ABB and Kawasaki join hands; announce collaborative robot automation cooperation

Global automation firms ABB and Kawasaki today came together to share knowledge and promote benefits of collaborative robots, particularly those with dual arm designs.

Global automation firms ABB and Kawasaki today came together to share knowledge and promote benefits of collaborative robots, particularly those with dual arm designs.

ABB and Kawasaki join hands; announce collaborative robot automation cooperation

Yumi of ABB Robotics

“ABB and Kawasaki Heavy Industries will join forces to share knowledge and promote the benefits of collaborative robots, in particular those with dual arm designs,” a joint statement, issued in Zurich in Switzerland today, said.

According to the statement, the global cooperation will become effective immediately.

Under the new framework, which is the world’s first to focus on ‘cobots’ -- short for collaborative robots -- both companies will independently continue manufacturing and marketing their own offerings while working together on joint technical and awareness opportunities, it said.

This includes educating policymakers, NGOs and the public about the benefits of collaborative automation, and creating common industry approaches to safety, programming and communications, it added.

Collaboration between people and robots, machines and processes is getting 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, in the statement.

Nerseth said, “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.”

“Collaborative robots, especially those with two arms capable of human interactions, can greatly contribute to society and help the world cope with labour shortages and an ageing workforce. We see high potential in expanding collaborative applications and processes where people and technology work together to create solutions,” said Yasuhiko Hashimoto, Managing Executive Officer and General Manager, Kawasaki Robot Division.

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