Robots meet, show off advanced capabilities

ABB Robotics Technology Days, Oct. 12 and 13 in Auburn Hills, Mich., will feature scores of robots giving 40 demonstrations. Humans also are expected to gather to learn and participate in various seminars about robotics.


ABB Robotics Technology Days, Oct. 12 and 13 in Auburn Hills, Mich., will feature scores of robots giving 40 demonstrations. Here the 2010 event is shown. Courtesy: ABB RoboticsABB Robotics Technology Days, Oct. 12 and 13 in Auburn Hills, Mich., will feature scores of robots giving 40 demonstrations. Humans also are expected to gather in 15 small-group, topic-specific seminars on a variety of subjects at the ABB Auburn Hills robotic training facility.

Demonstrations will include:

  • A Room Temperature Vulcanization (RTV) robotic dispensing cell
  • An IRB 2600 robot interfaced to vision sensors made by multiple manufacturers to show the compatibility of an ABB robot with any vision sensing technology
  • A highly flexible, cost-effective, and accurate paint robot system, with small footprint precision and advance functions of larger ABB paint robots
  • A mini version of the popular ABB “Lite-Brite” demo, a daring display of robotic programming agility, path accuracy, and speed, featuring the coordinated interaction of an IRB 1600 robot moving a large pin at varying speeds within a tightly aligned grid of light bulbs attached to the rapidly moving arm of an IRB 2600 robot
  • Dual IRB 140 robots simulating the dispensing of paint or sealing material, featuring an ATI pneumatic tool changer controlled by the robot controller, highlighting the coordinated interaction of various system components and precise path control
  • A Haas automated machining center tended by an IRB 4600 robot; from the industrial technology lab at Vincennes University
  • Motors and drives from Baldor, a member of the ABB Group
  • Electronic machine safety systems from Jokab Safety, a member of the ABB Group 
  • Other technology provider demos: Fronius, Schmalz, Schunk, Leoni, SAS, ATI, Robovent, Cognex, and Intralox.

Robots for packaging (some also shown at Pack Expo, Sept. 26-28, in Las Vegas, Nev.)

Packaging robot advances include:

  • Dual palletizing cell with the new IRB 460 and IRB 760 palletizing robots and a new FlexGripper Vacuum end-of-arm tool
  • A high-speed pick-and-place system with IRB 360 FlexPicker and PickMaster 3 software, using vision in conjunction with the software to pick randomly placed objects, orient them, and place them on a conveyor where they are shuttled to the ABB IRB 4600 robot for packaging
  • A Race the FlexPicker challenge where attendees can test their reflexes in a “Whac-A-Mole”-type game against a high-speed ABB IRB 360 FlexPicker robot
  • A lean palletizing cell featuring the incredible range of motion of the IRB 4600 robot and the new Palletizing PowerPac control software.

Welding robots

Robotics for welding include:

  • A deburring cell with an IRB 140 robot mounted at a 90-degree angle on a column, displaying efficient use of space and high-precision material removal
  • A robotic laser cutting and welding demo. Robotic laser processing, especially welding and cutting, is one of the fastest growing technologies in metal fabrication.
  • The new ArcPack Lean, a fully configured, quick start robotic welding package with an array of options to suit the needs of many small to medium welding operations. The base package is priced in the range of $35,000 and includes an IRB 1410 robot; the new IRC5 Compact controller; a Fronius TransSteel 3500 power supply and wire feeder; and a Tregaskiss 500 Amp air cooled welding torch.
  • An IRB 6640 spot welding robot with a Leoni dresspack.


Other, nontraditional demonstrations include Chris Shepherd of Willard, Ohio, who will display the ABB FlexPicker delta robot he built from Lego pieces and components from the Lego MindStorms NXT robot kit. Fully operational, the Lego FlexPicker took first place at Brickworld 2011, a Lego enthusiasts’ convention held annually in the U.S. Also on display will be an IRB 4600 robot with a 60-in. Samsung Smart TV attached to the arm. Created by Robotic Arts, the “RoboScreen” features a character that interacts with people who enter a semicircular area featuring four robotic demos. The character on the RoboScreen launches each demo and describes it to the crowd.

Advice from seminars

Various seminars at the event will cover the following:

  • New technology in the Arc Welding vision systems and 1-D laser sensing solutions has boosted the ability for arc welding robots to work in the most arduous of welding conditions. The new technologies are combined with attractive economics availing the sensor systems to a wider audience.
  • Motion systems for laser applications have been generally dominated by gantry-style machines, 5-axis machining centers, and fixed automation methods due to the high requirement levels for speed, accuracy, and repeatability. Customers and system integrators have used robots to maximize laser machine capability and minimized capital investment.
  • New packaging products, cells, and processes: Robotic palletizing products have progressed with new manipulators, software, and functional packages.
  • A Palletizing PowerPac seminar demonstrates how to build, modify, and execute a palletizing cell using the RobotStudio Palletizing PowerPac. The program is saved to a RobotStudio viewer file that can be used as a sales tool. Adjustments can be reviewed and effects on system performance explored.
  • RobotStudio software can make salespersons, proposal engineers, mechanical designers, robot programmers, project engineers, and service technicians visibly better at their jobs.
  • Rebuild: ABB's robot reconditioning services can extend the useful life of existing assets, returning an ABB robot to factory-certified, original specification for less than the cost of a new robot. Pre-owned robots are always available for quick delivery. Teach pendants, circuit boards, wrists, and motors can be refurbished for less than half the cost of new parts.
  • Remote services: Robots equipped with remote service technology provide secure communication with the remote service center in daily intervals—or in case of an unplanned event, in a matter of seconds—and enable remote interaction between an authorized technician and the robot user. Problem diagnosis and predictive maintenance can improve uptime. 

A tour of the 55,000 sq ft ABB Robotics facility is included. Register or get more information about ABB 2011 Technology Days, Oct. 12-13. 

- Edited by Mark T. Hoske, CFE Media, Control Engineering,

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