By Sam Byford for The Verge: Nearly half the jobs in Japan could be performed by robots in a decade or two, according to a recent study by Nomura Research Institute. If that's the case, then the International Robot Exhibition — IREX for short — is going to be the best place possible to get a glimpse of Japan's future.
Held in Tokyo once every two years since 1973, IREX is the biggest robot show in the world, and it features everything from cute communication bots to immensely powerful industrial machinery. Companies like Fanuc, which makes robot factory equipment used by Apple and Tesla but generally stays out of the spotlight, take center stage at IREX to demonstrate how effortlessly their articulated arms can pick up entire cars.
It's a show where online video companies' dancing idol robots rub shoulders with government-sponsored androids designed to save lives in natural disasters. As you might imagine, it's quite the place to walk around. Cont'd...
In order to interact with their environment and perform the tasks, lightweight robots, like all industrial robots, depend on tools - and in many cases these are vacuum grippers. These form the interface to the workpiece and are therefore a decisive part of the overall system. With their help, the robots can pick up, move, position, process, sort, stack and deposit a wide variety of goods and components. Vacuum gripping systems allow particularly gentle handling of workpieces, a compact and space-saving system design and gripping from above. Precisely because the object does not have to be gripped, the vacuum suction cupenables gapless positioning next to each other.