ABB and Kawasaki to work on cobots

ABB and Kawasaki Heavy Industries have announced that they are to join forces to share knowledge and promote the benefits of collaborative robots, in particular those with dual arm designs.

The world’s first to focus on ‘cobots,’ will see robot makers continue to independently manufacture and market their own offerings (like ABB’s YuMi dual arm robot and Kawasaki’s Dual-Arm SCARA Robot) while working together on joint technical and awareness opportunities. This includes educating policy makers, NGOs and the general public about the benefits of collaborative automation, and creating common industry approaches to safety, programming and communications.

“The scale and pace of change in the robotics industry today is unimaginable,” said Per Vegard Nerseth, managing director of ABB’s Robotics business. “Beyond the technologies behind collaborative automation, there is also a need for innovative new ways of working together and creating common industry approaches to safety, programming and communications.”

Collaboration between people and robots, machines and processes is increasingly important as production in many industries has shifted from larger lots with little variation to low volumes with a high mix. This means more variability and more human intervention. Collaborative automation allows people and robots to each contribute their unique strengths – people offer process knowledge, insight and improvisation for change, while robots offer tireless endurance for repetitive tasks.

“Collaborative robots, especially those with two arms capable of human interactions, can greatly contribute to society and help the world cope with labour shortages and an aging workforce. We see high potential in expanding collaborative applications and processes where people and technology work together to create solutions,” said Yasuhiko Hashimoto, managing executive officer and general manager, Kawasaki Robot Division. “I’m very pleased that ABB and Kawasaki are joining forces to lead the drive for more user-friendly, advanced collaborative automation.”

The first output from this cooperation will be a collaborative dual arm robot demonstration at IREX in Tokyo, from November 29 to December 2, 2017.