Automate returned to Detroit May 22-25, and as the leading automation trade show in North America, we saw it as a unique and valuable opportunity to expand our knowledge, connect with industry leaders, refine our deployment strategies, and make a substantial impact in the field of automation. Let’s take a closer look at the key highlights from Automate 2023.
Micro-Automation in Action
In order to make a big impression with our small robots, we brought a total of 35 robots to Automate: – 33 Meca500 robot arms and 2 Mecademic SCARA robots. They made up 14 distinct demos, each highlighting a unique aspect of their capabilities, as well as their impressively small footprint. We showcased our latest software launch — the Mecaportal — demonstrating its ease of use and user-friendly design. We also displayed our array of end-of-arm tools made in collaboration with Schunk as well as ones from our partners Schmalz and Kosmek, and force sensors from our partners at BOTA. One of our demos highlighted our Meca500’s compatibility with various PLCs: Beckhoff, Allen-Bradley, Siemens, Omron, Schneider and Unitronics.
Lastly but certainly not least, one of our most popular demos was our Star-Wars-inspired battle between synchronized Meca500s, highlighting their remarkable precision and agility. (BTW, have you seen our Meca500’s acting debut? Check it out)
Ultimately, thanks to our team and partners, we were able to demonstrate the unique potential that our compact and precise designs provide for the automation industry.
Exciting Contributions to the Industry
We officially announced the launch of the Early Access Program for our micro-SCARA robotic innovation: a unique micro-SCARA robot providing high throughput and repeatability while optimizing space and mount flexibility.
On the last day, our co-founder, Prof. Ilian Bonev, presented at the Automate conference on the importance of mastering robot singularities and robot configurations (i.e., the solutions of the inverse kinematics). Without a comprehensive understanding of the subject, industrial robot integrators can’t optimize the cycle times of their robot motions or even accomplish certain robot movements. Artificial intelligence might one day simplify the job of robot integrators, but as of now, they have hardly more help implementing industrial robots than a decade ago.
You can watch the full presentation now on our website: Optimizing Robot Paths by Coping with Robot Singularities
Our Vast Ecosystem of Trusted Partners
At Automate, we dedicated a segment of our demos to showcase the high-precision automation systems created in collaboration with our trusted partners. These partners play a crucial role in our mission to accelerate micro automation solutions across various industries. Among them is Mechatronic Solutions, a leading industrial automation distributor, offering top-quality products and services. We also showcased software from RoboDK, a powerful and cost-effective industrial robot simulator and programming tool, with its own Meca-specific edition. Coherent, a specialist in tailored materials and optics for industrial lasers, captured interest from diverse sectors such as industrial, communications, electronics, and instrumentation. Additionally, SICK, a renowned provider of sensor solutions, showcased their expertise in factory automation, logistics automation, and process automation.
Several other trusted partners made their presence felt at Automate, further enriching the event with their expertise:
- Asyril: Specializing in flexible feeding systems designed to optimize flexibility, speed, and precision in automation machines.
- Arimation: Designing and developing state-of-the-art robotic systems and solutions for industrial applications.
- Harmonic Drive: Manufacturing compact and precise gear mechanisms that utilize a wave generator for high reduction ratios, exceptional positional accuracy, and minimal backlash.
Automate proved to be an invaluable platform for our team to facilitate a deeper understanding of the automation landscape, enabling us to stay ahead of emerging industry trends. A couple of pivotal insights garnered by our team are as follows:
Firstly, the growing interest in smaller robots has become increasingly apparent. As US companies strive to re-shore or near-shore their operations, numerous medical device and optics companies are actively seeking automation solutions to streamline processes that demand a high level of precision.
Furthermore, one particular highlight that captured considerable attention was the demonstration of the Meca500 being controlled by six distinct PLCs. This feature resonated strongly with many customers as it showcased the Meca500’s versatility, as it could be seamlessly controlled via EtherNet/IP, Profinet, and EtherCAT without the need for additional hardware, software, or specialized licenses.
These insights highlight the distinctive niche we occupy within the market, addressing unmet needs and bridging the existing gaps.
We extend our heartfelt gratitude to all those who visited our booth and engaged with our team, as well as our exceptional partners who contributed to our success. With great anticipation, we look forward to reconnecting with you all next year, at yet another remarkable edition of Automate, this time in Chicago!