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The Cobots are coming!

By Mehmet Kaya - Last updated: Tuesday, November 22, 2016

What does serving ice cream have in common with tending a CNC machine? Both can be performed by Cobots.

The International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) is one of the largest industrial trade shows in the world, featuring 2,407 exhibiting companies and 115,612 registrants. The event is held every two years in September at McCormick Place in Chicago, which has a great, poetic skyline. It is worth experiencing at sunset to see the high rise buildings painted with golden color reflections.

Although this show is based on metal machining, there was an Automation Section. In this section, and around the show, major robot manufacturers (Fanuc, Kuka, Yaskawa, ABB, Kawasaki, Nachi, etc.) were present. They were showing their products not only in their stands but around all the show. I was pleased to observe that the cobotic effect on industrial automation was well represented. Most CNC machines were presenting the option of machine tending through cobotics.

Especially Fanuc, (one of the biggest robot manufacturers in the world) their stand was like a great robotics workshop or fanfare. From a gigantic, modern goliath type robot, which was throwing, swinging around a poor Corvette in the air, to small Cartesian machining robot (RoboNano) who was showing its mind blowing 0.1 nm resolution with pride.


Also, a bin picking robot was mesmerizing the attendees with its deep learning and ability to share its acquired knowledge with other robots. Fanuc’s new “Green Robot”, CR35 iA breaks all the payload records in the cobot weight lifting competition with 35 kg, the closest follower was around 15 kg.


Kuka’s cobots were very aesthetics comparing to their peers. In their stand, while Cobo-Waiter was preparing my coffee, dark with little milk according to my choice, I thought that would be our future; coffee, ice-cream parlors… elegantly moving, soft speaking cobots, cleaning the surfaces around the coffee machine, wishing me a great day in my native language maybe with a big and genuine smile, and not accompanied by a silent demand for a heavy tip.


Yaskawa had a great stand, especially a two robot team for machine tending. One of them was tending a roaring CNC machine center, another one moving around like Geisha’s melodical walk in Tokyo in the spring under cherry blossoms. It was as if they were rescuing their human collaborates from heavy, boring works and elevating them to a more sophisticated level of work.

Tandem Cobotic Scara arms from Kawasaki were newcomers into the cobotic world. No doubt they will make many things easier in assembly and service industries. I know already they are great for serving the delicious ice creams and they were not programmed to ask money yet.


Alongside the main robot manufacturers, they were many companies exhibiting their supporting products, like sensors, electro-mechanic equipment, end effectors, software, process control systems, especially image recognition devices (2D and 3D) and deep learning systems.

Following the development of the robotic industry always been a great pleasure over the years. Visiting IMTS was another great learning experience for me. Witnessing the cobotic advance into the Industrial Automation field and the recognition of their importance by major robotics companies was especially interesting.

Cambridge Consultants is in a great position to integrate Robotics or Cobotics systems for our clients utilizing its great skill set in robotic architecture, its wide experience in robotics, control, software, end effector design and vast ability to create and invent and implement process specific sensors.

May the Cobotic force and Cambridge Consultants be with you.


AuthorMehmet Kaya

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