The Breakthrough of the Smart Robots

AUTOMATICA will show in Munich from June 21 to 24, 2016 how the automation industry is facing the challenge of this new technology.

Robots have left their protective cage. They now work closely with the people. Regardless of whether mining or agriculture, construction, forestry or cargo handling, whether in soil or underwater, in the air or in space: service robots relieve people not only of dangerous work, but they also provide better quality of life. AUTOMATICA will show in Munich from June 21 to 24, 2016 how the automation industry is facing the challenge of this new technology.


A boy rushes through the corridors, open cabinets, pulls out clothes, rips open the fridge and gets a drink: an unusual sight for paraplegics. However, JACO makes it possible: The six-axis robot arm with his nifty three-finger hand takes over everyday tasks and gives back a bit of independence.

Clever, lightweight robot arms are also faithful helpers in production, especially where the high productivity of a robot can be combined with the sensory and cognitive capabilities of people. They relieve people of monotonous or heavy work and consequently ensure better health and quality of life. This concerns a technological evolution: "The borders between industrial and service robotics are merging," Wilfried Eberhardt, Chief Marketing Officer of KUKA AG, stated. Smart robots belong to the factory of the future in this context. "A technology transfer is taking place, which opens up new application possibilities," Mr. Eberhardt continued.

Regardless of whether the LBR iiwa from KUKA, YuMi from ABB robotics or the service robots from PAL Robotics and Rethink Robotics, conventional industrial robots manufacturers as well as service robotics companies and new players in the market provide marketable solutions for the interaction between humans and robots.

Service Robotics in the Core of Industry 4.0

The fourth industrial revolution has begun with a networked production world that can react flexibly and fully automated to changing needs. Robots, which are mobile and collaborate with people, are indispensable in this. Industry 4.0 and the resulting applications are a chance to establish Europe as a technology leader and pioneer. An important milestone here is human-robot collaboration that ensures workplace ergonomics and better working conditions. Service robotics applications can help to master the challenges of an aging society.

When humans and robots work together directly

Intelligent service robots have become part of everyday life. They assume complex tasks, which could not be automated previously, with high precision and high quality. They can be programmed and are capable of learning. As a result, they are used in very different projects, which increases productivity. Thanks to stereo vision and 3D sensors, robots can scan their environment and consequently make elaborate security barriers superfluous. Connected to the environment via sensors and actuators, robots become cyber-physical systems (CPS), which are being networked increasingly with each other and with the Internet. The Internet of Things (IoT) will network all devices and robots of an automated production chain regardless of location in the future.

Lucrative future potential for Europe

According to the International Federation of Robotics (IFR), the market for professional service robotics will continue to grow tremendously. About 150,000 units are expected to be sold by 2018, thereby providing sales of approx. 20 billion US dollars. The growth rate in this area was a solid 11.5% last year alone. The most important applications in the civilian sector are agriculture, logistics and medicine. Henrik A. Schunk, Managing Director of SCHUNK, stated it succinctly: "Service robotics is in the middle of implementation. It has the potential to drive the Industrial Revolution forward to an incredible degree. "

AUTOMATICA 2016 will present the latest developments at the interface between industrial and professional service robotics. The human-robot collaboration and technological synergies between industrial and service robotics are the focus.

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