customers expect continuous improvement in performance and usability.”

The LS10-B and LS6-B are improved models from previous LS models, and are available in ISO 4 Clean versions for dust-free applications. Additional options include vision, fieldbus interface solutions, RC+ 7.0 API software, teach pendants and customizable GUIs.

In terms of arm design, the LS10-B can reach up to 600, 700 and 800 mm, supporting up to a 10 kg payload. The LS6-B can reach up to 500, 600 and 700 mm, supporting up to a 6 kg payload. The company said details for the LS3-B and LS20-B will come later.

Epson Robots, a division of the Seiko Epson Corp., has an installed base of more than 85,000 robots worldwide, with products line in the SCARA, Cartesian, and 6-axis robot categories, all based on a common PC-based platform. Robots are aimed at precision assembly and materials handling applications in the aerospace, appliance, automotive, biotechnology, consumer products, electronics, food processing, medical device, pharmaceutical, plastics, semiconductor, and telecommunications industries.
Epson Robots Launches New Robots, Intelligent Feeding System

IAM Robotics Redesigns, Expands Swift System for Mobile Fulfillment

PITTSBURGH – IAM Robotics today announced extending its Swift robot solution for e-commerce fulfillment operations by adding conveyor integration and a new transport robot that works with the Swift to exchange full or empty totes. The company plans to show the new offering at this week’s ProMat 2019 event in Chicago, April 8-11.

For the past three years, the company has demonstrated advances in autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) at the ProMat and Modex events. “This year, IAM continues to push those boundaries by introducing extended capabilities to the Swift Solution for the logistics industry in grocery, health and beauty, pharmaceuticals, and consumer-packaged goods,” the company said in a statement.

The new design for Swift includes a sleeker look with a smoother lift, and is available with either a fixed tote or an integrated motorized drive roller (MDR) for automatic tote transfer, IAM Robotics said. An adjustable carriage can match the height of a facility’s existing conveyor infrastructure for easier integration.

A graphic from IAM Robotics shows the benefits of adding the new Bolt robot to an existing Swift solution. Source: IAM Robotics

The new transport robot, named Bolt, is aimed to improve the throughput and return on investment of Swift by exchanging totes with Swift, delivering the full tote to the next process in the fulfillment cycle, such as packing and shipping. By leveraging Bolt for transportation, the company said that Swift can remain focused on picking.

Joel Reed, IAM Robotics president and CEO

“With the growing demands in e-commerce, the logistics industry is looking for autonomous robotic solutions that provide flexibility in their operational planning and execution,” said Joel Reed, CEO of IAM Robotics. “IAM is responding to these operational challenges by providing advanced innovative solutions in autonomous navigation, material selection and handling, and tote transport and transfer.”

ProMat attendees can visit booth S4679 at ProMat to experience the Swift system during the show.
About IAM Robotics
IAM Robotics, founded in 2012, is one of the leaders in the flexible autonomous robotic material handling space for e-commerce order fulfillment and material handling in logistics and manufacturing. The company’s Swift Product Suite provides companies with a robotic solution to address existing labor shortages, accelerate e-commerce environments, and changing consumer expectations.

The company, one of the RBR50 2018 award winners, raised $20 million in new funding in November 2018. It also teamed up with global logistics provider DB Schenker to bring the robotics technology into its operations. More recently, the company announced a collaboration with TREW to integrate robotics into the material handling and order fulfillment operations.

Related video: IAM Robotics at RoboBusiness 2018

IAM Robotics Redesigns, Expands Swift System for Mobile Fulfillment

Infographic: How AI is Being Deployed Across Industries

It is impossible to ignore the apparent impact of artificial intelligence in our everyday lives. As presented in the infographic below by, there is hardly any critical sector or industry that does not rely on AI to perform specific tasks that humans find difficult or impossible to complete.

AI is an advanced field of computer science whereby computer systems are designed to exhibit or mimic characteristics associated with human behavior. These characteristics include the ability to learn (acquiring information and the rules for using the said information), reasoning (using these rules to make informed judgments), self-correction (learning from previous failures), understanding language, and other mental capabilities.
Forms of AI technology
To help differentiate between some of the terms thrown around the idea of AI, here are some general definitions with technologies associated with AI. These areas are not separate from each other – for example, robotics can utilize machine vision technologies, and robotics process automation can utilize natural language processing for customer service chatbots.

Robotics: Engineering involved in designing and manufacturing robots. The significant advantage of this technology is that some of the robots can be utilized to perform tasks that are difficult or impossible by human standards.
Robotic process automation: The use of specialized computer programs or software robots that automate and standardize high-volume repetitive and tedious tasks usually done by humans.
Machine learning: The science of making computer systems perform actions without being explicitly programmed. By using existing data, computers can forecast future behaviors, patterns, and outcomes without needing human intervention.
Natural language processing: Focused on the interactions between computers and human languages, especially how computer systems can be programmed to analyze, interpret, and manipulate a large amount of natural language data.
Machine vision: The science and technology of using computer systems to provide imaging-based automated inspection and analysis with the aid of a camera, analog-to-digital conversion, and digital signal processing.

Applications of AI in various industries
The influence of AI technology can be seen across sectors such as transportation, education, manufacturing, online shopping, communication, sports, media, healthcare, politics and government, banking and finance, aerospace, and so much more.

Below is a list of essential industries impacted by AI:

Transportation: Autonomous car, also known as a self-driving car, is a vehicle that can sense its environment and is capable of moving without human interference. This technology can transform the transportation system, because it can analyze traffic and alternative routes, thus reducing travel times.
Manufacturing: high performing robots work faster, and complete tasks more efficiently than humans. Also, they can work for long periods nonstop as long as the power required for them to function is available. By using 3D technology and machine vision, these machines can speed up the process of product manufacturing.
Healthcare: Applications such as autonomous surgical robots, virtual nursing assistants, automated image diagnosis, and dosage error reduction have been some of the ways AI has been crucial for the technological advancements in the health sector.
Entertainment: machine learning can predict a user’s behavior to make recommendations on the type of movie, music, TV shows, and other content he’ll be interested in. Also, adverts can now be personalized based on the user’s preference, thereby increasing the chances a marketer will make a sale.
Sports: AI technology like automation and predictive analysis can be used in business decisions, sponsorship activations, ticket sales, and determining athletes’ performance.

Future applications of AI would be utilized in automated transportation, cyborg technology, solving problems associated with climate change, deep-sea and space exploration.

If the projected growth of the AI software market from $1.4 billion in 2016 to $59.8 billion in 2025 is anything to go by, AI is set for a massive takeover in the coming years.

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Infographic: How AI is Being Deployed Across Industries

Silicon Sensing Systems’ Latest Gyros Guide World’s Largest Construction Vessel

Silicon Sensing Systems Ltd’s announced this week that their latest inertial measurement technology has been used in AD Navigation AS’s new pilot’s aid, the ADX XR, to successfully guide the world’s largest construction vessel ‘Pioneering Spirit’ into Maasvlakte in the port of Rotterdam.

ADX XR display showing the predicted turn into port. Source: Silicon Sensing Systems

With large vessels such as the Pioneering Spirit, which measures 372 x 124 meters (1,227 x 407 feet), final entrance and docking maneuvers in the close confines of a port are typically controlled by a pilot. The pilot uses the ADX XR as their ship-independent navigation aid.

“Our MEMS gyros are relied on in many maritime roles, including positioning, stabilisation, and navigation, but our team is particularly proud of this successful trial with AD Navigation on the Pioneering Spirit vessel. Our devices are based on our patented vibrating ring design which means they offer a unique combination of precision performance and robustness – a combination that is particularly appropriate in the tough and ever-changing maritime environment,” said Steve Capers, General Manager at Silicon Sensing Systems.

Silicon Sensing’s CRH02 silicon MEMS gyro. Source: Silicon Sensing Systems

In the trials, precise movement data from Silicon Sensing’s CRH02 all-silicon gyros allowed the ADX XR to deliver a highly accurate and detailed 3 to 5-minute ship course prediction to the pilot. The CRH02 model is a compact, low noise, single axis gyroscope, similar to a fiber optic gyro, but more rugged, and with a lower size and weight.

Following this successful performance, AD Navigation has placed a production order for CRH02 gyros with Silicon Sensing.

Lorentz Ryan, Managing Director of AD Navigation commented: “The compact form factor along with the extremely precise performance of the new CRH02 gyro makes it a perfect component in our ADX XR ultra-precise and portable navigation system. We appreciate our long-standing relationship with Silicon Sensing and the excellent support from all their staff.”

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Silicon Sensing Systems’ Latest Gyros Guide World’s Largest Construction Vessel