Traditional robotics has taken a giant leap in transforming productivity and quality in multifarious production environments concerning surface finishing of products. However, the industrial standard in robot programming is position driven. Random surfaces with random reference points require heavy programming and are economically not viable. Hence, traditional robotics has high requirements on sensitivity and physical compliance, which in turn leaves tricky automation gaps to solve. Tending to this automation need is an Austria based firm, FerRobotics that develops and sells robotics equipment to make a robot contact-sensitive and positioning tolerant. “This innovative package is a revolution since it makes costly programming and implementation redundant,” extols Michael Haas, Vice President of FerRobotics.
The company’s approach to robotics automation is completely different. The key parameter of the process is the contact situation. Therefore, FerRobotics system checks if there is a contact, tracks the surface and individually applies the necessary force autonomously. “Within a robot path, our equipment compensates for positioning tolerances and masterminds the contact precision without programming it point by point,” says Haas. “FerRobotics robot devices feel what they are doing. Our robot equipment guides the tool or gripper as carefully as would the human hand. Any common hand tool or gripper is applicable.”
FerRobotics robot devices feel what they are doing
The technology detects counterforces, changes in the surface flow, obstacles and nestles into the process autonomously. The equipment performs self-operations, thus adjusting to individual process situations and environment conditions.
FerRobotics product family of the Active Contact Flange (ACF) is used in a wide range of contact-sensitive processes across all industries. “Tailored solutions for specific purposes provide our clients with a worry-free package from robot,” says Haas. For instance, the Active Sensitive Kit (ASK) Set helps get welding seams a uniform surface finish.
Another innovation from the company, the Active Belt Grinder (ABG) maintains the contact sensitive sanding device stationary and to maneuver the work piece with a stiff standard industrial robot. “Together, these solutions are revolutionizing sensitive automation across all industries, materials and tasks,” beams Haas. “Especially, the automotive industry is absorbing this head start in technology, where it has established itself already as the latest state-of-the art for complex sanding and grinding jobs.”
In one instance, a premium U.S. car manufacturer was facing the problem with precision bonding of door seal to the automobile’s bodywork, which almost put the whole production-line in jeopardy. By using FerRobotics product family of Active Contact Flange, the car manufacturer could precisely roll the door seal with guaranteed 100 percent leak tightness that prevented the rain water to drainoff into the cabin area. Further on, the manufacturer was able to reduce the number of operators from four to just one which in-turn helped save the time needed by the operators to handle the robot.
The management team at FerRobotics live by the mantra, "An idea only becomes innovative once it has succeeded in the market," a famous quote from Joseph Schumpeter, an Austrian-born American economist and political scientist. “Where ever we identify a reasonable demand we develop the pinpointed solution and expand our product portfolio step by step, so that they are readily adopted by the industry,” says Haas. The company has opened a new galaxy in robotics, ‘the sensitive robotics’, and will continue to focus on product diversity, package solutions, radical innovation on sanding processes, and innovation on the handling—changing the way to use a robot.