Strategic alliance in the world of collaborative robots

12th June 2018
Alex Lynn

A strategic alliance in the world of collaborative robots has been formed as Omron announced that they have signed an agreement with Techman Robot. Through this alliance, Omron will market and sell Techman’s TM series of collaborative robots via Omron’s distribution network under a co-branded logo, starting in the second half of FY2018.

Furthermore, Omron and Techman will cooperate in developing the next generation of collaborative robots that will be easier to integrate with Omron’s other factory automation products in order to realise an innovative manufacturing environment where humans and machines work in harmony.

Factories worldwide are facing challenges in having to manufacture a high mix low volume of products to meet their customer demands and shorter product life cycles, while dealing with labour shortage issues. Manufacturing companies must maintain flexibility in quick changeovers and production line layout changes. Collaborative robots that can work safely in the same environment with people have an important role in enabling this kind of ‘flexible manufacturing’.

In addition to the regular TM series of collaborative robots, Omron will start selling the new models which are ‘mobile compatible’, meaning that they can be easily integrated with Omron’s LD mobile robots. Omron’s mobile robots, which can move autonomously, avoiding people and obstacles, already work safely with humans by automating material handling operations. Mounted with a collaborative robot arm on top, they can transport material from one location to another, but will as well as being able to perform tasks, such as the picking and placing of parts onto trays.

“Since the acquisition of Adept Technology in 2015, Omron has been putting great resources in the development of the robotics technologies and market,” said Seigo Kinugawa, Executive Officer and Senior General Manager of the Robotics Business Development Project at Omron’s Industrial Automation Company, adding, “The alliance with Techman is aimed to advance the collaboration between humans and robots in manufacturing environments. Omron’s entry into the collaborative arm robot market, in addition to the mobile robot market, will accelerate Omron’s ‘innovative-Automation!’ initiative, the goal of which is to bring innovation to the factories through the collaboration of humans and machines.”

“TM robots are smart, simple to use and safe,” said Ho Shi-Chi, Chairman of Techman Robot. “We endeavour to improve the life of humans based on innovation and our alliance with Omron will help us move a big step toward that goal.”

The TM robots have the following features that stand out in this new field of human-robot collaboration:

Smart: The TM robots have a built-in intelligent vision system that can be used for pattern recognition, object positioning and barcode identification.

Simple: A complete pick and place application using vision can be taught in five minutes with its all-graphic, flow-based user interface, TMflow.

Safe: The TM robots comply with the safety requirements for collaboration of humans and robots as specified in ISO 10218-1 and ISO/TS 15066.

The TM robots include two series: TM5 (with a payload of up to 6kg) and the new TM12/TM14 (with a payload up to 14kg). All TM robots have six degrees of freedom and a reach range of 700-1300mm. The robot’s repeatability is ±0.05mm for the TM5 series and ±0.1mm for the TM12/TM14 series.

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