Robotics startup Exotec raises $3.5 million to help warehouses pack and dispatch goods using mini robots

Paul Sawers for Venture Beat:  A French robotics startup has raised €3.3 million ($3.5 million) to build and grow a fleet of mobile robots that help warehouses prepare orders for delivery.

The company was founded in 2015 by former GE Healthcare software architect Renaud Heitz and BA Systèmes technical director Romain Moulin,  and Exotec Solutions (“Exotec”) robots have already been tested across a number of industries. With $3.5 million more in its coffers, the company expects to launch its first robot — called Exo — into the wild in early 2017. The most recent round was raised from 360 Capital Partners, Breega Capital, and a handful of its existing investors.

The miniature robots are being targeted at any logistics operator that relies on humans to traverse large warehouses picking items off shelves, and it promises to cut employees’ average daily distance covered from 15km to 4km per day and to “[double] the productivity” of each worker. The robots are controlled by what the company calls a “centralized intelligence system,” which liaises between the humans and the robots on the ground.  Cont'd...

Meet the robot whisperer who trains "big, monstrous, industrial robots" to follow her every command

Charlotte Whistlecroft for DigitalSpy:  If you think you're happy with your job, Madeline Gannon will definitely make you question your life, as this woman has managed to train giant robots to do things for her.

Nope, we're not joking - the founder of the Madlab Research Studio created "big, monstrous, industrial robots" and then tamed then, and she even has a nickname to prove it: The Robot Whisperer.

Which is all pretty impressive, if not terrifying, stuff.

Speaking at the WIRED Next Generation event in London, Madeline passed on her robot-taming skills to the audience of 12-18 year olds and shared her passion for turning 6-foot-tall factory line robots into tools any human can communicate with.  Cont'd...

Dual Check Safety Improves Stop Position Prediction

The process of having employees work alongside robots is constantly improving. While this change may seem to be a small change, it does give more space for actual collaboration.

RR Floody's Powerful New Flexible Feeder System Pairs Mitsubishi Electric Robot and Cognex Vision System

With manufacturers more and more concerned about being able to change product and component mix on the fly, they are demanding a more flexible feeder bowl solution that allows for changing component recognition without expensive and time-consuming retooling of the system every time.

Mobility for Robots

IPR's Robot Transport Units (RTU) Increase Both the Action Radius of Robots and the Productivity of Loading Stations

Brushless Motors: What's the Big Difference?

The electronic switching of currents to the coils of the BLDC motor is more efficient than the mechanical switching of the DC motor.

RoboBusiness 2016: Our Takeaways

Just like at Automatica last summer, it almost felt as if the robotics event was morphing into an IT event. So much so that Michael Loughlin of nelmia Robotics Insight joked that it looked like manufacturers forgot that their job is actually to build stuff.

Is a Robot After Your Job?

Robots may be after your job, but you could be their boss.

Vision-guided Collaborative Robots Deliver Fast Return on Investment in Production of Firehose Valves

The Universal Robot is so simple and non-intimidating that our programmers were already in the mindset of I don't need any guidance, I can do this on my own. It was almost like a PlayStation video game where they could pick up the controller and figure it out without reading the rules to the game.

Foxconn reaches 40,000 robots of original 1 million robot automation goal

From Next Big Future:  In 2011, Foxconn had announced a plan to replace 500,000 mainland Chinese workers with 1 million robots over the next 3-5 years. 
Foxconn is the company that builds Apple's iPhone and iPad hardware and many of the android smartphones as well.
Foxconn, has so far installed 40,000 production robots across China as it looks to minimize the number of people it employs.
With the exception of some components like servo motors and speed reducers, the robots are being built entirely in-house, Foxconn's Dai Chia-peng told Taiwan's Central News Agency, as quoted by DigiTimes. It's unclear how many of the so-called "Foxbots" are being used to manufacture Apple products.
The machines are, however, said to be operating an industrial facility in Zhengzhou, a tablet plant in Chengdu, and computer/peripherals plants in Kunshan and Jiashan.   Cont'd...

Mobile Cobots are Coming

A mobile cobot (mobile collaborative robot) is an intelligent, transportable robot that will assist humans in a shared workspace.

Special Tradeshow Coverage for FABTECH

FABTECH will be held from November 16th - 18th in Las Vegas, Nevada. This RoboticsTomorrow.com Special Tradeshow report aims to bring you news, articles and products from this years event.

The Real Cost of Robotics

Realize that the arm is but a tiny part in the long list of equipment that had to be provisioned, installed, and configured in the name of your automation project.

Japanese Robotics Giant Gives Its Arms Some Brains

Will Knight for MIT Technology Review:  The big, dumb, monotonous industrial robots found in many factories could soon be quite a bit smarter, thanks to the introduction of machine-learning skills that are moving out of research labs at a fast pace. Fanuc, one of the world’s largest makers of industrial robots, announced that it will work with Nvidia, a Silicon Valley chipmaker that specializes in artificial intelligence, to add learning capabilities to its products.

The deal is important because it shows how recent advances in AI are poised to overhaul the manufacturing industry. Today’s industrial bots are typically programmed to do a single job very precisely and accurately. But each time a production run changes, the robots then need to be reprogrammed from scratch, which takes time and technical expertise.  Cont'd...

Google Canceled the Launch of a Robotic Arm After it Failed the 'Toothbrush Test'

Mark Bergen for Bloomberg:  Google published research this week detailing how its software enables robots to learn from one another. To demonstrate, the company’s scientists showed videos featuring robotic arms whirling inside its labs.

Google’s robotics group built those machines and wanted to sell them to manufacturers, warehouse operators and others. However, executives at Google parent Alphabet Inc. nixed the plan because it failed Chief Executive Officer Larry Page’s "toothbrush test," a requirement that the company only ship products used daily by billions of people, according to people familiar with the situation.  Cont'd...

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Factory Automation - Featured Product

Allied Motion - New MFH170i Housed Brushless Torque Motor Has Integrated Servo Drive and Optical Encoder

Allied Motion - New MFH170i Housed Brushless Torque Motor Has Integrated Servo Drive and Optical Encoder

Allied Motion's Megaflux MFH170i series of 170 mm (6.7 in) diameter housed brushless torque motors consists of a high performance brushless DC torque motor, a digital servo drive, and an optical encoder, all integrated into a rugged machined aluminum housing with robust duplex bearings. The MFH0170i series features a 63.5 mm (2.5 in) large-bore through shaft, and is characterized by a very high torque-to-inertia ratio. There are three stack lengths in the series with peak torque ranging from 8.5 up to 16.9 Nm (75 up to 150 lb-in). The standard winding voltage is 48 V. And to ease the hassle of long leadtimes for prototypes, the new MFH170i is now available through our QuickShip program.