Universal Robots to launch next-gen lightweight robots


Universal Robots, the Danish manufacturer of flexible industrial robot arms, has released the third generation of the lightweight robots UR5 and UR10, with revised robot arms featuring the true absolute encoders, eight new adjustable safety rated functions, twice the number of built-in I/O’s and the improved possibilities for connecting equipment to the control boxes.

Universal Robots
Image credit: www.universal-robots.dk

The six-jointed, cost-efficient robot arms UR5 and UR10 are especially suited for small and medium sized businesses. Thanks to their light weight and their user-friendly handling via touch pad, a wide range of applications can be programmed quickly without complex training or deep technological knowhow.

According to Universal Robots, the safety system UR Safety 3.0 of the new generation is certified by TÜV Nord and tested in accordance with EN ISO 13849:2008 PL d and EN ISO 10218-1:2011, Clause 5.4.3., thereby confirming the continuation of the safe human-robot collaboration that characterises the company and their product offering.

“We are the only manufacturer of lightweight robot arms which already has a long lasting experience in a wide variety of industries. Our R&D department worked hard in order to integrate input and feedback from end users in our product development,” said Enrico Krog Iversen, Universal Robots CEO, on the latest development from Denmark.

The robot arms UR5 and UR10 are equipped with a number of new features, despite retaining the same visual appearance of the six-jointed arm with a payload of 5/10 kilos.

A central innovation of the new generation of UR robots is the True Absolute Encoder. This technical improvement enables a faster start-up of the robot arms. The absolute position is recognised right after the switching-on, eliminating the need for jogging during initialisation of the robot arm. For this reason UR5 and UR10 are now suited for an automatic start-up – even though no battery is needed for this function. It also features sixteen additional digital I/Os, which are easy to configure either as digital signals or as safety signals, a revised design of the control box and a rebuilt controller are further improvements.

“With the integration of the True Absolute Encoder, our robot-arms can be integrated even more easily into other machineries while  start-up also becomes much faster and simpler for all applications,” explained Esben H. Østergaard, Universal Robots CTO.

The safety settings of the latest generation of Universal Robots’ lightweight robots can be adjusted for each specific solution. The robot arm can run in two operating modes of the safety functions; a normal and a reduced one. A switch between safety settings during the robot’s operation is also possible. To achieve this, eight safety functions are monitored by the new patented safety system: Joint positions and speeds, TCP positions, orientation, speed and force, as well as the momentum and power of the robot. The settings can only be changed in a password protected area.

“Our new patented safety concept is a logical development of our previous robot arms. The revised UR5 and UR10 can be operated in different modes depending on the context. For example, when a human enters the robots work-cell, it can continue to operate in reduced mode, and then resume full speed when he leaves again. Or the robot can run full speed inside a CNC machine, and then reduced speed when outside,” said Østergaard.

The official release of the next Generation of robots from Universal Robots is planned for September.

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