AUTOMATICA 2014: Robots for Metalworking – Wide-Ranged Offer for All Applications


It’s clear a few weeks before the start of AUTOMATICA, which will take place in Munich from June 3 to 6: the range of robot offers and complete solutions for metalworking has never been as comprehensive as today. The exhibitors at the leading world trade fair have the right solution on hand for practically every application.

The two big topics are: automation of machine tools and special robots for metalworking. While robots handle loading and unloading machine tools as well as upstream and downstream work steps in the first case, large six-axis robots take charge of milling cutters and operate as machine tools in the second case.

Automation of machine tools is trend topic number one. The use of robots increases overall productivity of modern machining centers – one reason for the tremendous growth rates in this sector. Because options for reducing the main times of machining processes have been exhausted, optimizing the auxiliary times is the only possibility, and they can be shortened significantly thanks to the use of robots. Additional benefits are minimizing machine downtimes and semi-automatic operation of machines in shifts without workers.

Two solutions are competing in automating machine tools: direct integration of robots into machines and cell concepts, in which complete automation modules including robots can be docked onto machine tools. Trade visitors to AUTOMATICA can obtain information about the advantages and disadvantages of both.

Many users have had very positive experiences with automation of machine tools in simple applications over the past years. Convinced of the process reliability of these systems, the trend today is going in the direction of highly developed automation solutions, as Manfred Hübschmann, Managing Director of Stäubli Robotics, knows from his own experience: “Robots are taking on increasingly complex work content all the way to complete machining, often equipped with automatic gripper replacement systems. In addition, solutions are increasingly in demand, in which robots not only automate machining centers, but also handle linking of production systems and consequently provide even more autonomy.

Manfred Hübschmann, Managing
Director of  Stäubli Robotics.
Photo: Ralf Högel
Thanks to its narrow arm, the Stäubli TX90 can also cope with cramped spaces in machine tools.          
Photo: Ralf Högel


Be careful when selecting a robot
Today, almost all manufacturers offer six-axis robots for typical tasks. But careful: specific conditions of use play a decisive role in the selection of a suitable robot. In addition to a compact design with small footprint, precision and speed, users should pay attention to other features of robots.

When six-axis robots work inside a machine tool, they have to withstand the hardest production conditions.
The unavoidable contact with chips, sanding dust, cooling lubricants, cutting oils and other corrosive media make life difficult for them. Such requirements limit the range of usable robots considerably.

For applications, in which robots are continually exposed to liquid media, additionally protected robots are recommended. Pioneers in this field were the Stäubli six-axis robots in HE design, which were designed specifically for use when exposed to spray water. The wrist joint of this machine has IP 67 protection and can be dipped into liquid media. Kuka is following suit at AUTOMATICA. Waterproof models of the recently started KR Agilus series are available effective immediately.
“Thanks to their new waterproof properties, the KR Agilus series functions perfectly in the hardest production conditions and handles loading capacities from six to ten kilograms with ranges of 700, 900 and 1,100 millimeters. Stable stainless steel covers, special surface treatments and numerous gaskets enable unrestricted use of our small precision robot in machine tools,” according to Andreas Schuhbauer, Key Technology Manager at Kuka Roboter GmbH.

Andreas Schuhbauer, Key Technology Manager at Kuka Roboter GmbH.         
Photo: KUKA
Waterproof models of the recently started KR Agilus series are available effective immediately.      
Photo: KUKA


The development departments at ABB, Fanuc, Epson, Yaskawa and other robot manufacturers are also working on this topic, so that additional pioneering innovations can be expected at AUTOMATICA. In this context, not only the manipulators are the focus, but also software tools and open interfaces to the machine tools, which make programming especially easy without the need of special skills. Thanks to progress in control systems, robots can already be programmed via control of the machine tools in many cases.

DSC 0395: A Motoman MH50 with double/triple gripper during loading and unloading of a machine tool.        
Photo: Ralf Högel


Robots as machine tools 
Large six-axis robots are competing with machine tools for specific applications in the meantime. All kinds of materials can be machined with correspondingly modified robots. Application possibilities include milling,
trimming, drilling, thread cutting, polishing and the like. Robots for such uses should be especially precise and have a rigid structure to ensure usable machining results.

In metalworking, Manfred Hübschmann still considers CNC machining and machining robots such as the Stäubli RX170 hsm only conditionally as competitors: “High-precision machining of a large number of metal parts will remain a domain of machine tools. In small series and in places where precision within the range of tenths of a millimeter suffices, robots can be an economic alternative to be taken seriously. In principle, both solutions have their
own markets.”

This and additional press information with associated photos are available here.

Additional information about AUTOMATICA.

Watch the service robotics film of AUTOMATICA here.

Photos of the last trade fair.

Contact person for the press:

Ivanka Stefanova-Achter – Press Contact, Messe München International
Phone: +49 89 949-21488

VDMA Robotik + Automation
Patrick Schwarzkopf, Managing Director, VDMA Robotics + Automation
Phone: +49 69 6603-1590
Fax: +49 69 6603-2590

AUTOMATICA 2014: Innovations from Assembly and Handling Technology

Increasingly shorter product life cycles, smaller batch sizes, many variants: there is no question that assembly automation is undergoing a change. The suppliers of systems and components are reacting with pioneering innovations to these changes, as AUTOMATICA will show from June 3 to 6.

Indeed, producers are facing a number of decisive questions at the start of production planning today. A primary issue to clarify is how much automation should there be? In this context, the analysis of the product range to be manufactured and the required flexibility of the assembly solution are the decisive factors concerning the degree of automation. Difficult-to-foresee product life cycles connected with small numbers of pieces speak more in favor of manual or hybrid assembly systems. On the other hand, highly automated system solutions are always the first choice if a high number of product pieces is to be produced over a long life cycle.

Luckily for the manufacturers: If there is uncertainty in advance concerning these decision criteria as well as the success of a product, economic assembly systems can also be found today for requirements-oriented production. Leading manufacturers are exhibiting highly flexible, modular solutions at AUTOMATICA. These can be adapted flexibly to production needs, for example, in that linear transfer systems can be expanded to almost any extent, manual workstations replaced by automated ones, or upstream or downstream process steps automated.

“The creativity that manufacturers are putting into their assembly systems is impressive. As a result, users can start with low-cost automation solutions and adapt them step-by-step to increasing output rates if required.
These “co-growing” assembly solutions are often the deciding factor for realizing especially innovative products, because they make production possible in the first place thanks to manageable investments,” according to Patrick Schwarzkopf, Managing Director of VDMA Robotik + Automation.

Although traditional linear transfer systems are still the first choice when it is a question of optimum flexibility, completely automatic rotary transfers systems are the benchmark in matters of output. At AUTOMATICA, the latest systems of leading companies will break records and amaze trade visitors with capacities of 150 cycles per minute and more. Another novelty: Thanks to intelligent design, rotary transfer systems of the newest generation are considerably superior to their predecessor models not only in performance, but also with respect to flexibility.

Progress for all industrial sectors
Users from all industrial sectors can profit from the high performance level in assembly and handling technology.
The companies are offering systems and components for all possible production environments from “rustic to clean room”. There are not any restrictions for workpiece weights today either. The range shown at AUTOMATICA extends from micro-assembly to part weights of a ton. The trend to module formation is increasing weights by leaps and bounds, especially in the automobile industry. Of course, front-end modules, in which radiators and headlights are already integrated, are substantially heavier than bumpers of former times. The same applies to doors and cockpit modules, vehicle seats and lots more.

However, not only manufacturers are betting on module formation; manufacturers of assembly components are also employing this strategy on the other side. While selecting parts was a time-consuming matter in the past, in which up to 10 different parts had to be selected from different manufacturers with a lot of effort, this is much more user-friendly today. Today, the design engineer simply selects a complete functional module including pneumatic cylinder and valve, proximity switch, position sensing, bus interface and external sensor connection – finished.

The trend to increased functionality in a product is of course not only limited to the example of those selecting parts,
but is also continued in all areas of automation. The winners are the users who save time and money.

Focus on sustainability and energy efficiency
There is a great variety of possibilities to optimize energy consumption in assembly and handling automation.

This starts with handling modules, continues via drive engineering of the systems and ends with quality assurance.

Of course, pneumatic handling modules are fast and inexpensive and consequently widespread. However, the use of electric modules is gaining strongly in popularity. Under which conditions which system is best used can be clarified at AUTOMATICA in talks with the companies present in great numbers. The question can also be clarified about how central or decentral drive engineering of transfer systems can influence energy efficiency decisively.

Harald Mikeska, VMT machine vision specialist from its beginnings, would like to remind all that quality assurance can also influence sustainability in production: “We can provide inline inspection procedures for many applications today, which immediately exclude expensive reworking or defect products without causing further production work. As a result, machine vision contributes decisively to efficiency and sustainability in addition to its primary goal of zero-fault production.” Numerous renowned machine visions system suppliers and component manufacturers will be represented at AUTOMATICA.

Trade visitors can obtain information about the current state in assembly automation at AUTOMATICA.
Photo: Ralf Högel
zero-fault production is within grasp with integrated test stations.
Photo: Yaskawa
Processes can be optimized further as well as quality and productivity increased using innovative assembly solutions.
Photo: Yaskawa
Patrick Schwarzkopf, Managing Director, VDMA Robotics + Automation
Photo: VDMA


This and additional press information with associated photos are available here.

Additional information about AUTOMATICA.

Watch the service robotics film of AUTOMATICA here.

Photos of the last trade fair.

Contact person for the press:

Ivanka Stefanova-Achter – Press Contact, Messe München International
Phone: +49 89 949-21488

VDMA Robotik + Automation
Patrick Schwarzkopf, Managing Director, VDMA Robotics + Automation
Phone: +49 69 6603-1590
Fax: +49 69 6603-2590

AUTOMATICA 2014: Service Robots – Intelligent and Autonomous

Service robots are extremely gifted; they can detect and interpret their surroundings, have the ability to learn and are easy to teach. Flexible and autonomous, they are suitable for high-quality, individual services, including in a supporting function with people. AUTOMATICA, held in Munich from June 3 to 6, will present a separate exhibition area for the topic of professional service robotics for the first time.

Intelligent Robots for Intralogistics
Internal plant logistic processes from goods receipt to warehouse, production, assembly or picking and all the way to goods issue: the autonomous and “intelligent” transport system of the Austrian company Servus Intralogistics GmbH combines all areas in an optimum process flow. “Servus transports cardboard boxes, other boxes and workpiece carriers. The ARC (Autonomous Robotic Carrier) always gets to the target independently in the fastest way without GPS and route plan. Regardless of whether trips from A to B, picking up and discharging bulk material or precise aligning of workpieces in assembly, the robot adapts flexible and easily to capacity fluctuations,” Christian Beer, Managing Director of Servus Intralogistics, explained. “With a speed up to 3 m/s and a usable weight up to 50 kilograms, Servus saves up to 90 percent of energy compared to conventional conveyor systems.”

Servus is presenting the world’s first autonomous and intelligent transport robot system with ARC3 (Autonomous Robotic Carrier) for intralogistics, small load carrier warehouses, picking and assembly automation without a central control system.
Photo: Servus Intralogistic


The Allrounder for Driverless Transport Systems
Driverless Transport Systems, also called autonomous guided vehicles (AGVs), can reduce costs and increase profits in production, logistics, warehouses and distribution environments. This is demonstrated by the UNITR B/8261 from MT Robot AG. The versatile AGV supplies workstations with material, distributes mail, takes on ad-hoc orders and is available around the clock thanks to its charging strategy. “It only needs one learning trip to remember the deployment environment,” Managing Director and idea initiator Andreas Drost explained. “The user enters the route via a graphic interface. He can also note danger areas, transfer positions, doors and elevators without any programming skills.” The AGV calculates the optimum route, detects obstacles and stops situation-dependent. Communication with the user is possible via touchscreen at any time.


Service Robotics for Inspection and Maintenance
The British company OC Robotics in Bristol has specialized in robots with several arms, which move like a snake. They are ideal safety inspectors for areas that people cannot access, explore cramped and dangerous rooms with their “snake arms”, take videos and avoid obstacles cleverly. The robot snakes are produced customized, regardless of whether for canal inspection, aerospace assembly, medicine or safety applications. Their head is equipped with various tools such as cameras, special gripping arms or lasers for metal and concrete cutting. High performance in compact design is a great challenge, which is the reason why only high-performance, brushless 32 mm maxon DC motors with 60 watt unit rating and planetary gears in ceramic are used.

Regardless of whether airplane assembly, nuclear power plant or inspection of canals, the robot multiple snake arms equipped with maxon motors can access the most remote corners, which people cannot access, and solve problems there.
Photo: maxon


Robo-Mate – Exoskeleton Reduces Bodily Injuries
Production steps are sometimes so complex that service robots cannot handle them. However, when people risk bodily injury, as in vehicle recycling, the Robo-Mate exoskeleton can provide help. Under coordination of the Institute for Mechatronic Systems at ZHAW Winterthur, a supportive structure attached to the upper body has been created in the EU project Robo-Mate, which relieves the bodily load on workers and increases the efficiency and safety of manual production workflows decisively. Researchers at the Fraunhofer IPA are currently testing the exoskeleton in a virtual factory environment. The project has a good future, since approx. 44 million people in the EU suffer from work-related skeleton diseases, which creates costs of more than 240 billion euros annually.

In the EU project robot-mate, scientists from all of Europe are designing an exoskeleton, an intelligent supporting structure attached to the upper body of people, which relieves the load during especially demanding work and structures manual production workflows to be decisively more efficient and safer.
Photo: robot-mate


Rosy Times for Smart (Robot) Heads
Service robotics is on the rise. World Robotics 2013 estimates, that approx. 94,800 new service robots will be installed for professional use with a value of 17.1 billion US dollars in 2013 – 2016. “Industry and service robots will share essential technologies and profit from each other,” Martin Hägele from Fraunhofer IPA predicts. “Safe human-robot cooperation, intuitive teaching of tasks, more far-reaching use of sensors – especially machine vision – are binding elements.” The future challenge for service robots is physical interaction with people, objects and processes; they have to act safely, robustly and with increasing autonomy in the real world. This means that they need flexible, universally usable grippers and algorithms for clever manipulation, planning algorithms for collision-free movement in a dynamic environment as well as sensor technology and perception, which not only sees but also understands the world around us.


AUTOMATICA Highlight – Professional Service Robotics
AUTOMATICA is going to exhibit the newest innovations from professional service robotics in Hall A4. The focus will be on marketable service robots and components, among others, from medicine, logistics, inspection and maintenance.
The AUTOMATICA Forum in Hall B5 is dedicating a separate series of talks to the topic.

NEW: Service Robotics Demonstration Area and Show at AUTOMATICA.

More information about the new exhibition area Professional Service Robotics.

Watch the service robotics film of AUTOMATICA here.

MT Robot autonomous guided vehicles¿

Additional information about AUTOMATICA.

Source:AutomaticaContact person for the press:

Ivanka Stefanova-Achter – Press Contact, Messe München International
Phone: +49 89 949-21488
E-mail: ivanka.stefanova-achter@messe-muenchen.deVDMA Robotik + Automation
Patrick Schwarzkopf, Managing Director, VDMA Robotics + Automation
Phone: +49 69 6603-1590
Fax: +49 69 6603-2590

Robotics Industry 2013. Another all-time record in robot sales, reaching 168,000 units

 International Symposium on Robotics, President’s Report 2013 set new Record in Sales. March 2014. Dear Reader,

Excellent news for the Robotics Industry: Year 2013 has seen another all-time record in robot sales, reaching 168,000 units.

The main driver of the new record is the impressive demand in the Asian market, which confirms the growth achieved during recent years as well as the expected projections.

The never ending improvements in performance, quality and competitiveness of robots have generated a thrust at the basis of such success: in this perspective the imminent trade fair, AUTOMATICA 2014, in Munich represents a key event where technical developments will be shown by all worldwide actors of the Robotics Industry.

The joint 45th International Symposium on Robotics, the ISR, with the 8th German Conferene on Robotics, the Robotik 2014 (2-3 June 2014) is the meeting point for science and industry. The pioneering work of reseachers and engineers worldwide in the field of robotics will be presented and shared. The winners of the Joseph Engelberger Award will be presented at the ISR dinner on 2nd June 2014.

During the AUTOMATICA 2014, IFR will contribute to support the best understanding of trends and directions in Robotics at the CEO Round Table on 4th June, where both top representatives of robot suppliers and important final users from America, Europe and Asia will debate about the present most important technical challenge: human robot cooperation.

Another activity promoted by the IFR, intended to support superior scientific developments, is represented by IERA award, which annually honors and highlights  the ideas and achievements most valued in our Industry. The call for applications has been published and the awarding ceremony will take place in Shanghai on 8th July.

The IFR looks forward to seeing you soon in Munich and Shanghai to appreciate all the recent impressive accomplishments of the robotics industry and the premises for a further and brighter progress.

Sincerely yours

Arturo Baroncelli
IFR President

AUTOMATICA 2014. June 3–6, 2014.

For the first time ever, marketable business-to-business service robotics will be the focus of AUTOMATICA 2014 from June 3–6, 2014. The robotics community is gathering in Munich for the world’s largest trade fair for industrial robotics, assembly and handling technology and industrial machine vision. When they do, some 700 exhibitors from 40 countries will present their latest products and services to more than 30,000 industry professionals.

Emerging industrial sectors at a glance
During the next few years, several application sectors for professional service robotics can expect high growth rates—and many of them will be represented in Munich: from mobile platforms to sectors like logistics and medicine.

Service RoboticsProfessional service robotics on nearly 54,000 square feet of space
New at AUTOMATICA 2014: For the first time ever, professional service robotics will have its own exhibition sector. There will be 53 manufacturers of service robots, service-robot components, turnkey products and applications as well as research organizations—all with a focus on business-to-business applications. They will include several of the industry’s big names such as NEOBOTIX, BlueBotics, Festo, KUKA and SCHUNK.

Exciting demonstrations
Each hour there will be a moderated show in the Service Robotics Demonstration Area where service robots demonstrate what capabilities they now have and how they can be put to practical use in a B2B context.

Discussed by professionals
The AUTOMATICA Service Robotics Forum will give influential industry professionals a chance to discuss the sales potential that is made possible by man-machine cooperation.

Fitting awards
For the first time ever, the Service Robotics Masters and its special ESA BIC “Start-Up Award” will be presented to production innovations in the service robotics sectors. Companies can register their products at from March 31 to May 2, 2014.

Service Robotics Masters 2014

The Service Robotics Masters competition and its distinguished ESA BIC Start-up Award will award prizes to outstanding innovations in service robotics for the first time at AUTOMATICA 2014. The competition is open to companies and start-ups developing innovative products in the emerging service robotics market. The winners and runners-up will be presented at an awards ceremony scheduled for the AUTOMATICA forum on 4 June 2014 in Munich.

Position yourself as an innovation leader at the AUTOMATICA trade fair from 3-6 June 2014. Registration will be open from 31 March to 2 May 2014.


The Service Robotics Masters is designed to promote the emerging service robotics market by eliciting and rewarding commercial products and start-up companies. The competition is open to enterprises worldwide and start-ups (no older than three years) from the EU-28 and Canada that are developing innovative service robotics products in any relevant market segment. These include aerospace, agriculture, automotive, entertainment, home, infrastructure, medicine and healthcare, production, security, and sports. Technology trends like connected robots and robotics in the cloud, augmented reality robotics, micro- and nano-robots, wearable robotics, flying robots and swarm robotics are particularly encouraged.

How to participate

The competition will be organised and carried out exclusively in English via from 31 March to 2 May 2014, 12:00 noon (Berlin time). Interested participants are asked to choose one of the two prize categories and submit their company profile and product description.

The Service Robotics Master prize category is open to enterprises anywhere in the world that are developing products in the field of service robotics. The ESA BIC Start-up Award prize category is open to start-up companies no older than three years that are based in the EU-28 and Canada.


Evaluation Criteria

The Service Robotics Masters will present awards to complete products (the Service Robotics Master) and prototypes (the ESA BIC Start-up Award), as well as to devices, sensors, components, or software that advance service robotics applications in different market segments.

In both categories of the Service Robotics Masters, one winner and two runners-up will be selected by a panel of industry and research experts. All complete entries will be evaluated based primarily on the following criteria:

  • Innovation level
  • Business potential
  • Usability
  • Product maturity (Service Robotic Master)
  • Availability of a prototype (ESA BIC Start-up Award)

Service Robotics Master 2014