Highlights of the 2015 Hannover Fair

We rounded up our top five picks from this year’s Hannover Fair – the world’s largest industrial fair.

Articles | May 18, 2015

1. Implementations of Industry 4.0

Industry 4.0 was definitely the star of the show and we saw numerous different interpretations and implementations of the concept. Screens of all shapes and sizes were everywhere: smart watches, phones, tablets, gadgets…

The diversity of solutions made the need for standardization very apparent. The information that is shared between devices and components clearly needs some guidelines. Some solutions were very abstract and high level, whereas others had been carefully planned from the beginning until the final execution.

All in all in looks like the technology is well ahead of infrastructure and standardizations.

2. Friction Stir Welding

German machine-builder Grenzebach presented their implementation of a new welding solution known as Friction Stir Welding. Friction Stir Welding joins pieces of metal together without consumables, fumes, spatter or noise.

Find out more about Friction Stir Welding at Grenzebach’s website

3. KUKA Beer Robot and KUKA Robocoaster

Hannover Fair might have just taken us one step closer to a fully automated bar. German Robot builder KUKA was showcasing its KUKA LBR iiwa robot, which poured a pint of wheat beer with a perfect head– a task that many human bartenders struggle with. The robot was programmed to fetch a full bottle of beer, open it, pick up a glass and rinse it before pouring the beverage into the glass.
Fortunately for all bartenders, the Beer Robot was fully capable of cooperating with its human colleagues and did not pose a safety risk thanks to the robot’s lightweight design and soft touch. Prost!

The KUKA Robocoaster offered a refreshing ride and different perspective on robotics if you were among the lucky ones to get a ride!

4. KUKA Innovation Award Winner: ReTeLINK

If guiding the movements of a robot arm with a wearable exoskeleton that transfers your arm’s movements directly to the robot sound like your cup of tea, you’ll going to be a fan of the ReTeLINK.

This year’s KUKA Innovation Award along with the 20,000 € prize check went to an Italian research team for building a telecommunication link between two robots – the KUKA LBR iiwa anthropomorphic arm and upper-limb exoskeleton.

Traditionally robots are moved remotely by using video-guidance or a joystick. In ReTeLINK, the user guiding the robot moves the LBR as if it were his own arm through the sensorized exoskeleton. The exoskeleton recognizes the movements of the shoulder and elbow and a motor provides information about the robot’s movement and grip directly back to the user’s arm. This is a truly natural way to guide a robot.

The roles can also be reversed, where the movements of the LBR are transferred to the exoskeleton. This could for example help patients, who have lost control of their arm, to recover.
You can read more about ReTeLink at the website of the BioRobotics Institute of the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna.

5. Collaborative robots

Collaborative robots are robots that are designed to perform their tasks together with humans without the need for a fence or other such safety measures. As robots themselves are becoming safer and safer, this year’s fair was again full of collaborative robots, the most impressive of which was probably Fanuc’s CR35iA.

The brand new CR35iA is capable of lifting a 35 kg load, a world record for collaborative robots. No more back-pains!

To find out more about the CR35iA, go to Fanuc’s website.

That’s it. Hope you enjoyed Hannover Fair as much as we did and see you again next year!

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