PAL Robotics (Barcelona, Spain) is at automatica 2018 and we took the opportunity to ask the company some questions about the event.
- what will you showcase?
PAL Robotics is bringing four service robots at AUTOMATICA 2018 in Munich. In line with Industry 4.0, we have developed the collaborative robot called TIAGo, a name standing for “Take It And Go” that describes the mobile manipulation and perception capabilities of the robot. TIAGo enhances industrial production lines by becoming an assistant for operators, helping them in a collaborative way with tasks that are repetitive, that need of skills that go beyond biological limits, or that can be dangerous for humans. Human-Robot Interaction is key in TIAGo, workers can easily command the robot, schedule diverse tasks and reschedule the planning on the go, switching from one task to another.TIAGo can be controlled with a user-friendly interface or even learn movements easily with hand guiding methods, even by workers who are not programmers.
TIAGo’s operates wherever the worker needs it and goes where instructed thanks to its autonomous navigation. Same happens with TIAGo base, an autonomous mobile base that will also be showcased in AUTOMATICA. TIAGo carries goods from one point to another. This is possible thanks to its autonomous navigation and AI, which helps TIAGo base on finding the best and fastest route. It is constantly aware of any change using its integrated sensors, guaranteeing safeness and effectiveness inside the industrial workspace. TIAGo base can be customized and adapted to the diverse equipment it has to work with.
One example of this is StockBot, another platform that we will bring to the AUTOMATICA Service Robots Demo Park. StockBot exhaustively controls stock in warehouses. The platform benefits from the same autonomous navigation system as TIAGo and the PAL Robotics mobile base. While safely moving through the corridors, StockBot detects all items using RFID technology and complementing the data with vision cameras. StockBot can work both with and without people around. After the route is completed, a 3D map with all items’ location and a list is provided by StockBot, so everything in the workshop is under control.
As part of how we envision the future of service robotics, we will bring a humanoid biped robot, REEM-C, that stands at 1.65m high and is used for research in bipedal locomotion and Human-Robot Interaction areas, amongst others. Humanoid robots stand as the most adaptable platforms to the environments where we live and work, this is why a lot of efforts in research are being put to advance humanoid robots skills to the point that they can help us in a dynamic way without needing to modify our spaces or add any extra equipment. REEM-C will be showcasing an interactive application that enables the robot to react to external forces thanks to the Whole-Body Control implemented inside.
- how is the digital transformation in manufacturing affecting your own business?
It is clear that digital transformation is reshaping industrial workflows and opens endless possibilities for optimizing and automating processes. As automated technology, robots are an element that can be easily connected to the system which digitally controls an assembly line. Robots detect the environment through their sensors and can send the data to the artificial intelligence that interconnects all the machinery and data of the assembly line, and which may be controlled by a person or may undertake autonomous decisions by itself. At PAL Robotics we have noticed that the interest in our robots, especially those which have a direct application in industry, is continuously increasing.
The flexibility provided by collaborative robots like TIAGo helps when there’s a need to change the production line in order to efficiently react to the consumer’s demands. The easiness in which a TIAGo base’s delivery route can be changed inside an industrial setting means a rapid response when facing modifications in production. The exhaustive control that StockBot gives of every single element that enters, exits or is moved inside a warehouse means that goods data is tracked, frequently updated and quickly restocked before noticing it in the production line. Flexibility, easiness of use and precision are some of the big advantages robots can give in industrial processes. Our experience of over 14 years doing research with complex robots and the know-how that PAL Robotics team has after creating several different service robots, is now invested in enhancing industrial processes with robotic platforms and cobots.
- why do you think the event attracts visitors from all sectors of production – from automobile to food and drink?
AUTOMATICA gathers present and future technologies that are reshaping the industrial processes – or will do in a near future. The exhibition offers a unique occasion to directly interact with cutting-edge technologies, such as service and collaborative robots, and learn about them. We want to highlight the role of spaces such as the Service Robots Demo Park. Our participation in the latest edition’s Demo Park enabled visitors to understand the potential of TIAGo as a flexible cobot that can adapt to diverse tasks and how it combines navigation with manipulation for maximum efficiency in industrial processes, and could also see how StockBot works as an inventory-taking robot that controls stock in any indoor space. Directly seeing and trying a robot is the best way to understand how it works and the benefits it can provide in visitors’ production lines. This is why this year we will repeat the experience with TIAGo and StockBot, and will also attend with the TIAGo Base, for courier tasks and logistics, and also the humanoid REEM-C.
- why is it that so many people view this event as “the place to be”? What makes it so unique?
The format of AUTOMATICA has proven to be a successful formula that attracts both industrial actors who are interested in improving their processes, and technology manufacturers that develop the latest cutting-edge equipment. The focus of the fair to highlight the latest industrial trends is remarkable, as well as the speed in which the organizers envision tendencies that will revolutionize the market like collaborative robotics, and take action to give them a relevant role in the exhibition. The best evidence is the dimensions of the fair and number of attendees, which lead to a higher number of deals that are closed there.
- what do you hope to achieve by exhibiting at the event?
We want to showcase the robots’ abilities and uses through several interactive demonstrations that visitors will be able to experiment and continue consolidating PAL Robotics as the reference in European robotics with applications that are meaningful for the industry.