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Dramatic New Products & Dangerous Demos @ RUC2019

Alex Owen-Hill
by Alex Owen-Hill. Last updated on Sep 18, 2019 9:53 AM
Posted on Sep 04, 2019 5:29 PM. 7 min read time

We made some huge product launches this morning at RUC. Jean-Philippe Jobin made the announcements… in a rather dramatic way.

Well, I can safely say that Robotiq's CTO Jean-Philippe Jobin surpassed himself this year in terms of performing an entertaining and dangerous tech demo!

At last year's RUC, he called his on-stage demo "dangerous" because it involved relying on a live network-connection.

This year… the demo involved one daring audience member, flying projectiles, and a lethal weapon (well… a plastic baseball bat).

But, before I tell you about this amazing demo (and show you a video of it) let's set the scene…

Jean-Philippe announces a lot of new products!

It was 11:10 am. The crowd was coming back to their seats, finishing up their coffee's after the break.

Robotiq's CTO Jean-Philippe Jobin stood center stage, looking very stylish in his white shirt and black bow-tie.

“Come on!" he called to the stragglers. "Come on! Chop chop! You’re late.”

There was no time to mess around! He had a lot of things to tell us! This year, we are launching a huge number of new additions here at the Robotiq User Conference.

In fact, we're launching 7 brand new products and resources!!

There are so many new things that Jean-Philippe had brought along a prop to help him out — a large metal gong.


"I know some of you are jetlagged now and I know you are sleepy," he announced.

He gave the gong to an audience member.

"Each time you see the NEW logo on the screen, you stand up and bang the gong. Give it a try."

The audience member gave it a try. A big GONNNG noise sounded throughout the hall.

We were ready to hear the new announcements!

3 New Robotiq resources to improve your learning

At Robotiq, Jean-Philippe explained, we believe that it is important for people to know more about robotics.

We already offer several resources to aid learning, including DoF, the Lean Robotics book, and this RUC event that we're at right now. But, we're about to offer a whole lot more.

1. Lean Robotics — the audiobook

GONNNG! New thing number 1.

The Lean Robotics book has already been more successful than we could ever have imagined. Who knew it would be so impactful that a quote from it would earn a place on one of Fusion OEM's restroom mirrors!?

But, we wanted to make it even easier to consume the knowledge within the book. That's why we have made an audiobook version!

The audiobook of Lean Robotics will be available on Audible within the next few days.

2. Robotiq Product Configurator

GONNNG! New thing number 2

As our experts discussed this morning, it can be difficult to know which cobot products you should choose for your application. Our new Product Configurator is a tool which tackles that problem head-on. It will continue to grow and develop in functionality, becoming an indispensable tool in the cobot-users toolbox.

Here's the Configurator from our #RUC2019 social wall 

You can try out the Product Configurator here right now.

3. Robotiq eLearning platform

GONNNG! New thing number 3

"The third tool," said Jean-Philippe "and from my perspective, the most amazing, important one, is an eLearning platform."

Our cobot experts (or "ninjas" as they're called here at RUC) have made tutorials, courses, and lessons to teach you about all aspects of cobots. And they are not just lessons about Robotiq products, they are also about how to get started with specific applications.

If you can think of any topics you'd like us to add to this platform, just ask us. Together, we can make it the most amazing cobot learning resource!

You can check out the eLearning platform here right now.

4 New application products and updates for easy deployment

As Carlos Han from Smith & Nephew said this morning "You guys at Robotiq make it simple."

We do try to make things simple here at Robotiq. A new way that we have started doing that is to release products that specifically target cobot applications. Earlier this year, we released the Sanding Kit.

Here at RUC we're launching 4 new products and updates targeted at specific cobot applications.

1. Machine Tending Kit

GONNNG! New thing number 4

"It's no secret," began Jean-Philippe, "that machine tending is one of the most popular applications for cobots, and for our products. We are proud to announce a new CNC Machine Tending Kit."

The Machine Tending Kit comes with a Dual Hand-E gripper, fingertip extenders, a new Machine Tending Copilot software, and an optional Wrist Camera if it is beneficial to the task.

2. External Tool Finishing Kit

GONNNG! New thing number 5

The next kit is related to our existing Sanding Kit, which is a "process to part" type finishing process, suited to large workpieces. In contrast, the new External Tool Finishing Kit is suited to "part to process" finishing and small workpieces.

Our #RUC2019 social media wall users were impressed by this one:

The kit includes the Hand-E gripper (perfect for dusty environments) and Finishing Copilot.

3. Finishing Copilot Update

GONNNG! New thing number 6

The next is an update to our existing Finishing Kit (the Sanding Kit). It really blows open the abilities of the kit.

The update includes:

  • Path generator for spherical shapes — This makes it possible to finish almost any shape of workpiece with the kit.
  • Contact offset — This allows the robot to touch a few points on the surface of the workpiece to locate the part in space and adjust the entire finishing program to suit its location.

4. Wrist Camera URCap

GONNNG! Finally, new thing number 6

This update to the Wrist Camera software is not linked to a specific application exactly, but it will make several cobot applications much easier.

The new update includes:

  • Visual offset — Much like the contact offset in the Finishing Copilot update, this allows you to use "tag" stickers (a bit like QR codes) to locate objects quickly in space. Instead of learning the shape of the object, you can place the tag onto the surface. The robot will then automatically adjust its whole program to align with the object.
  • Barcode reading and image saving — This allows the Wrist Camera to read and get information from 1D and 2D barcodes, unlocking the possibility of in-process Quality Assurance and traceability.

These 4 products and updates are available for pre-order now and will begin shipping on the 27th of September.

About that dangerous demo…

Behind Jean-Philippe on the stage, a UR robot had been sitting silently.

Those of us who have seen his presentations before knew what this meant… a live demo!

First, he reminded us about the new EPick and AirPick vacuum grippers that we launched earlier this year. The attendees will be getting their hands on these grippers during the practical sessions that take up the rest of the RUC.

Jean-Philippe was going to be demonstrating something about these new grippers. We didn't know what. 

"We’ll now take a break, to do a live demonstration," he announced. "You'll like that because it's dangerous… and this one is very dangerous…"

"… so I need a volunteer."

Steven, from Sennheiser New Mexico, bravely took to the stage.

"Don't worry." Jean-Philippe reassured the audience. "It's not dangerous for us. It's only dangerous for Steven"

He handed Steven a plastic baseball bat.


In the audience, we were all told to hold up our hands. We didn't want to get hit by flying projectiles. 

The demo went like this:

  1. Jean-Philippe passed a ball to the cobot, which was kitted out with an EPick gripper.
  2. The robot swung quickly and threw the ball towards Steven.
  3. Steven hit the ball with the bat and it flew out into the audience, as the robot swung back to receive another ball.
  4. And repeat

The impressive speed that balls were flying across the room demonstrated exactly what Jean-Philippe was planning to show— the vacuum gripper is very quick!

It showed up on social media wall at #RUC2019 too:

When we all got up to go to lunch, we had to be careful of the balls rolling around everywhere.

And we needed to conserve our energy… because we were getting hands-on in the afternoon sessions!

Keep updated at #RUC2019

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Alex Owen-Hill
Written by Alex Owen-Hill
Alex Owen-Hill is a freelance writer and public speaker who blogs about a large range of topics, including science, presentation skills at, storytelling and (of course) robotics. He completed a PhD in Telerobotics from Universidad Politecnica de Madrid as part of the PURESAFE project, in collaboration with CERN. As a recovering academic, he maintains a firm foot in the robotics world by blogging about industrial robotics.
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