Like dangerous animals, robots have spent their existence up till now behind cages. However, huge progress is being made in their domestication and, to stick with the analogy, the cage doors are already wide open. If you listen to what handling experts are saying, it won’t be long at all until humans and robots are working directly side by side as integral elements in production automation. It’s a development that SCHUNK GmbH & Co. KG - one of the leading names in gripping systems and clamping technology - has long been working on. Now, the family-run German company is at EMO Hannover 2017 to showcase the astounding advances that have already been achieved in the taming of grippers for collaborative production scenarios.
SCHUNK is showcasing the view that it will primarily be separate sub-processes – where full automation would be difficult to achieve cost effectively - that will see humans and robots divide up their tasks according to their abilities and work hand in hand or, rather, hand in gripper. These HRC solutions, which are ranked below full automation, offer a number of key benefits: They boost productivity, enhance flexibility and lighten the load on staff by freeing them up from manual tasks that have either been unsuitable for automation or have been ergonomically unfavorable and often exceptionally monotonous. State-of-the-art HRC solutions also reduce the risk of injuries in the workplace and, when applied to reproducible processes, ultimately ensure consistent quality standards that don’t vary according to how an operator is feeling from day to day.