Intelligent automation: How sensors and software make robots smart

Intelligent automation: How sensors and software make robots smart

To grant competitive advantages, industrial robots must become sensitive and smart. This is where sensors and software come in: Equipped with these, collaborative applications widen the scope of automation.

When the first industrial robots entered the factory halls, their advantages were primarily characterized by force: With increased working speed and precise repeatability, they could easily handle huge payloads. Correspondingly, the first industry to use them large-scale was automotive manufacturing, where robot arms performed basic tasks such as picking and placing heavy parts.

Nowadays however, demands have changed:

  • Globalized market environments put manufacturers under pressure to react fast and flexible to their volatile conditions.
  • Individualized customer requests and lot sizes of one make production a complex undertaking.
  • A shortage of qualified workers makes it hard for companies to handle their orders or even forces them to decline, preventing them from growing.

These challenges make it inevitable for manufacturing companies to rethink their production ways.

At this point, the idea of collaborative robotics comes in: Robots and humans start working side by side, with the machines relieving workers from strenuous tasks and granting support just where it is needed.

However, to safely work next to humans, robots need to adapt: They must be able to see, feel and think. Only equipped with these skills can they comprehensively provide manufacturers with the benefits of automation, leaving the fences behind.


Collaborative robots: sensors make it possible

To acquire human-like capabilities, robots need to be fitted with the right sensors. Proximity and thermal sensors, force / torque and optical sensors enable a robot arm to perceive relevant variables like distance, force or speed. With their help, robots can control their force and apply it in a considerate way. Thus, they can react to their surroundings immediately and perceive human touch.

  • This makes it safe for humans to work alongside robots, as they perceive their presence and adapt their own movements if necessary.
  • Furthermore, providing robots with a sense of touch makes new application scenarios conceivable: Equipped with sensors, robots can perform complex tasks such as quality control, circuit bord assembly or polishing, increasing the economic benefits of automation.

The Polyskin Tactile Gripper for example has integrated tactile sensors at the tips of its two, individually actuated fingers. They enable it to provide accurate position-orientation and force data, making it possible to assess the grip quality. Thus, the gripper can handle even delicate items precisely and prevent dropping.


Adding intelligence: Smart robots automate more

However, to live up to the potential of automation, robots not only need senses, but they also need intelligence.

To make a robot smart, it takes the right software. OnRobot products are equipped with software packages that make them capable of performing complex tasks.

  • The RG2-FT Smart Gripper is a truly intelligent gripper: It has both force-controlled insertion software as well as force/torque sensors and a proximity sensor integrated in its fingertips. Thus, it can see, feel and command its own movements. On this basis, the gripper can perform highly precise machine tending and assembly tasks.
  • The HEX Force / Torque Sensors come with a comprehensive software package. Thanks to this, users can teach robot arms complex paths. Moreover, the arm is enabled to constantly keep the same force and speed and can thus perform highly precise tasks of surface finishing like polishing or deburring.

Furthermore, the pre-programmed software packages make the applications’ setup easier and enable users to perceive the advantages of automation faster. Their intuitive user interface adds to the same idea.


Software and sensors: maximizing the benefits of automation

To get the most out of automation, robots therefore need senses and brain. This is where automation becomes sensitive and intelligent. Only at this level do manufacturers benefit from advantages like increased process efficiency, short integration time and fast return on invest. In the end, only the application as a whole makes a difference.




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:

  • Employees

  • Customers

  • 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.

Purpose and lawfulness of the processing

Personal data are processed and archived in connection with:

  • HR management, including recruitment, hiring, dismissal and payment of salary

  • Master data for customers as well as orders and sales

  • Master data for suppliers as well as requisition forms and purchases

  • Contracts

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. 

Storage and erasure

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.

  • Personal data in physical folders are erased by shredding.

  • All employees must be instructed in what to do with personal data and how to protect personal data.


Website and Cookie

  • 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.

  • According to the Cookie Act, OnRobot must have the user’s consent to use this software on the user’s equipment. On The company’s intranet or similar closed group, the rules in the E-data protection directive do not apply.


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


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.


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.


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How to Grow your Business with Collaborative Applications
How to Grow your Business with Collaborative Applications
With the dawn of smarter, more adaptive tooling, robots can now function with greater speed, strength, safety and precision, accomplishing a wide range of tasks, while maximizing ROI. Learn more on how you can enable faster production at lower costs by downloading our free eBook.
How to Grow your Business with Collaborative Applications
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