Universal Robots Showcases New AI Capabilities at Automate 2024

At North America’s largest automation show, the cobot pioneer will redefine the frontiers of physical AI, showcasing how the ‘ChatGPT moment for robots’ has arrived in a wide range of applications. Automate attendees will also experience how Universal Robots’ newest cobot models, the UR20 and UR30, automate tasks with increased payload, reach, and torque.

With ‘physical AI,’ artificial intelligence is moving out of its digital confines to power robotic applications with humanlike perception, creating solutions that can handle variation without prior teaching or programming. Nowhere is that more pronounced than at this year’s Automate show in Chicago, May 6-9, where more than 50 Universal Robots throughout the show floor will demonstrate new capabilities – many of them fueled by AI.

“We are entering an era of intelligent automation where robots can learn from and adapt to their surroundings in real-time,” says Ujjwal Kumar, Group President of Teradyne Robotics, parent company of Universal Robots (UR). “This opens new possibilities for complex, creative and collaborative tasks, transforming robots from tools into intelligent partners that enhance workplace productivity and creativity.”

50-80x faster path planning and new 3D-guided picking solutions
At UR’s Automate booth #1541, the company will be demonstrating an AI-powered autonomous inspection solution showcasing robotic path planning 50-80x faster than today’s solutions, made possible through NVIDIA’s accelerated path planning tools. Teradyne Robotics has collaborated closely with NVIDIA incorporating the AI capabilities into UR’s soon-to-be-released PolyScope X operating software as a foundation for developments.

“As we continue to develop in-house physical AI capabilities, developers have also been turning to us as the preferred robotics platform for AI solutions,” says Kumar, highlighting how many AI-driven partner solutions will be on display at Automate. Two of those address new approaches to bin picking, a task that in more than 90% of applications is still performed manually:

One of them is Photoneo, a UR Marketplace partner, unveiling at booth #619 a unique new, AI-enabled multi-view localization solution, that leads to exceptional results of 3D bin picking of difficult objects. The Bin Picking Studio features the newest MotionCam-3D, incorporating a UR cobot and two statically independent PhoXi-3D Scanners to capture the scene from multiple viewpoints, enabling true automation in motion – such as picking in dynamic applications.

The other partner is Siemens that will debut SIMATIC Robot Pick AI at booth #1841, a pre-trained, deep learning based vision software for piece picking robot applications that is used for autonomous bin picking primarily in warehousing and e-commerce applications.  The system does not need to be trained on the parts being picked – any unknown part can be picked from a bin, which means the number of SKUs being picked are endless.

Latest UR cobot models tighten screws, palletize, and weld with coordinated motion
Automate marks UR’s first public display of its new high torque cobot, the UR30showcased at UR’s booth by UR partner ESTIC. Utilizing ESTIC’s Electric Pulse technology, the UR30 can successfully achieve smooth process tightening with up to 140Nm of tightening torque without faulting safety sensors. Another recent addition to the UR cobot family, the UR20, will demo its 68.9” reach and 44 lbs. payload capabilities in Robotiq’s PE20 Palletizing Solution.

For fabricators struggling to weld larger and more complex parts without having to manually reposition the workpiece or welding robot, UR’s new coordinated motion feature will be a sought -after solution. With coordinated motion, the cobot and external axis – such as a rotary positioner – move in sync. The new capability, showcased by UR partner THG Automation, enables cobots to weld more parts per run for increased efficiency. UR booth visitors can also experience cobots in automated metrology applications from 3D Infotech and parts cleaning by Advanced Laser Restoration.

New service offering: UR Care
To ensure optimal uptime for its cobots, UR is proud to unveil UR Care at Automate, a new offering setting a higher standard for onsite service by integrating high-value solutions tailored to customers. The new multi-year service commitment ensures prompt break/fix onsite repairs, with 24/7 remote availability, delivering unparalleled support.

Mobile cobots, tours of UR’s ecosystem, scavenger hunts, and UR presentations
At the show, UR will share a booth with sister company Mobile Industrial Robots (MiR), the two companies will show a joint offering traversing the shared show floor; a mobile cobot from Enabled Robotics, featuring a UR cobot mounted on the MiR250 AMR, a complete solution that enables cobots to perform different tasks at different workstations.

The UR Marketplace now comprises 329 partners with 489 UR+ solutions tested and approved for seamless integration with UR cobots. Visitors will get ample opportunity to see some of these in action during guided tours of the UR Ecosystem throughout the show floor, led by UR customer champions. Additional UR insights on topics ranging from emerging trends in collaborative automation, cobots in education, machine tending and welding, and industrial mobile robot safety and cybersecurity, will be presented in six UR conference presentations. Another opportunity for first-hand introductions to UR products and services is a new UR-organized Scavenger Hunt Challenge that sends participants on a fun quest to complete tasks and win prizes.

Empowering tomorrow’s workforce
A ‘Passport to Education’ will be given to students and educators visiting the UR Education Zone at booth #5575 as they solve tasks using UR cobots. Once a task is completed, participants will be given a stamp to move on to the next UR partner and level-up. The UR Education Zone includes partners from Ohio State University Center for Design and Manufacturing Excellence, National Institute for Metalworking Skills, SICK Sensor Intelligence, FESTO Didactic and ROOTS Education.

“Throughout Automate, we look forward to meeting and interacting with existing and future customers,” says Teradyne Robotics’ Ujjwal Kumar. “No matter where they our are in their cobot journey, we will be ready to engage, listen, and help them advance.”

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