Power automation group ABB introduces robot ‘coworker’

abb robot elp

ABB introduced YuMi, the world’s first truly collaborative dual-arm industrial robot, at the world’s leading trade fair for industrial technology, Hannover Messe.

In 1974, ABB introduced the world’s first microprocessor controlled, all-electric industrial robot and ABB now has an installed base of more than 250,000 robots worldwide. With the introduction of YuMi, ABB is once again pushing the boundaries of robotic automation by fundamentally expanding the types of industrial processes that can be automated with robots.

Few production arenas are changing as quickly as small parts assembly. The electronics industry, in particular, has seen demand for products skyrocket past the supply of skilled labor. As conventional assembly methods diminish in value, manufacturers are finding it strategically and economically imperative to invest in new solutions.

BCG Research for example predicts that by 2025, adoption of advanced robots will boost productivity by up to 30 percent in many industries and lower total labor costs by 18 percent or more in countries such as South Korea, China, the U.S., Japan, and Germany.

While YuMi was specifically designed to meet the flexible and agile production needs of the consumer electronics industry, it has equal application in any small parts assembly environment thanks to its dual arms, flexible hands, universal parts feeding system, camera-based part location, lead-through programming and motion control.

YuMi can operate in very close collaboration with humans thanks to its inherently safe design. It has a lightweight yet rigid magnesium skeleton covered with a floating plastic casing wrapped in soft padding to absorb impacts. YuMi is also compact, with human dimensions and human movements, which makes humans coworkers feel safe and comfortable.

If YuMi senses an unexpected impact, such as a collision with a coworker, it can pause its motion within milliseconds, and the motion can be restarted again as easily as pressing play on a remote control. YuMi also has no pinch points so that nothing sensitive can be harmed as the axes open and close.

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