Bosch Rexroth
Mechatronics, linear motion, transport and robotics from Bosch Rexroth were on display at Automate 2023.

This Week in Power & Motion: Automation on Display at Automate 2023

May 26, 2023
Various companies highlighted their motion control solutions, sensors and software for use with robots and other automation applications.

There is much going on in the world of hydraulics, pneumatics and electronics motion control, from technology introductions and industry advancements to new trends and industry leaders. Each week the Power & Motion team collects some of the latest industry news to help keep our readers up to date on what's happening in the fluid power and motion control sectors as well as the industries they serve.

This week we're highlighting news from Automate 2023, the largest event in North America dedicated to automation in the industrial space, which took place May 22-25 in Detroit, MI. Use of automation is growing in a range of industries, from manufacturing to construction equipment to transportation, and bringing with it an array of motion control technologies, sensors, software and more.

READ MORE: Automate 2023 Demonstrates Excitement, Need for Industry Education on Automation

Automation will impact the hydraulics, pneumatics and electronic motion control sector, bringing about design changes and a potential shift toward more electronic options in some applications, such as electric actuators, due to their ability to better meet automated system requirements. 

Following is a sample of news released around the show which demonstrates the technologies necessary to automate systems and machines in order to help manufacturers be more productive and efficient, key benefits of employing automation. 

SCHNEEBERGER Spotlights Linear Motion Technology

SCHNEEBERGER, a developer of linear motion technologies, showcased several products many of which the company told Power & Motion during a meeting at Automate are offered as part of full system solutions. The company said this is an increasing request from customers and beneficial for achieving machine automation. 

According to SCHNEEBERGER, providing a full system helps OEM customers to accelerate their design and manufacturing as well as reduce assembly time and labor. It can also assure all components will work together as desired. 

Technologies featured by the company at Automate which can benefit machine automation included: 

  • MINIRAIL miniature guideways offering high precision, robustness, reliability, and versatility which are suited for medical equipment, additive manufacturing, and other applications where space is at a premium and high acceleration and/or extreme load values are involved.
  • Integrated MONORAIL AMS measuring head and scale for MONORAIL profiled linear guideways for precision distance measurement when space constraints and performance are a factor. 
  • MONORAIL BM profiled linear guideways (with balls) delivering precision and increased service life — with minimal maintenance. All carriages feature longitudinal cross wipers for efficient sealing against dirt and debris.
  • Super-compact SLA Actuator offering high-performance linear positioning at an economical price. The actuator uses recirculating ball linear guides which provides smooth motion and high load capacity. A ball screw version is available for higher speeds and duty cycles. Various leads are available for both the lead screw and ball screw versions.

Bosch Rexroth Demos Factory Automation Tools

At its booth, Bosch Rexroth provided demonstrations of its various solutions developed to enable automation for various aspects on the factory floor. Among these were its Flexible Transport System (FTS), two Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMR) developed in partnership with Geek+, and the recently introduced Smart Flex Effector providing improved handling for robots

The FTS is designed to be a fast, precise and flexible conveyor system. Linear motors help drive the conveyor with a high level of precision and speed via use of the company's ctrlX AUTOMATION technology. Also integrated into the system is a 7-axis Kassow Robot offering expanded reach for improved productivity. The company acquired Kassow in March 2022 to help further expand the motion control solutions it offers for industrial automation. 

With its ability to offer robots, drives and other products, Bosch Rexroth can be a one stop shop for the various solutions manufacturers need which is becoming more common throughout the industry. This makes it easier for customers to find the technologies they need and often times there is the ability to have connectivity between solutions, further benefitting operations. 

Moog Partners with Salvagnini to Create Decentralized Control Architecture

At Automate, Moog Inc. highlighted its various motion control technologies as well as its recent partnership with Salvagnini, a provider of automation solutions for metal forming applications. The companies jointly developed an 8-axis Cartesian manipulator robot which can automatically direct and sort punched or sheared parts at machining facilities. 

As Moog explains in its press release announcing the partnership, metal forming operations are challenged by a high variability of batches, smaller and diversified batches and requirements, shorter delivery times, and the need to provide customer quality guarantees. However, these operations also need to flexible in order to meet varied project and customer requirements. Therefore, Moog and Salvagnini collaborated to find a way to bring automation into these operations and help overcome the challenges they face. 

Moog evaluated its various motion control options and determined the best fit for Salvagnini’s 8-axis Cartesian manipulator was to integrate electromechanical solutions into the robot. This enabled interconnectivity of various processes. Components utilized include Moog's DE2020 energy management module, the DI2020 motor with integrated electronics, the DR2020 decentralized single-axis drive, and the HD/FAS H servo motors.

"The choice of electromechanical technology allowed us to propose integrated and plug-and-play systems, capable of communicating perfectly even with other manufacturers’ devices," said Marco Dallocchio, sales manager for Moog, in the company's press release. "The simplified installation enabled faster service. Other advantages include reduced sizes and weights, both resulting in higher acceleration and speed, and the opportunity to integrate new functions in the same space."

Techman Robot Launches 25 kg Payload Cobot

Techman Robot launched its TM AI Cobot TM25S, a collaborative robot (cobot) with a 25 kg payload, at Automate 2023. In addition, the company has launched the TMflow 2 Series software for easier programming of robots which can be used with the new TM AI cobot and others in its S Series.  

According to the company, its new cobot's 25 kg payload and other features suits use for a range of applications including machine tool material push stack operations and assembly tasks in automotive manufacturing. The cobot also features a reach of over 190 cm, which the company states in its press release announcing the cobot's launch is the longest in the 25 kg payload segment. This extended reach provides customers with more flexibility and adaptability to various working conditions. 

As a part of Techman Robot's S Series, the new cobot includes many of the same features as others in the range such as a built-in vision system and artificial intelligence (AI) technology. These work together to ensure tasks are performed with precision and efficiency. 

An enhanced motor speed improves cycle times by 25%, enabling work to be completed faster and thus customers to be more productive. The company said in its press release that certain models in the S Series can achieve a 70% improvement in repeatability and precision of 0.03 mm, further benefiting customers' productivity. 

Several safety functions and certifications have been achieved for the new robot. The cobot features up to 31 PL=d and Category 3 Safety Function certification from TÜV, signifying operators and other machines will remain safe while the robot is working. Its international safety certifications include ISO 13849-1 and ISO 10218-1, as well as regional safety certifications such as UL and CSA for North America and CE for Europe.

Techman Robot has also updated the control box for its S Series robots so they now achieve an IP54 rating, ensuring protection against ingress of dust and water. 

Norgren Demonstrates Varied Motion Control Technologies for Automation

Norgren, a subsidiary of IMI Precision Engineering, demonstrated how its various motion control solutions can be used in automation applications. These included new and existing products which have been designed for easy installation, helping customers to quickly get started with automation. 

Displays and demonstrations at the event included:  

  • A pick-and-place demo featuring all-Norgren pneumatic products
  • A transforming tooling robotic display with a moving arm controlled by a fully interactive human-machine interface
  • A static display of product samples of the most popular series within the Norgren Electric Linear Axis range, with a variety of profile sizes and styles, as well as drive and guide options
  • Displays of pneumatic vacuum capabilities, a multi-axis gantry, and an electric bike repair stand.

READ MORE: Robots and Cobots Present Opportunity for Pneumatics

Schaeffler Highlights Solutions for Robots and Other Automation Applications

Under the theme "Driving Smart Manufacturing at Every Axis," Schaeffler showcased various technologies beyond the bearings it is typically known for which can benefit the design of robots and other automation solutions. These include various system components, gearboxes, pivot bearing supports, drive motors and sensors. 

"For several decades, Schaeffler has provided a comprehensive range of solutions for industrial robotics based on conventional bearing components and specialized products. With our recent acquisition of Melior Motion and the development of our strain wave gearbox with its integrated torque measuring system, Schaeffler is now further expanding its offerings for the robotics sector," said Ulrich (Uli) Mayr, vice president of industrial automation for Schaeffler in the Americas, in the company's press release announcing its presence at Automate 2023. "This is an exciting time to be at Automate, and we are proud to showcase our technological expertise and systems know-how through our ever-increasing portfolio of automation solutions." 

Among the products on display which benefit the mobility of robots were the company's new PSC-Series Precision Planetary Gear Units. These gear units feature a patented tooth system designed to reduce the torsional backlash common with other gear drives. The company states torsional backlash is reduced to less than 0.1 angular minutes and remains constant throughout the operating life of the gear unit which is typically about 20,000 hours. 

Schaeffler also showcased its heavy-duty RT1-T precision strain wave gears with integrated microelectronics, embedded AI and the company's Sensotect sensory coating. The latter enables measurements to be taken right at the load point with a high level of sensitivity and accuracy, an important aspect to ensure optimized control of cobots. 

READ MORE about Schaeffler's technology for robots shown at Automate from our colleagues at Machine Design - Gearing up at Automate 2023: Schaeffler Showcases Latest Components for Robotics

About the Author

Sara Jensen | Executive Editor, Power & Motion

Sara Jensen is executive editor of Power & Motion, directing expanded coverage into the modern fluid power space, as well as mechatronic and smart technologies. She has over 15 years of publishing experience. Prior to Power & Motion she spent 11 years with a trade publication for engineers of heavy-duty equipment, the last 3 of which were as the editor and brand lead. Over the course of her time in the B2B industry, Sara has gained an extensive knowledge of various heavy-duty equipment industries — including construction, agriculture, mining and on-road trucks —along with the systems and market trends which impact them such as fluid power and electronic motion control technologies. 

You can follow Sara and Power & Motion via the following social media handles:

X (formerly Twitter): @TechnlgyEditor and @PowerMotionTech

LinkedIn: @SaraJensen and @Power&Motion

Facebook: @PowerMotionTech

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