Universal Robots' Cobots Find New Ways to Automate

Recent research by Insider Intelligence said e-commerce in the United States may reach US$1 trillion in 2022, up 16 percent from 2021. For that reason, warehousing labor wages have increased four times faster than before the pandemic.

Nonetheless, Joe Campbell, Senior Manager of Applications Development with Universal Robots (UR) said despite the wage increases, logistics operations are still having tremendous time hiring and retaining frontline workers.

“To fill that void, we’re now experiencing significant industry demand for robotic piece-picking and palletizing processes that support a wide range of products,” explained Campbell. Consequently, Campbell will speak on the topic in his ‘Piece Talk’ presentation “The Labor Challenge in Manufacturing Just Won’t Go Away” on April 28. This will happen at partner RightHand Robotics’ booth #B8622 during MODEX 2022. The said event will take place in Atlanta, Georgia from April 28-31.

The Right Pick

At RightHand Robotics’ booth, Universal Robots’ UR5e cobot will power the RightPick 3 robot system. This offers system integrators and warehouse operators an item-handling solution for use with AutoStore, ASRS systems, and other standard material handling automation. Both the hardware platform and the RightPick AI software stack have been re-architected for easier configuration of sources and destinations and workflows. In addition, greater performance exceeding 1,200 units per hour in controlled tests, process reliability better than 99.5 percent, safety and compliance.

“We continue to work closely with the team at Universal Robots. These past two years have stressed the supply chain everywhere, but UR has been a reliable and responsive supplier to us at RightHand,” says Vince Martinelli, Head of Product and Marketing at RightHand Robotics. This, Martinelli added, “has been critical to us as we scale our business.”

Universal Robots’ UR10e cobot handles mixed-case depalletizing equipped with advanced 3D vision and real-time motion planning technologies from Mujin. (Photo: Universal Robots)

Real-Time Decision Making in Mixed-Case Handling

At UR’s own MODEX booth #B2805, visitors will experience how palletizing, one of the most ergonomically unfriendly and labor demanding tasks, is handled by UR cobots in several innovative applications. One of them developed by UR partner Mujin, showcasing a UR10e cobot in mixed-case depalletizing.

Collaborative robots have completely changed the way industry utilizes robotics,” said Josh Cloer, Director of Sales at Mujin. “UR brings flexibility, ease-of-use and ready-to-deploy tools making it simple for manufacturers to automate nearly any repetitive task. Together with UR, Mujin brings these same benefits to the warehouse,” he said, explaining how Mujin’s advanced 3D vision and real-time motion planning technologies can automate the deployment of difficult applications like mixed-case handling, sorting, and order filling.

The UR booth will also feature the UR16e model with a 16kg payload, palletizing and de-palletizing in a conveyor setting. This features UR’s own built-in palletizing programming wizard in seamless integration with the FXCB gripper from Schmalz.

In addition, the gripper is part of UR’s rapidly expanding UR+ ecosystem of third-party component and application kits certified to be plug-and-play with UR cobots, now encompassing 387 different products.

“There has never been a more crucial time for the supply chain industry to embrace automation,” said Campbell. “We look forward to these conversations at MODEX, illustrating with hands-on examples and ROI justifications how cobots will help address the pain points.”