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Next Generation Automation Issue | October 2018

  • By Neil Martin

A variety of stories in this issue, which reflects the wide ranging industry that is robotics.

I was a guest of cobot gripper company Robotiq a few weeks ago.

They invited me to their annual Robotiq Users Conference, commonly known as RUC, which takes place in the beautiful city of Quebec, Eastern Canada.

Their conference is different because it is based around user participation. Engineers and end-users from the global cobot community get divided into ten teams and can spend up to 24 hours solving a challenge. The teams, armed with six Universal Robots and conveyors, face a demanding challenge which involves moving and processing items. They take it very seriously, as befits what is a major investment in terms of money and resources from Robotiq. All too often conferences are lecture after lecture, some good, others tedious, but I’ve been to few which have the enthusiasm and commitment of RUC 2018. The visit forms the material for our main feature and it’s worth reading, to find out how it should be done.

And it highlights the fact that the cobot sector is where the main action is at the moment. There is a sense of excitement which is infectious. This is supported by all of the latest market reports, which report dramatic growth over the coming years.

Dr Jing Bing Zhang, research director at IDC Worldwide Robotics, said: “Collaborative robots are taking off in industrial applications, driven by customer demands for product quality, delivery, and mass customisation. While being safe is the prerequisite for any collaborative robot, the market is already shaping the development of collaborative robots towards simplicity, smartness, and ease of redeployment.” Check out more of the figures in our section Robo Business.

Our other articles range across a number of opics, including women in engineering and batteries for robots. One of my favorite pieces poses the question, is there an afterlife for robots?

When I hear that question, my mind immediately leaps to Kryten, the mechanoid in the sci-fi series Red Dwarf. He believes in silicon heaven which, according to this article, is way off the mark. Old robots are of course broken down into parts and recycled wherever possible. Lets hope at least their ‘souls’ have gone to a better place. Funnily enough, it’s one of those articles which makes you think.

And I hope the rest of the magazine makes you think as well!

Neil Martin | Editor | RoboPro Magazine

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