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Equipped by SCHUNK Humans and heavy-duty industrial robots work hand in hand in the project by students from Linköping University. Editorial Better together T he KUKA KR-210 robot picks up the flywheel from the material rack and moves it to the center of the robot cell. From there, an operator uses a controller to guide the robot towards a motor, aligns the flywheel, then releases it from the robot arm and presses it firmly onto the motor by hand. The oper- ator then guides the robot back to its initial position, leaves the work area and sets it back to automatic mode. The process then starts again from the beginning. This combination of an automatic and collaborative mode of working has been developed by students at Linköping University in Sweden. Together with two partners from the car industry they are conducting research into how assembly of a flywheel on a motor during automotive production can be made simpler and safer. Until now, aligning the 50 to 100 kilo wheel using a manually-operated crane has proven a tricky task for operators. Sensor for collaborative controller The core project task was to develop a collaborative controller that the operator can use to operate the robot. The controller responds precisely to the forces the operator exerts on it manually by means of a sensor. “The students approached us looking for a suitable sensor for the application”, explains Daniel Lutzov from Technical Services at SCHUNK Intec Sweden. “We advised them to go for a SCHUNK force/ torque sensor. It was ideal for their task because it measures both forces and torques in all six degrees of freedom. As a result the students have enabled the robot to turn and move in all directions.” Further safety features developed Programming the interaction between the controller and the robot was the biggest and most complex part of the development project. Getting the collaborative controller to work correctly took six months. SCHUNK made itself avail- able to the students during this time in an advisory capacity. Yet there was more to their research too. They developed other safety features like a laser curtain and a traffic light signal indicating whether the operator is allowed to enter the robot cell. “As a result of the project, the students have succeeded for the first time in making a heavy-duty industrial robot safe enough for humans to work with”, says Daniel Lutzov. “We are delighted to have been able to assist in such a special collaborative project.”  ■ Students at Linköping University have taught a heavy-duty industrial robot how to work collaboratively with humans — and simplified motor production in the process. A force/torque sensor from SCHUNK helped make this possible. Dear Customers, Partners, and Friends, What impact will the digital transformation have on the job market? Anyone who follows the debate in the media knows that public perception is rather pessi- mistic. This pessimism is not justified, however. New technologies make companies more competitive. In addition, successful companies generate new income. Purchasing power increases as a result, and as demand increases, jobs are created at other companies. History confirms this fact: Since the beginning of industria- lization, the total number of jobs has increased signif- icantly. Technical progress has created many more jobs than it has eliminated. This also applies to digitaliza- tion, even if the necessary adjustments appear more urgent because of its rapid pace. Human/robot collaboration will have the same effect. Collaborative robots do not replace people, they support them. They relieve people of all activities that are physically demanding, monotonous or harmful to health. In this issue, we show you the solutions for digitalization and collaboration between humans and robots that will accompany you on the road to the smart factories of tomorrow. In addition, you will learn what we do as a company to ensure that our employees and trainees are perfectly prepared for the changing requirements of the work world. I hope you enjoy this issue! Henrik A. Schunk Chief Executive Officer “ The sensor is ideal for the task because it measures both forces and torques in all six degrees of freedom. ” Daniel Lutzov, Technical Services, SCHUNK Intec, Sweden Watch Linköping University’s videos to learn more about the project: watch?v=txmA-Q1uxpo watch?v=tFl9hGlhnRU 2