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Automation & Control

Mitsubishi's Dexterous Robots for Factory Automation

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Greg M. Jung
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Improvements
Greg M. Jung   3/28/2013 2:52:50 PM
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From the above article it seems that the manufacturing segment has a need for increased speed, lifting capacity, service life and robot to robot coordination (all of which improve productivity and profitability).

With wages in some low-cost regions like China now creeping upwards, I wonder if there will be a slight sales increase in robotics due to some manufacturers now investing in the replacement of human workers with robots.

Charles Murray
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Re: Improvements
Charles Murray   3/28/2013 7:15:16 PM
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Yet another task that can be performed more effectively by a robot. The one feature that probably can't be seen here is the speed. While attending Pack Expo last year, I was amazed by the speed of the robots, which often did tasks that had previously been reserved for humans.  

jmiller
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Re: Improvements
jmiller   3/31/2013 12:18:41 PM
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Along with the speed comes that repeatability that can deliver quality if the machine is set up properly.  that type of repeatability is something that humans just can't deliver.    However, humans will always be able to adapt and that is something that computers can struggle with.  Without sensors or some type of way for the computer to sense how the parts are positioned it will perform the task the same each and every time irregardless of how the part is positioned.  For the American worker I think developements like these stress the importance of furthering ones education and being able to adapt to an environment where repairing, operating and programming robots is a more required job skill than assembling parts.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Improvements
Ann R. Thryft   4/1/2013 5:42:09 PM
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I saw ABB's robots in action at MD&M West and co-located shows recently, and Chuck is right, these things are very fast. But it's a bit of a stretch to call industrial robots dexterous, at least compared to the humanoid hands in our recent slideshow:
http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1386&doc_id=260644

Elizabeth M
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Re: Improvements
Elizabeth M   4/2/2013 6:32:29 AM
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Well, it probably is a bit of a stretch, Ann, but industrial robots are doing more and more. Of course they will never rival humanoid robots for their ability to perform tasks like humans would. I do think the use of robots, especially in automation, is on the rise; I believe recent analyst reports have even pointed to this fact.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Improvements
Ann R. Thryft   4/2/2013 12:06:47 PM
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I think the use of the term "dexterous" for these robots is a relative one. It's been used by the manufacturers for some time, but that was before the new generation of robot hands we look at in that recent slideshow.
And yes, the use of industrial robots is definitely increasing, as we wrote about recently:
http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1386&doc_id=258342

Elizabeth M
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Re: Improvements
Elizabeth M   4/3/2013 3:45:04 AM
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Yes, as technology improves, all terms get a bit relative, don't they, Ann? And some day the level of dexterity in even humanoid robots will be greatly surpassed by the latest and greatest. The industry I'm sure will come up with an even newer term for them. :)

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Improvements
Ann R. Thryft   4/3/2013 12:56:59 PM
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I was used to the industry's term "dexterous" being used for the industrial robot arms until I did the research for the humanoid hand slideshow. That's when I realized what a huge gap there is between the two approaches.



Elizabeth M
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Re: Improvements
Elizabeth M   4/8/2013 9:57:29 AM
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Thanks for this perspective on the term, Ann. I'll be careful in making the distinction in future stories now.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Improvements
Ann R. Thryft   4/8/2013 11:49:15 AM
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Well, it's tough for the reporter when an entire industry uses a term that's losing its context. For example, I remember when ASIC manufacturers came up with the terms LSI (large system integration), and then VLSI (very large system integration) to describe complexity levels of early ASICs. Worse, these absurd terms were used during a time of rapid change, so even if they did had a precise meaning they became quickly outdated.

jmiller
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Re: Improvements
jmiller   3/31/2013 12:10:01 PM
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I think not only will the cost of production in China going up cause a boost in robotics, but the quality of production from low cost countries it atrousious (sp?).  If it comes from China it will be in the trash sooner than later.  One thing I believe most manufacturers are starting to come to grips with is you have to manage the quality of anything coming from a low cost country.  And in order to do that properly you often have to spend more money in the states than you saved by going over seas.  It's too bad the accounting and upper management world can't see that.

naperlou
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Re: Improvements
naperlou   3/31/2013 10:08:23 PM
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What is really interesting to me, along these lines, is the robot to robot applications.  These seem really futuristic.

Elizabeth M
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Re: Improvements
Elizabeth M   4/2/2013 6:40:15 AM
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Can you describe a bit more what you mean, naperlou? Maybe elaborate in terms of "robot to robot" applications?

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