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What Knocked Our Socks Off Today @Automatica

Alex Owen-Hill
by Alex Owen-Hill.
Posted on Jun 21, 2016 1:02 PM. 4 min read time

Our first day at Automatica 2016 is over! Our booth has had a lot of visitors and there has been loads of great interest from attendees. Here are some of the things from the trade fair that knocked our socks off on June 21. We've got big robots, big changes and big TV screens showing football. 

Here at Robotiq, we've had a busy day today, but we've had a great start to our week in Automatica.. We started the day by announcing our brand new Robotiq Camera, then gave our blog readers an exclusive virtual tour of the Robotiq booth, followed by a joint press conference with Universal Robots.

For the rest of the day, we've either been in the Robotiq booth, or we've been walking around Automatica to visit events or look at other booths. Here are a couple of things that caught our attention today.

Comau's Big Robots and Big Changes

One thing that really impressed us today was the Comau Press Conference. In the event calendar they talked about "The New Era of Comau", which looked intriguing. For those of you who are not so familiar with Comau, they are an Italy-based robotics company which specializes in welding robots. They began in 1970s in car manufacturing, then introduced laser robots in the 1980s, and have continued to grow since then. They have mostly been focused in the automotive industry, but from what we've seen today it seems that may change.


Big_cobots_for_cars.jpgWhen we arrived at noon, their booth was all covered up with plastic. A big sign read "@12.15 Comau's newest robots". At 12:30m, the curtain was pulled back to reveal…


.. an impressively huge collaborative robot! The AURA robot has a massive 60kg payload capacity, by far the highest for any current collaborative robot.

In his presentation, Comau's CEO Mauro Fenzi, talked about the future of Comau. The company is 40 years old, he said "and getting younger and younger."

Robots with a Rebellious Soul

They demonstrated the company's "young soul" with their latest robot range, the Rebel-S. These SCARA robots were described as having "a rebellious soul."

Fenzi expressed Comau's desire to move out of the automotive industry, which the Rebel-S would allow them to do. The robots have 6kg payload and between 450 - 750 mm reach. They have a lots of mounting options and kits for changing the reach.

"They are speed precision inside a good sexy body." said Comau's sales rep, letting the company's Italian passion shine through.

They also presented their Industry 4.0 "Factory of the Future," touching again on this year's theme for Automatica 2016.

Serious Safety Sensing

"Think Outside the Fence" was Comau's motto this year. This was most demonstrated by the AURA. The robots are huge and powerful, they said, but they are safe.


Because of this, they put a strong emphasis on safety features, including vision, soft skin covers, proximity sensing and laser scanners. Of course, with a robot of 60kg payload, you have to have to be able to trust the safety tech!

Coffee_robot.jpgFinally, they announced their new Racer 5 robots. These 6-axis manipulators have a 5kg payload and reach of 630mm or 809mm, depending on the model. One was set up for a coffee-serving demo with a humanoid.

We wanted to get you a video of it in action, but there was an unfortunate case of Vorführeffekt (a German word meaning "demo effect" that refers to the fact that something will always go wrong in a live demo) so it wasn't working. Oh well, these things happen in a robotics show.

Daft Punk Makes Fruity Cosmetics (Not Ice Cream)

Remember that mysterious "Daft Punk" robot that we saw sleeping yesterday? Well, we went back to the stall today. It turns out it was making cosmetics! (not ice cream as I had guessed). Here's a video of it in action.



Relaxing With a German Beer and Football

Finally, after such a busy day we relaxed with a well-earned German beer with some of our friends in the UR booth. Then we joined some other attendees to watch the Northern Ireland vs Germany soccer match in Euro 2016. 


All in all, a successful day I think! Roll on tomorrow!

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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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