A new era of human-robot collaboration: the first pneumatic cobot
What if there was a robot that was easy to operate, did not require a safety fence and was also attractively priced? That would introduce a whole new era in human-robot collaboration. This new era is now dawning – with the world's first pneumatic robot from Festo.
Hardly any industrial market segment will grow as rapidly over the next few years as human-robot collaboration. Cobots relieve employees of particularly strenuous or monotonous tasks, thus giving them new levels of freedom and making their work easier and healthier. And no other technology has such a sensitive and flexible approach to human-robot collaboration as pneumatics.
The benefits of pneumatics
The Festo Cobot owes many of its advantages, such as its sensitivity, weight and value for money, to the benefits of pneumatics. The direct drives in the articulated joints are very cost-effective and particularly lightweight because, unlike electric solutions, no heavy gear units or expensive force-torque sensors are required. The world's first pneumatic cobot is a result of the exceptional expertise in controlled pneumatics from Festo.
Cost-effective option – even for small and medium-sized companies
The Festo Cobot makes using cobots even cost-effective for small and medium-sized companies, as they often rely on manual work processes. This is achieved because of the flexible application options so that small batch sizes or work steps can also now be processed automatically. Thanks to its uniquely intuitive and simple commissioning and programming, it is quick and easy to get to grips with and extensive training is not required.
The pneumatic Festo Cobot will be cheaper than electric cobots in the same class. It will provide excellent value for money in its main application area of small parts handling with payloads of up to 3 kg. "When it goes on sale in 2023, the Festo Cobot will set new standards in human-robot collaboration with its ease of use," explains Dr Frank Melzer, Member of the Management Board for Product and Technology Management at Festo.
Easy to operate and flexible to use
The Festo Cobot consists of the hardware itself, a handheld module and the Robotic Suite – software for intuitive commissioning and programming. This package makes it possible to commission and program the Cobot in less than an hour. Prior knowledge of robotics is not required either because the self-explanatory "Robotic Suite" software contains clearly visualised and standardised function blocks. Pneumatic drives enable the robot arm to be easily guided by hand and without any resistance so that waypoints or paths can be taught quickly and precisely.
Especially for small and medium-sized companies, cobots are only attractive if they can practically and quickly take on a new task and are not just intended to be permanently used for the same purpose. The Festo Cobot meets this requirement as it doesn't require an additional control cabinet that is difficult to connect and cumbersome. The compact controller that is integrated in its own base makes it particularly flexible. Simple connections also allow it to be used ad hoc without long changeover times. Common bus standards enable fast connection to higher-order controllers. And it also requires less space.
Thanks to state-of-the-art, lightweight construction methods, the Festo Cobot weighs only 17 kg – so that it can be used quickly and flexibly at another location.
Working safer and faster
With a length of 670 mm, the Festo Cobot is just like a human arm and has the right reach for it to be perceived as a helping third hand when working with a member of staff. It moves – like a real colleague – within a manageable radius. Thanks to the flexibility of the pneumatic drives, the cobot acts sensitively – at a speed appropriate to the situation and with fluid, harmonious movements. It is as soft to the touch as human contact.
The cobot's pneumatic direct drives and its light weight reduce its contact energy. Christian Tarragona, Head of Robotics at Festo: "Thanks to precise pressure regulators in the articulated joints, the robot recognises when it is being touched and responds with appropriate safety functions." Employees can work together with their careful technical colleague in complete safety.
Festo is a global player and an independent family-owned company with headquarters in Esslingen am Neckar, Germany. Festo has set standards in industrial automation technology and technical education ever since its establishment, thereby making a contribution to sustainable development of the environment, the economy and society. The company supplies pneumatic and electrical automation technology to 300,000 customers of factory and process automation in over 35 industries. The LifeTech sector with medical technology and laboratory automation is becoming increasingly important. The products and services are available in 176 countries. With about 20,000 employees in over 250 branch offices in 61 countries worldwide, Festo achieved a turnover of around €2.84 billion in 2020. Each year around 8 % of this turnover is invested in research and development. In this learning company, 1.5 % of turnover is invested in basic and further training. Festo Didactic SE is a leading provider of technical education and training and offers its customers worldwide comprehensive digital and physical learning solutions in the industrial environment.