Two-Armed Robot Designed for Factory Collaboration

“The new era of robotic coworkers is here and an integral part of our next level strategy,” said ABB CEO Ulrich Spiesshofer.

In science fiction, collaboration with robots ranges from friendly to disastrous. In real factories, collaboration is limited by a robot’s range and sensitivity, and keeping workers out of danger can be a challenge. YuMi, a dual-armed robot that ABB Robotics said brings unprecedented safety and smooth collaboration, was introduced on April 13 at Hanover Messe.

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Designed with smartphone manufacturers and other small parts manufacturers in mind, YuMi is small enough to occupy the same workstation as a human and has several safety methods to avoid possible injury to its human neighbor. The arms are padded, with no pinch points, and camera ‘eyes’ built into the gripper hands sense impacts and stop the robot from moving if a person is in the way.

YuMi has a reach of 500 millimeters and a payload of 500 grams, and itself weighs 38 kilograms. Programming can be done through the fifth-generation IRC5 controller with TrueMove and QuickMove motion control technology.

“The new era of robotic coworkers is here and an integral part of our next level strategy,” said ABB CEO Ulrich Spiesshofer. “YuMi makes collaboration between humans and robots a reality. It is the result of years of research and development, and will change the way humans and robots interact. YuMi is an element of our Internet of Things, Services and People strategy creating an automated future together.”

The robot can learn through repetition, said Phil Crowther, small robot product manager at ABB Robotics. It is equipped with Ethernet IP, Profibus, USB ports, DeviceNet and a communication port, and accepts a variety of HMI devices including ABB’s teach pendant, industrial displays, and commercially available tablets and smartphones. The 100-240 volt power supply plugs into any conventional power socket.

YuMi is designed to work in very close proximity to humans, but also to increase both human and robot productivity.

“It’s not just easy to just replicate a human being,” Crowther said. “They’re an amazing machine.”

ABB quoted a BCG research study that predicts that adoption of advanced robots will boost productivity in many industries by 30 percent and lower total labor costs by 18 percent or more by 2025.

ABB Robotics has shipped and installed more than 250,000 robots worldwide.