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  • 26 July, 2018

    Intelligent Automation for Smart Plants

    Unibap has an ambitious business plan to bring small and large factories into the era of Smart Factories and Plants. This vision is enabled through technology investments and highly skilled Talents combining artificial intelligence (AI), robotics and jigless Zero programming (100 % programming free operation) to meet current and future needs for increased manufacturing flexibility and quality.

    Building on the investments, Unibap is now able to demonstrate advanced Assembly technology for a large set of applications for almost any major industrial robot provider. Given that many manufacturers have a wide range of products and a greater need for Low Volume, High Mix automation, it is becoming increasingly important to offer rapid reconfiguration and combining object identification, quality control, grasping and assembly.

    Operational flexibility is now reality and demonstrated in a video below, using Unibap’s Intelligent Vision System (IVS) products and Deep Delphi™ software platform preparing assembly of a Schunk robot gripper which today is assembled manually like many other complex products. The video demonstrates the flexibility offered by Unibap’s Intelligent Automation solutions for Assembly, including jigless Zero programming (100% programming free operation), autonomous object identification, real-time path planning, quality and dimension control, grasping, and information transfer to co-working robots to perform additional tasks in the production flow.

    The demonstration is performed using a Yaskawa industrial robot doing assembly of industrial robot grippers of a series with 5 different sizes. The solution is generic and Unibap has previously verified interoperability with robots from ABB, FANUC, KUKA, Universal Robots, and Yaskawa.

    The Unibap journey started in 2013 and took off in 2016 bringing Unibap’s first aerospace AI computing products into space, powering Earth Observation satellites, and spinning off in 2017 to AI in Smart Plant industrial Quality Assurance and Control (QA/QC). Initial pilot projects continued in 2018 to commercial exploitation phase with Epiroc AB (publ, TICK: EPI-A) and Husqvarna Group AB (publ, TICK: HUSQ-B).

    Complementing and going beyond Quality Assurance, our business area Intelligent Automation and Robotics (IA) creates further value for Smart Plants where the full power of flexibility and efficiency can be achieved. Beyond the Quality Assurance benefits, where we feed the factory systems automatically with data on 100 % of the products, we can with the combination of IA eliminate time consuming and in-effective industrial robot programming as well as the need for jigs, which usually accounts for a large part of the investment in automation projects.

    Unibap has previously presented its plan and vision, combining patented robot cell methods for identification, navigation, quality control, operation, and manipulation together with the company’s jigless Zero Programming Assembly (ZEPA) CAD/CAM tool. Unibap will commercialize and offer Intelligent Automation as a Service (IAaaS) through subscription-based access to advanced Deep Delphi™ AI powered services, including modules for assembly, automatic quality reporting, and collaborative manufacturing. IAaaS customers can select industrial robots from different vendors to optimize the operational output.

    Market overview

    Million Insights Inc. has recently estimated the global Industrial Robotics Industry at USD $25B in 2013 and is expected to reach USD $40B in 2020 with growing concerns to reduce operational costs by many manufacturing companies is expected to drive the global market growth. The growth of the market can be majorly attributed to the adoption of automation through robotics that ensures quality production while meeting market demand as well as the growing demand from small- and medium-scale enterprises in developing countries. Material handling is expected to account for largest market share owing to increasing demand for efficient handling if heavy machinery under severe working conditions. These robots can handle heavy payloads and also are very useful in huge machine components which cannot be lifted manually.

    There are various types of industrial robots with in many cases Unibap can enhance with its solutions, including Cartesian robots, articulated robots, cylindrical robots and SCARA robots. All The above robots are used in the heavy machinery industry for different processes, including soldering and welding, assembling and disassembling, handling of materials and processing dispensing, painting, milling, cutting, and other processes. Rapid evolution of technology has also lead in invention of advanced robots such as collaborative robots. These robots are expected to be much safer to handle and can work along with humans, especially during assembly processes.

    Key industry participants in the global market are Fanuc, ABB, Yaskawa and Kuka. Other Prominent Vendors include, Apex Automation and Robotics, Adept Technology, Denso Robotics, Kawasaki Robotics, Epson Robotics, Mitsubishi Electric, Rethink Robotics, TM Robotics, Nachi Robotic Systems and Universal Robots.

    Background development Unibap AB

    Looking back at the investments leading up to this breakthrough is the vision of the company, background knowledge, strong team of Talents, teaming with Advanced Micro Devices (AMD®), intellectual property, and focused technology investments often in collaboration with premier academia. Unibap laid out its vision in 2017, illustrating patented novel ideas for optimal robot cells and ZERO programming flexible manufacturing, allowing both small-medium sized (SME) companies and large company to harness the power of AI and advanced robotics. This was presented in the following movie.

    In the autumn of 2017, Unibap demonstrated the vision of Intelligent Automation for industrial assembly application in partnership with Robotdalen using an ABB robot and the Unibap jigless ZEPA CAD/CAM tool. Assembly is one of the most important and highly valued tasks that is associated with a high degree of manual labor.

    The common language of OPC UA is showing signs of becoming a widely used standard. Unibap has already demonstrated the ability to leverage GE Predix® framework which already uses OPC UA.

    Artificial Intelligence doesn’t hide ahead. Unibap has already brought it to Smart Factories and Plants and can scale customers potential to excel and increase growth.

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