ABB launches next-generation cobots

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ABB has expanded its collaborative robot (cobot) portfolio with the launch of its GoFa and SWIFTI cobot families.

Offering higher payloads and speeds, GoFa and SWIFTI have been developed to accelerate the company’s expansion in high-growth segments including electronics, healthcare, consumer goods, logistics and food and beverage, amongst others.

Both new cobot families are designed to help businesses automate processes to assist workers with tasks including material handling, machine tending​, component assembly​ and packaging in manufacturing, medical laboratories, logistics hubs and warehouses, workshops, and small production facilities.

According to ABB, GoFa and SWIFTI can be operated by users within minutes of installation and with no prior specialised training. Users can programme and re-programme the new cobots via tablet or smartphone, using ABB’s fast set-up tools.

ABB’s GoFa CRB 15000 cobot features intelligent sensors in each joint to support close human-robot collaboration

ABB’s cobot portfolio expansion has been timed to accelerate automation amid four megatrends identified by the company: individualised consumers, labour shortages, digitalisation and uncertainty, all of which ABB believes are driving automation into new sectors of the economy.

“Our new cobot portfolio is the most diverse on the market, offering the potential to transform workplaces and help our customers achieve new levels of operational performance and growth”, said Sami Atiya, president of ABB’s Robotics & Discrete Automation business area.

“They are easy to use and configure and backed by our global network of on-call, on-line service experts to ensure that businesses of all sizes and new sectors of the economy, far beyond manufacturing, can embrace robots for the first time.”

With a 950mm reach and offering speeds up to 2.2m/sec for payloads up to 5kg, the new six-axis GoFa CRB 15000 automates processes involving heavier loads and longer reaches to assist workers with repetitive and ergonomically challenging tasks.

GoFa features intelligent torque and position sensors in each of its six joints to support close human-robot collaboration. The joints have been designed to eliminate risk of injury to human workers by sensing any unexpected contact between the cobot’s arm and a human to bring the robot arm to a stop within milliseconds.

Users can programme GoFa via lead-through programming and ABB’s new Wizard programming software, which uses simple graphical blocks that represent actions such as ‘move to location’, ‘pick up an object’, and ‘repeat task’, to build a series of simple processes for the robot to perform.

The CRB 1100 SWIFTI, based on ABB’s IRB 1100 industrial robot, combines a payload of 4kg and reach of up to 580mm. It offers a maximum tool centre point speed of more than 5m/sec, which, according to ABB, is more than five times higher than other cobots in its class and comparable with industrial robots.

SWIFTi is the new collaborative version of ABB’s IRB 1100 industrial robot

Designed to support intermittent collaboration between human and robot, SWIFTI is aimed at tasks including assembly and polishing where human operators need to be present to carry out duties such as supervision and repositioning of parts.

Integrating a safety laser scanner with ABB’s SafeMove Collaborative safety software, SWIFTI ensures that contact between a moving robot and a human will not occur, thus preventing injury. Working together, the technologies allow safe collaboration to be achieved without the need for physical fencing, by ensuring that an operator is not present within the robot’s working envelope while it is moving.

If an operator is detected within SWIFTI’s working area, the cobot’s movements will automatically slow down or stop completely to allow the operator to approach safely. As the worker moves away, the cobot will restart, returning to full speed and movement for full productivity once it senses that its working envelope is completely clear.

As an added safeguard, SWIFTI also features an interaction status light that provides a visual indication of the cobot’s status when the operator is in the cobot’s workspace. Furthermore, the robot’s safe working zones can be set using SafeMove’s fast setup tools, including the SafeMove Configurator app on the ABB FlexPendant.

And, when programming the robot, SWIFTI offers users a choice of both lead-through programming via a clip-on lead through programming device, and ABB’s new Wizard easy programming software.

Both SWIFTI and GoFa are available now, joining ABB’s YuMi and Single Arm YuMi to create a cobot portfolio for applications ranging from less than 0.5kg to 5kg.

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