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ABB, Kawasaki create common interface for collaborative robots

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ABB and Kawasaki Heavy Industries, both global leading players in industrial automation and robotics, are showcasing the world’s first common collaborative robot operating interface at automatica in Munich, Germany from 19th-22nd June.

The common interface will also help address the shortage of skilled workers in many industries. In Japan for example, one person in five is within a decade of retirement.

Demand for collaborative robots has outpaced the rapidly-growing industrial robot market, as easier-to-use robots open doors to new users. The fact that collaborative robots can be programmed and operated by people without specialised training helps small and medium enterprises, in particular, to leapfrog traditionally longer industrial robot learning curves.

Collaborative robots (cobots) that can be operated by nearly any user can help offset labour shortages. Their flexibility to work nearly anywhere in a factory without safety barriers also makes them ideal for meeting sudden and unexpected demand peaks.

Per Vegard Nerseth, Managing Director of Robotics for ABB, said, “The new state-of-the-art, industry-standard operating interface will accelerate the already rapid growth we see in collaborative robots. It will give many new manufacturers flexibility and scalability, while providing more interesting jobs for the world’s vital industrial workforce.”

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