Long a hidden champion among German SMEs – now an internationally respected trend-setter in smart production: As the winner of the Hermes Award, with live applications for human/robot collaboration, and with intelligent tools for the smart factory, SCHUNK, the competence leader for gripping systems and clamping technology was a crowd-puller at Hannover Messe 2017.
Besides Germany’s Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel, Poland’s Minister President Beata Szydlo, and EU Commissioner Günter Oettinger, other visitors to the pavilion of the innovative family-owned company included Baden Wuerttemberg’s Economic Minster Dr. Nicole Hoffmeister-Kraut, and numerous press representatives and technical experts from around the world, who wanted to learn more about the future of handling processes in the smart production environments of Industry 4.0. In the field of human/robot collaboration alone, the leading supplier of equipment for robots and production machines demonstrated the diverse capabilities of barrier-free collaboration between humans and robots with six Co-act demo units.
CEO Henrik A. Schunk summed up the result of the global industrial exhibition with the following positive words: “Hannover Messe 2017 once again truly lived up to its reputation as the world’s leading Industry 4.0 show. It showed across the entire breadth of industry that smart production is full of potential and that countless marketable solutions already exist today for developing that potential.” In his opinion, there will be a fundamental change in industrial production in the coming years due to the digitalization, mechatronization, and automation of production processes, as well as collaboration between humans and robots, and the networking of all central components. “SCHUNK will also benefit from this, because implementation of the scenarios of Industry 4.0, human/robot collaboration, and service and assistance robotics requires intelligent, sensitive and highly networked gripping and clamping systems,” the dedicated entrepreneur emphasized.
Hermes Award for intelligent HRC gripper
The usefulness of the strategy pursued by SCHUNK was confirmed at the start of the exhibition when the intuitive SCHUNK JL1 Co-act Gripper received the Hermes Award 2017, one of the world’s most prestigious industry prizes. The JL1 is the world’s first intelligent gripping module for human/robot collaboration that directly interacts and communicates with humans. Among experts it is considered a milestone in the field of HRC grippers, due to its sensoric aura. It was developed with the guiding principle of Industry 4.0 in mind and features a decentralized control architecture, which was designed according to the RAMI 4.0 guidelines. Like no other gripping module it uses its exposed position “closest to the part” and “closest to the human” to achieve maximum efficiency and functionality in human/robot collaboration.
Grippers perform handling, condition monitoring, and process management
SCHUNK also demonstrated the future of smart production processes with a depanelling machine for PCB production. Without the use of external sensors, intelligent SCHUNK EGL grippers perform smart gripping tasks, from handling to component measuring and identification, and even an integrated quality check. All process data is converted at the level of the gripping modules into immediately usable information, which is then made available by means of a single interface both for inline process control within the system and for data analytics in cloud solutions to ensure short-, medium-, and long-term process optimization.