Hannover Messe 2017 Germany: And the winner is ... Flex-Structures
The winner of the Robotics Award 2017, a joint prize awarded by the organisers of the Hannover Messe and Konradin-Verlag, is Flex-Structures GmbH, a company founded in 2011 – a year after the first of this award was presented.
At the official ceremony held at the fair, Flex-Structures CEO Oliver Hermanns received the prize for the company’s IPS robot optimisation software solution. Second place was presented to Mayser GmbH and Eta-Opt GmbH was placed third.
Every year, the jury picks the top innovation from an array of advanced solutions for applications in robot-assisted industrial automation or mobile robots and autonomous systems. One prerequisite is that submissions must not yet be presented to the public or they need to have a significant enhancement over existing solutions. And, they must be market-ready or already deployed in real-world industrial trials. Other criteria are economic and technological potential as well as industrial and social benefits.
The winning entry, the IPS robot optimisation software solution, illustrates the vast potential of advanced simulation technology for industrial use. It is targeted primarily at helping automotive manufacturers to gain a competitive edge by programming and commissioning their robot cells faster and more flexibly. By simulating millions of potential robot path combinations, the software solution coordinates movement paths and sequences across multiple robots to maximise efficiency and avoid collisions. The simulations also optimise movement paths to ensure maximum service life for the flexible hoses and lines attached to the robots.
Mayser GmbH's award was for its ultrasonic machine safety sensor system designed to safeguard personnel in collaborative human/robot environments. The product has been tested and certified for personnel safety applications in machine environments. The ultrasonic sensors generate an elliptical ultrasonic field that can accurately gauge distances of up to 200 cm and issue warnings by detecting persons or objects at distances of up to 250 cm. The product can thus be used for cobot tool and workpiece safety, and for protecting people from sharp or rotating objects.
Third place was presented to Eta-Opt GmbH for its vacuum generator for industrial robotic handling applications. The device doesn’t require any compressed air system but uses a bellows vacuum pump instead. A piston driven by an electromechanical linear actuator compresses and releases a bellows, which is connected to a hose. The other end of the hose can be connected to any standard vacuum gripper attachment. When the bellows is released, it generates a vacuum inside the hose and all the way down to the gripper.
This article was first published on ETMM online.