ABB and Kawasaki Heavy Industries have joined forces to share knowledge and promote the benefits of collaborative robots, in particular those with dual arm designs. Under the new cooperation, which is the world’s first to focus on ‘cobots,’ both robot makers will continue independently manufacturing and marketing their own offerings while working together on joint technical and awareness opportunities. This includes educating policy makers, NGOs and the general public about the benefits of collaborative automation, and creating common industry approaches to safety, programming and communications.
Collaboration between people and robots, machines and processes is increasingly important as production in many industries has shifted from larger lots with little variation to low volumes with a high mix. This means more variability and more human intervention. Collaborative automation allows people and robots to each contribute their unique strengths – people offer process knowledge, insight and improvisation for change, while robots offer tireless endurance for repetitive tasks.
The cooperation also represents collaboration across borders, with ABB as Europe’s largest robot supplier and Kawasaki one of Asia’s industrial giants. “The scale and pace of change in the robotics industry today is unimaginable,” said Per Vegard Nerseth, Managing Director of ABB’s Robotics business. “Beyond the technologies behind collaborative automation, there is also a need for innovative new ways of working together and creating common industry approaches to safety, programming and communications.”