Tomorrow’s Manufacturing Technologies Today

WHERE ARE THE INNOVATORS PART 4: New Disruptive Design – Robot Tool Changer

SMARTSHIFT Robotics – Honefoss Norway has developed a new Advanced Technology Product for Robotic applications. Their Patented tool change system is unlike anything else in the marketplace, it significantly increases the usability of a single robot by allowing it to be used with many different types of tooling. Their system can tool change rapidly and “on the fly” allowing the user to add more tasks to a robots where different tooling is needed.  Their innovative design is both highly accurate and economical and helps solve some real End-Of-Arm-Tooling challenges found in some of the newer use cases in robotics. (See examples below)

Lars Julius Skulstad –Global Business Manger says the fundamental idea is rather than putting more burden on designing grippers to do everything, make the tool changing simple, fast, and economical and use as many standard grippers and custom tooling as needed to increase the robots justification.

Use Case 1: Warehousing and Fulfillment Center

Consider the challenges relating to the demands of robot automation used at a Warehouse and Fulfillment Centers. There are cart types of robots or AGV’S moving on-grid systems with partially filled orders and bulk stock but at certain locations, there are articulating robots that pick and place items to satisfy the order being processed. How many different types of gripping systems would you need to pick all of the different items in your typical grocery store? The SMARTSHIFT robot tool changer is fast, simple, and economical ideally suited for a large number of different types of End Of Arm Tools needed for a robot packing cell at fulfillment centers.

Use Case 2: Unpackaged Food Manufacturing – Bakery

Consider the challenges relating to the demands of robotics used on highly automated bakery bread slicing and bagging machines. There is plenty of technology capable of vision for quality inspection and part identification using it for sorting and lane balancing but picking all of the different shapes at high speeds and from the top without damage is most efficiently done with vacuum and the vacuum systems get contaminated by the loose flour and grains.

The SMARTSHIFT robot tool changer is fast, simple and economical, ideally suited when used as a part of a multiple redundant EOAT tool carousel that purges and cleans the vacuum systems. Just change the tool for a fresh one when the vacuum drops.

Use Case 3:  Food Service Industry – Fast Food Prep.

Consider the challenges relating to the demands of robotic automation used for food service preparation. Picking, flipping, and handling different types of food from different types of surfaces without contamination. Consider the demands of robotic  EOAT utensil cleaning and sterilization all done at high speeds, and order packaging EOAT needs as well.

The Smartshift  robot tool changer is fast, simple, and economical, ideally suited when used as a part of a multiple redundant EOAT utensil carousel that cleans the sterilizes. Just change the utensil for a clean one and clean them offline.