Competitive advantage due to sense of touch

Competitive advantage due to sense of touch

The use of haptic sensors for industrial robots immediately offers several essential competitive advantages. Thanks to the extended potential for automation, they ensure increased efficiency in production and also improve performance in processes that are already automated. The provider OptoForce also offers a comprehensive software package with preprogrammed standard industrial applications – this immensely shortens and simplifies integration time and allows users to profit quickly.

 

For a manufacturing company, six-axis force/torque sensors therefore offer an opportunity to remain competitive on the global scale while also making lot sizes of even 1 cost-effective.

 

In a global world, production companies are no longer simply in local competition. The pressure to find the optimum price/performance ratio is correspondingly rising. In Germany, an entirely different trend is making this increasingly difficult:

  • rising labor costs and a
  • shortage of technicians.

 

Large companies move simple production steps to countries with lower labor costs, but according to a recent study by the Institute for Labor Market and Career Research (IAB), small and midsized companies are attempting with increasing frequently to keep their technical workforce for longer with flexible pensions.

 

But neither model can be a truly long-term solution for the German economy, which actually wants to move towards the future with vision and strategy.

Automation of precision tasks – an opportunity for midsized companies

The actually rather advanced level of automation of simple work steps that already exists in Germany today is a step in the right direction. It opens up an opportunity in the world market for midsized companies and offers commercial groups an attractive alternative to moving production facilities to low-cost countries. For precision tasks, however, the sensitive touch of the human hand has long been essential.

Problematic when that is exactly what’s in short supply.

At the same time, production environments, on the way to lot sizes of 1, are becoming increasingly less standardized and requires more adaptable and more intelligent robotic systems.

Force/torque sensors close this gap, because they give industrial robots a sense of touch. Robotic arms equipped with haptic sensors are capable of perceiving the slightest resistance. That means that robots are no longer limited to movement between preprogrammed points, but can adapt to their environment in real time instead.

Efficient economics at lot sizes of 1 thanks to adaptable technology

An example: If a packaging application required standardized products of exactly the same size to be placed into an equally standardized carton then it is enough to preprogram the corresponding positions and movements into the robot, which then carries out the exact same sequence again and again. This changes drastically when the task is no longer to package standardized products but rather those of customized sizes – which is increasingly the case.

This cannot be done with preprogrammed positions.

The precision force measurement of OptoForce sensors, however, perceives even the slightest of resistance in each work step, thus permitting the precise adaptation of robot movements in real time – making industrial robots ready for lot size 1.

 

For companies, this is one way to react to increasing demands without significant added costs.

 

Sensors make it possible to use industrial robots for work steps for which the sensitivity of human hands has always been essential, helping companies to increase their efficiency and productivity even in these areas – a central factor in future readiness for both global and local competition.

 

Better performance even in already automated processes

Six-axis force/torque sensors, however, don’t simply contribute to expanding automation possibilities, but also help to improve performance in processes that are already automated. A robotic arm navigating rigidly between predetermined waypoints is incapable of detecting and reacting appropriately to any irregularities in the workpiece or in the surface to be processed. It always performs the same movement, no matter what.

 

The result can be manufacturing errors which persist throughout the rest of the value creation chain – until the end customer complains about the product. In the worst case, there could even be production downtime, a disproportionately costly situation for any company and one that should be avoided at any cost.

 

These scenarios can be nipped in the bud using OptoForce HEX-E and HEX-H haptic sensors, preventing costly complaint loops.

 

Shorter integration time for robotic systems

As with any other manufacturing technology, one factor that is always of central importance in the introduction of a robotic system is integration time. In addition to price and the increased efficiency achieved, this is a deciding factor in ROI (return on investment) and therefore for the business success the company can obtain using the technology.

 

The more adaptable and flexible a robotic system is, the more easily it can be integrated and the faster it can be refinanced and thereafter earn profits. Moreover, the sense of touch obtained using six-axis force/torque sensors represents a significant gain in adaptability for robotic systems – which means that more production lines can be automated in the same time. The price of the sensors is usually not an issue in comparison with the benefits obtained.

 

The force/torque sensors from OptoForce also come with a preinstalled software package. It contains a variety of standard industrial applications oriented towards the requirements of the market. Examples are finished applications like:

  • Inserting plug connectors
  • Polishing applications or
  • Palletization.

This extensive software package significantly reduces the time that end users and system integrators need to spend on programming a robotic system.

 

The applications are ready to operate within just 15 minutes. Extensive programming knowledge is unnecessary and the amortization time is further reduced.

Privacy Policy for processing and protecting personal data

This data protection policy applies to OnRobot.

The purpose of the policy is to ensure and document that OnRobot protects personal data in accordance with the rules for processing of personal data. The policy will also contribute to OnRobot providing information about its processing and use of registered personal data.

The policy will be reviewed each year.

Record of the processing of personal data

OnRobot processes personal data about:

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  • Suppliers

  • Applicants

OnRobot has prepared a record of the processing of personal data. The record provides an overview of the processing for which OnRobot is responsible.

The personal data must be provided in order for OnRobot to enter into employment, customer and supplier contracts.

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Personal data are processed and archived in connection with:

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Processing is legal by the authority specified in the appended record.

OnRobot does not use the personal data for purposes other than those listed. OnRobot does not collect more personal data than necessary to meet the purpose. 

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OnRobot has introduced the following overall guidelines for storage and erasure of personal data:

  • Personal data are stored in physical folders.

  • Personal data are stored in IT systems and on server drives.

  • Personal data are not stored for longer than necessary to meet the purpose of the processing.

  • Personal data for employees are erased five years after employment has ended, and personal data about applicants are erased after six months.

Data security

Based on the appended risk assessment, OnRobot has implemented security measures to protect personal data:

  • Only employees with a work-related need to access the registered personal data have access to the data, either physically or via IT systems with rights management.

  • All computers are password protected and employees may not disclose their passwords to others.

  • Computers must have firewall and antivirus software installed, which must be updated regularly.

  • Personal data are erased securely in connection with phasing-out and repair of IT equipment.

  • USB flash drives, external hard disks, etc. containing personal data must be stored in a locked drawer or cabinet.

  • Physical folders are placed in a locked office or in locked cabinets.

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  • The Personal Data Regulation allows you to treat personal data only legally for the purpose for which they have been collected. If you want to use data for purposes other than the original, you must always have the consent of the registrant.

  • Upon receipt of a business card from a customer you have his consent. If you write his information you need his signature on this paper to have a formal requirement for consent if you want to use his information. Then the customer allows OnRobot to use his data for purposes other than communication, upcoming promotions, product updates or further news including upcoming promotions, product updates and further news.

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Personal data about employees may be disclosed to public authorities such as the Danish Customs and Tax Administration and pension companies.

Processors

OnRobot only uses processors if they are able to provide the required guarantees that they will implement appropriate technical and organisational security measures to comply with personal data law. All processors must sign a processor agreement before processing commences.

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OnRobot safeguards the rights of data subjects, including the right to access, withdrawal of consent, rectification and erasure and will inform the data subjects of OnRobot’s processing of personal data. Data subjects are also entitled to appeal to the Danish Data Protection Agency.

Personal data breach

In case of personal data breach, OnRobot will report the breach to the Danish Data Protection Agency as soon as possible and within 72 hours. The manager is responsible for this reporting taking place. The report will outline the breach, the groups of persons affected and the impact the breach may have on these persons and how OnRobot has remedied or intends to remedy the breach. If the breach entails a high risk for the persons about whom OnRobot processes personal data, OnRobot will also notify these persons. OnRobot s will document any personal data breach on an access-controlled drive.

Erasure of data

The customer should assess when personal data need to be erased by asking the question:

When is it no longer necessary to store the personal data?

OnRobot follows the practice of the Danish Data Protection Agency:

Applications Are erased after 6 months in connection with job interviews. Unsolicited applications are erased immediately.
Employee data Are erased 5 years after termination of employment.
CCTV surveillance Is erased after 30 days.
Telephone conversations Are erased immediately or after up to 3 months.
Accounting records Must be stored for 5 years from the end of the financial year.