What’s New in Robotics? 02.02.2024

Information briefs for the week check out BMW asserting the first-ever Manufacturing facility in a Field as an add-on to its manufacturing strains, cobots braving gamma rays to make medical radioisotopes, extremely dexterous, deep-sea cobots saving human divers from harsh environments, ABB does it once more with yet one more acquisition for AMR management, and Mujin Robotics and Accenture companion in hope of jumpstarting robot-AI automation in Japan.


7e6zla8fra_9983v2m412_indu0798Manufacturing facility in a Field

Cell manufacturing simply obtained an attention-grabbing enhance in what’s being hailed by carmaker BMW as a Manufacturing facility in a Field, which is actually a small, robot-driven manufacturing facility (with a number of industrial robots or cobots) that may simply be crated up and shipped anyplace on the globe.

First conceived of and developed in Sweden in 2007, Manufacturing facility-in-a-Field Options for Availability and Mobility of Versatile Manufacturing Capability, was an answer for the conclusion of “cell and reconfigurable manufacturing capability on demand.” Three key options of the system have been mobility, flexibility, and velocity.

1704978594749 (1)On the tenth Convention on Studying Factories, in 2020, Manufacturing facility in a Field, along with cell manufacturing, was introduced as “a mannequin manufacturing facility—a extremely partaking and efficient studying expertise” for coaching workers in new and novel manufacturing procedures. As an alternative of many workers touring to a producing web site, the positioning got here to them. The outcomes have been spectacular, displaying improved recall from members, and improved studying outcomes as members learn the way and why to use new instruments and strategies not simply what they’re.”

BMW lately (2024) used the idea for a real-world utility by producing the world’s first Manufacturing facility in a Field for its door meeting manufacturing line (see video).

The carmaker claims: “Manufacturing facility in a Field, the world’s first modular plug & play course of tools for door sealing functions. Developed in collaboration with AyTec Automation, it ensures a fast startup at our vegetation.”


Cobots, labs & gamma rays

Cobots have been working their means into a variety of laboratories and demonstrating superb leads to almost each utility. One of many newest is at Argonne Nationwide Laboratory (Chicago) on a federal authorities venture to see how greatest to soundly velocity up the manufacture of medical radioisotopes by incorporating cobots, synthetic intelligence (AI) and machine studying (ML).

robot-with-radioisotopeMedical radioisotopes are these radioactive supplies used significantly for imaging, prognosis and remedy of assorted medical circumstances. With tens of millions of radioisotope therapies yearly needing preparation, gradual, costly, and oftentimes harmful manufacturing processes have been the norm. Some radioisotopes are nonetheless made based mostly on applied sciences used for the reason that Forties.

In follow, a radioisotope manufactured from Iodine-131 travels all through the physique and localizes within the thyroid gland. As a result of it’s radioactive, its presence could be detected. It’s a radioactive tracer that detects a goiter, which is an irregular development of the thyroid gland.

In consequence, in lots of instances, the demand for these rising isotopes is way past the obtainable provide. This limits the speed of progress in growing these superior most cancers therapies. That’s why the mixing of cobots and synthetic intelligence into the manufacturing of radioisotopes holds a lot promise.

As Argonne physicist Jerry Nolen sees it: “Simply by gaining the flexibility to do the manipulation of the pattern from throughout the room signifies that we are able to safely deal with samples as much as 10 occasions as radioactive. This dramatically will increase our skill to provide these helpful and obligatory isotopes.”

6-axis, subsea cobots

Some cobots are being constructed for subsea adventures, like these from the comparatively new (2016) Sydney, Australia-based Attain Robotics. ReachX-Maniulators-1The Attain X, for instance, is a watertight, 6-axis, underwater manipulator with 3D imaginative and prescient that may dive to 1,000 ft and has end-effector gripping accuracy of 0.39 of an inch (<1cm). …It’s dexterous gripper abilities can swiftly unzipper a duffle bag on the ocean ground.

With 75% of the globe’s floor coated in water, and with the world’s largest island/continent—Australia—surrounded by identical, Aussie subsea cobots ought to have an odds-on probability at doing pretty nicely as industrial merchandise. And certainly, the corporate has risen rapidly. Between its two founders (2016) and as we speak’s 50 workers (2024), Attain Robotics has constructed a consumer record of personal firms, authorities, and better training, in over a dozen vertical industries.

A Attain specialty is that its cobot arms are purposefully engineered for “ultra-subsea dexterity” in order that they’ll carry out duties usually meant for human divers. Based on its founders, that’s exactly the corporate’s mission: “extending human attain into harsh environments by creating robust, sturdy, superior manipulation and notion programs.”


ABB Robotics does it AGAIN!

Abruptly, ABB Robotics is an autonomous cell robotic (AMR) phenom! And all of it since 2018! Whereas simply since final week, it TWICE jumped up a number of notches in management for new-age mobility in “good” AMRs. Well timed plan brilliantly executed.

ABBRobotsSevensenseAlong with the AMRs, ABB will get a aspect profit: ABB now has a cell platform for its cobots.

Final week, What’s New in Robotics? reported on the ABB acquisition trifecta of Intrion (2018), and ASTI (2021), that vaulted ABB into AMR prominence; after which the January addition of Sevensence (2024) vaulting it additional into management in “good” AMRs.

Now comes this week’s acquisition of software program developer MeshMinds (2024) for AI, Industrial IoT, and machine imaginative and prescient. Collectively, Sevensense and MeshMinds will construct out a brand new R&D hub for revolutionary automation. These two shall be joined by Austrian-based Bernecker & Rainer Industrie-Elektronik (B&R), acquired by ABB in 2017 that produces industrial PCs and manufacturing facility automation units designed to extend productiveness.

Development via acquisition for ABB’s Robotics & Discrete Automation enterprise is how the corporate intends to catapult itself into management place in what ABB calls “subsequent era versatile automation”.

Sami Atiya, president, ABB Robotics and Discrete Automation Enterprise was greater than happy: “AI-powered robotics and automation have the facility to rework industries,” he stated, “offering companies with better flexibility and intelligence amidst crucial world traits and workforce challenges.”

ABB’s general boss since 2020, Björn Rosengren, promised extra acquisitions: “A number of the firm’s development will come via acquisitions [maybe 5 to 10 a year] notably small to medium-sized ones to assist divisions strengthen their market positions.”

AMR’s have been a lot wanted at ABB. The marketplace for autonomous cell robots (AMRs) is anticipated to develop by round 20% per yr as much as 2026, in response to ABB estimates, increasing from $5.5 billion in 2023 to $9.5 billion by 2026.

This fee is quicker than the one anticipated for standard fastened robots, the place ABB sees annual development of 8%.


Mujin Robotics and Accenture to jumpstart automation in Japan

Current analysis in Nature and from the Oxford Martin Faculty painting Japan’s industrial automation efforts as ranging anyplace from lagging to stagnating. Graeme Mcdonald at Citigroup factors out the very best automated factories in Japan are people who make robots: “Manufacturing at a few of Japan’s main robotics firms is already almost absolutely automated.” However automation doesn’t prolong a lot past robotics.

mujin-accenture-alpha-automation-nueva-empresa-automatizacion-robotica-ia-1140x641Now that synthetic intelligence (AI) and machine studying (ML) have begun to converge with robotics, Japan’s limitations have develop into obvious: Japanese robotics lags as AI captures world consideration, reads a header in a latest Nature article.

“AI and robotics will not be separable,” says Minoru Asada, an emeritus roboticist at Osaka College. “Large adjustments occurred, and we couldn’t catch up.”

The consensus on Japan, robots, AI, and automation is that the “nation’s automation analysis may want a renewed focus.” Enter Mujin Robotics and Accenture partnering with a plan to determine a “new paradigm” in automation in Japan. Mujin Robotics might be Japan’s greatest instance of an AI-driven robotics vendor, and naturally, Accenture is a Dublin-based data know-how companies and consulting big to largely the International Fortune 500, with revenues for 2023 of $64.1 billion. The article in AIThority states it plainly: Accenture and Mujin Set up Joint Enterprise to Deliver AI and Robotics to the Manufacturing and Logistics Industries.

The brand new enterprise, referred to as Accenture Alpha Automation, will assist Japanese firms automate their administration infrastructure with data-driven options that seamlessly mix operational information from manufacturing and logistics operations with administration information. The three way partnership is owned 70% by Accenture and 30% by Mujin.

“Mujin offers clever automation options for industrial websites. Its clever robotics platform allows firms to deploy industrial robotics programs with out the standard advanced advance settings and integration, together with movement settings and peripheral tools, usually required for different robotics programs.”

With its East Asian rivals, China and Korea, nicely forward of Japan in AI convergence, Accenture Alpha Automation will want a mighty effort to get Japan again into the sport.








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