In a few short weeks, the 2019 Robotics Summit (focused on the design, development, manufacture, and delivery of commercial robotics) will take place in Boston. It will be co-located with the DeviceTalks event at the Seaport World Trade Center.
Side note — and yes, we at Design World are quite excited about this one: DeviceTalks is featuring a truly remarkable keynote speaker in Tyler Shultz, the entrepreneur and Theranos whistleblower who brought to light many of the revelations detailed in Bad Blood, which we cover here on designworldonline.com.
Shultz is the closing keynote in the afternoon June 6th and goes later than the Robotics Summit closing keynote from Dev Singh of Qualcomm Technologies on the application of 5G in robotics. That means if you register for the Robotics Summit, you’ll get to see and ask questions of both Singh and Shultz.
On the technologies themselves, we of course know that motion control and power-transmission technologies are at the heart of all robot designs. Following is a smattering of some such components you’ll see at the Summit.
Robot degrees of freedom — tracked with feedback
Sensing and feedback allow for monitoring of robot axes (to track position in space as well as speed, acceleration, and torque) for the correction of motion … to deliver on preprogrammed moves and adjust to external factors. In most cases, sensing and feedback components in robotics take the form of encoders (on electric-motor-driven axes) and other sensors for end-of-axis tracking or mapping. Some suppliers showing such technologies at the 2019 Robotics Summit include the following.
ifm • Booth #104 — Information to glean from these folks includes that on position and fluid sensors as well as diagnostic, networking, and connectivity solutions (which are increasingly pre-engineered, as we cover here and here). ifm manufactures industrial sensors and other control products to support an array of robotics applications — and those for assembly too.
Renishaw • Booth #130 — If you attend the Summit, get this team to summarize for you how to choose between and apply optical, laser interferometer, and magnetic encoder technologies. Renishaw sells (among other things) components for measurement and motion control, though the supplier is probably best known for its encoders for OEM positioning applications.
Motors propel, rotate, actuate robotic axes
Electric motors are far and away the most common technology imparting motion to robotics. On the rise today are PMDC motors, stepper and servo motors, PMAC and brushless motors, and frameless iterations of various motor subtypes. That latter can include direct-drive motors and (often when referring to motors that drive AGVs and similar autonomous robotics) torque motors.
Nidec • Booth #110 — As we outline in more detail in this article (Motion Trends: New motor breeds are smart, connected, and compact) Nidec founder Shigenobu Nagamori identifies these trends in industries employing electric motors:
• Home appliances traditionally employing brushed motors are increasingly using brushless dc motors
• Rising electrification of automobiles relies on electric motors
• There’s significant replacement of manual tasks in logistics and agriculture with automated designs — and the potential for drones in these markets is especially high
• Proliferating robots (including collaborative robots) are almost all equipped with electric motors and speed reducers. These robots are expensive, but use will rise as prices decrease, said Nagamori.
Visit Nidec at the summit to see its lineup of precision motors suitable to impart motion to robotic designs.
maxon precision motors • Booth #114 — If you missed the recent Automate show in Chicago, you didn’t get the chance to see the tabletop robotics display maxon had at its booth … a KINOVA arm:
The company’s Jaco2 Robotic Arm provides a lightweight, quiet and easily controlled device to the service industry; it actuates in six degrees of freedom using six flat motors.
You’re likely to see this or comparable application examples (as well as maxon motor and drive offerings to satisfy robotic designs with parameters as demanding as those for Mars rovers) in Boston — so go say hello.
Bodine Electric Co. • Booth #122 — This is a stop for stock and custom gearmotors and drives as well as fixed and variable speed ac, brushless dc, and permanent magnet dc motors and motion controls. Again, tag us on LinkedIn if you visit Bodine and want us to share your conversation online.
Electrocraft • Booth #226 — Here get a unique take on application-engineered motors and motion products for inspection and agricultural robots, robotic mowers, surgical robots, domestic-service robots, and end effectors. This motor maker also sells gearboxes, gearmotors, linear actuators, and integrated motor drives for such applications.
MICROMO • Booth #248 — One reason attend the Summit in Boston is to see this manufacturer’s micro dc motors firsthand — especially if you’re an engineer or OEM aiming to boost design quality. Besides brush and brushless dc motors, stepper motors, and linear dc servomotors, MICROMO also supplies gearheads, encoders, and micro linear actuators. As the North American supplier of FAULHABER micro-motion products, MICROMO also provides value-add design and engineering services.
Precision power-transmission for robotics
Harmonic Drive • Booth #119 — Strain-wave gearing sets are core to so many robotics applications. One company supporting this technology’s application is Harmonic Drive — which designs and sells an array of precision servo actuators, gearheads, and gear component sets. Solutions are standard or (in most cases) custom.
Note that on Wednesday at the Summit (11:45 to 12:30 pm) president and CEO of Harmonic Drive Doug Olson will present on these technologies for robotic actuators.
Intech • Booth #124 — Here you’ll get to see various robotic applications for self-lubricating plastic rollers, gears, and cam followers of non-hygroscopic Power-Core material (and supplied with durability calculations). Fast as well as lubrication (and maintenance) free, these motion components also have low inertia and deliver smooth motion so critical to automated designs.