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European Start-ups Introducing 4 Promising Industrial Robotic Innovations
Robotics start-ups are making significant strides in the manufacturing industry, turning robots into superhumans. A significant number of European start-ups are mushrooming in the space bringing something new to the table.
FREMONT, CA: A few decades ago, industrial robots were the area of interest of science fiction movies, but today they are a reality. As days pass, robots are sure to become smarter, more capable, and be able to handle advanced tasks. Manufacturers are incorporating robotics in their plants. Robotics today is the critical driver of competitiveness and flexibility in the manufacturing industry. Without robotics, many of Europe’s successful manufacturers would not be able to compete from their current bases of operation. Realising this fact, robotics start-ups across Europe are coming up with innovative industrial robotic applications. They are very different from their predecessors and are building machinery, packing deliveries and even flipping burgers. Read on to get a picture of significant start-ups leading the transformation, significant strides they are making, and how will they affect future manufacturing operations.
• Smart Collaborative Robots
A collaborative robot is a different breed of industrial robot that is specifically designed to work alongside human workers across supply chains. Smart collaborative robots are already available in the market and are equipped with sensors and underlying technology that makes it easy to program them. As collaborative robots get more intelligent, they will be more reactive, assisting manufacturers in meeting production goals, being more responsive to market dynamics, delivering on customer preferences and fueling the speed of innovation. These capabilities of collaborative robots can make them highly desirable in settings traditionally reserved for industrial robots. The long-term effect of smart collaborative robot adoption could be huge, with manufacturers altering their entire supply chain with its capabilities. The growing durability, low-cost points and intelligence of collaborative robots are leading the widespread adoption of the technology among European manufacturers. Collaborative robots are also becoming more equipped to manage industrial tasks which nurture flexibility and productivity, which is a highly desirable quality for any manufacturer looking to maximise return on investment.
Magazino, a robotics company from Munich, is developing robots that work together with people—autonomously, safely, and at a level of complexity that nobody can offer. The robots are made for the kind of repetitive fetching and transport work that is so common in manufacturing plants.
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• Training Robots with VR
As the robotics industry continues to evolve year after year, applications of robotic technology are being combined with several other innovative technologies causing a buzz. The convergence of robotics with other technologies is perhaps better seen with Virtual Reality (VR). As VR converges with robotics, one key area where this hybrid-tech can be applied is the manufacturing industry. Using VR has the advantage that robots can be taught with reduced cost and effort.
Nestled in the French city of Lille, Exotec Solutions is developing, training robots to help manufacturers train their employees with complex tasks. The company is also developing fleets of robots to automate warehouse operations.
• Soft Robots
The growing interest in soft robots among European manufacturers comes from the opportunities offered by these systems to cope with problems that cannot be addressed by robots built from rigid bodies. Many innovative solutions are being developed to design soft components and systems for soft robots, illustrating how soft robotics is strictly dependent on advanced manufacturing processes. Soft robotics evolution is more than just a trend, but a real technological breakthrough is justified by the need to evolve toward human-friendly robotics. The development of flexible systems in robotics, such as serial elastic actuators, is also contributing to the emergence of new mechanisms, with similar safety and interaction objectives in manufacturing plants. Soft robots are a step further in the attempt to benefit from mechanical compliance to offer safety and fulfilling complex tasks. A wide range of flexible robotic systems has already been developed, with a significant number of applications—a technological push closely tied to the development of new manufacturing techniques.
Scaled Robotics is rethinking the entire manufacturing process. The company’s mission is to modernise manufacturing with soft robotics, thereby creating a manufacturing process that is lean, efficient and cost-effective.
• Customer Service Robots
Although service robots cannot be deployed as widely as industrial or collaborative robots, the number of industries they are popping up in is mounting rapidly. Strong future growth projections accompany this rapid growth in the different types of service robots as they automate industrial processes in the industrial sector. By bringing industrial robot workers to the front line of customer services in manufacturing, firms can familiarise consumers with the concept of robots as workers. This idea will encourage wider adoption of service robots. Additionally, European manufacturers are using service robots to handle the nuances of human interaction. As a pioneer in the robot industry, Robopolis’s goal is to drive innovation, serve as an industry catalyst and change the manufacturing landscape by fueling the age of robots. To encourage the development of robotics, Robopolis develops customer service bots that enable workers to collaborate and communicate throughout the workplace more personally.
The commercial interest in robotics is not anything new. An efficient manufacturer will always seek ways to lower their costs while increasing profitability. Realising the market opportunity, start-ups are offering new robots which are more capable, more adaptable than the traditional ones. Start-ups are developing robots with the future in mind, with which manufacturers can invest in robotics with peace of mind.
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