Green is the new yellow

FANUC gets serious about collaborative robots

FANUC can proudly present the new Model CR-35i A, a collaborative robot that with its 35-kg payload beats anything currently available on the market and sets a new milestone.

Collaborative robots can no longer be regarded as light-duty units. The CR-35i A’s 35-kg payload allows it to handle heavy-duty, industrial-manufacturing operations.  One of the first two to come to Germany will go straight into a test application at an automobile manufacturer, where it will immediately replace a “red workstation” in a real-world application.

The new robot’s 35-kg payload is a veritable godsend and, as in the early days of industrial robots, its job is handling hard, unpopular tasks.  Strenuous, routine tasks and workplaces where unfavorable ergonomic conditions prevail will be its preferred assignments.  However, no longer will it be cordoned off by a cage.  Humans will be able to interact with it and contribute their cognitive and sensory capabilities, which will allow the two of them to accomplish their tasks in a congenial manner.



Of course, the new robot comes with the full complement of safety features that has thus far been standard equipment on all of FANUC’s robots.  Areas having differently characterized safety zones (DCS) within the robot’s workspace may be defined and actively utilized.  The robot retains its full functionality.  Humans retain full control over robot operation.

Opportunities for utilizing numerous, standard, software- and hardware options available on FANUC’s conventional robots open up whole new dimensions.  For example, i RVision, FANUC’s integral vision system, may be readily employed in 2D/3D-mode.  Its ROBOGUIDE simulation software, which allows assessing robot reaches or task feasibilities, may also be readily employed in conjunction with the CR-35i A.  Since programming is based on the standard user interface, extensive operator retraining will be unnecessary.

There are two general types of scenario where the CR-35i A is the ideal choice.  One involves its automatically and independently working alongside a workplace involving a human operator, which will provide the optimum in safety.  Another worthy of mention is that it allows situating two robotic workstations closer together.  Collaborative robots, such as FANUC’s CR-35i A, have been developed for applications involving close collaborations with humans.  For example, at a joint robot-human workstation, the robot would handle lifting and holding heavy work pieces or modules.  Robot-human collaborations at assembly stations are also feasible.

New applications areas are also expected:

FANUC tested the characteristics of collaborative robots on a version having a 3-kg payload that was exhibited at the “Jimtof” show in Japan and the IMTS in Chicago.  The major function of interest is “Contact Stop”.  The “Soft Cover” on the robot’s arm complies with the safety standards stipulated under ISO 10218-1, Category 3, as has been verified by the TÜV.  Another major function is “Push to Escape,” under which the robot may be shoved in any direction by a human operator.

Just how painstakingly FANUC has been in developing the CR-35i A is also evident from its choice of color scheme.  Studies have shown that the color tone chosen for the robot arm’s “Soft Cover” is regarded by human operators as particularly pleasing, another example of how engineering and industrial design can complement one another.

The new robots are also expected to find new application areas.  In cases where more or less simple handling mechanisms have been maneuvered entirely by human muscle power, replacing the mechanisms involved with a CR-35i A will allow taking a cost-saving step toward automation.  The automobile industry leads the way in expressing interest in collaborative robots.  Engine manufacture and assembly stations are the key areas where they would come into play.  Experience indicates that marketing opportunities exist in the areas of loading and offloading machine tools, as well as at packaging stations, where robots can take over handling tasks and human workers can perform inspection, testing, or shipping tasks.