“The Hannover Messe has succeeded in impressively demonstrating that the digitization of industrial production and the trend toward Industry 4.0 will be pivotal global topics in the years ahead,” emphasized Henrik A. Schunk, Managing Partner, CEO, SCHUNK GmbH & Co. KG from Lauffen am Neckar at the conclusion of the world’s leading trade show for industry. “The distinguished combination of leading industrial companies and research institutions, top-level politics and an international audience ensures Germany’s leadership position in the global industrial context. The trend is clear: The factory of tomorrow will be smart, intelligent and highly interconnected.”
This is also reflected in SCHUNK’s gripping systems: In a myriad of live applications, the competence leader for gripping systems and clamping technology presented what the gripping technology of tomorrow will look like. One of the highlights was undoubtedly German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s visit to the IBG Automation booth, where the head of the German government, together with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and his wife Angélica Rivera, got up close and personal with the robotic hands of SCHUNK. Behind the playful exterior lies some serious technology: In industrial and service robotics applications of the future, it will be possible to control, configure and interact with robots only by using gestures and without any knowledge of programming. After SCHUNK was awarded the prestigious Hermes Award at the Hannover Messe 2017 for the intelligent SCHUNK Co-act JL1 collaborative gripper, this year’s gripping system specialist presented the SCHUNK Co-act series for applications in human/robot collaborations. This included the SCHUNK CO-act EGP-C, the world’s first DGUV certified industrial gripper for collaborative applications.
Visitors to the trade show were able to experience how the concept of a smart factory can be realized in practice using a highly flexible Industry 4.0 assembly cell. Depending on the order situation and related prioritization, the cell autonomously organizes the entire process from the assembly process, to the packaging of finished assemblies. SCHUNK is going one step further with “smart gripping”, best illustrated by a high-speed depanelling system from its subsidiary SCHUNK Electronic Solutions. For handling and quality assurance, SCHUNK used a technology study based on the intelligent SCHUNK EGL, which automatically measures individual circuit boards during the handling process while simultaneously defining quality features. The data collected and the information derived from this process is passed on to the plant cell control system for further process control by the smart gripper, at the same time making a cloud-based analysis tool available for real-time condition monitoring on any terminal device. The quality control integrated into the process and the automatic ejection of defective components based on individually definable setpoints prevent defective components from being refined further in costly subsequent process steps. At the same time, the need for additional measuring systems and evaluation units as well their connection and configuration is eliminated. For Henrik A. Schunk, this is exactly where the future lies: “The cost-effective, fast and efficient networking of automation components, quality and production management systems create considerable added value in industrial productions. In a similar way to the nervous system, this creates a highly efficient, self-organizing production network.”
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