Currently, Europe has the leadership role worldwide in the development and integration of robotic applications. This leadership strengthens the European position in advanced manufacturing sectors, where robotic technology solutions open up new market opportunities, both by increasing efficiency and competitiveness over current processes and by the emergence of new processes and innovative products.
Because of this, the manufacturing sector is the most important source of European economic growth, with a turnover of € 7 trillion, representing 80% of total exports and 80% of private expenditure on R & D. But it must be borne in mind that EU companies can not compete on low prices quality products alone because of the high costs of production. Therefore the focus must be towards innovation, productivity, efficient use of resources and a high added value. In particular, digital technologies are at the core of increased productivity in the industry where robotics is one of the fundamental pillars.
In this context, since 2010, there has been a sharp increase in sales of robots, reaching new records in the number of units sold. This increase is linked to the use of, increasingly, intelligent robots with new technical capacities in terms of sound, interaction, autonomy and operational skills. As a result, there is an increase in the use of robotic solutions on new production sectors and applications. The latter causes a change of trend in the use of robots / industrial manipulators, moving from a model linked to mass production (typical of automotive), to a production model of small scale manufacturing.
In this context, the use of collaborative robotic solutions (operator-robot) provides flexible technological solutions that allow to promote the change of the production model towards a massive customization (made to measure), increasing in turn the efficiency of SMEs dedicated to manufacturing and opening up new market possibilities for both technology developers and new robotic users.
Until 10-15 years ago, the manufacturing trend with robotic solutions was linked to the use of robots enclosed behind a security fence performing repetitive tasks. However, the current trend is oriented to the increase of open industrial robots (without fencing), working in shared space hand-to-hand with operators.
Open space robotics is defined by the Robotics International Association as an emergent tendency to respond to the need for more intuitive and more easily accessible robotic systems or for the development of cooperative tasks with the improvement of the ergonomics), reducing the costs of use, the engineering works and the industrial floor occupied by the new lines / robotized cells by 5-10%.
Ontech, based on its patented Controlled Magnetic Field technology, is currently developing different technological solutions for this field of application, creating integrated systems that allow the safe use of industrial robotics - high speed and high load capacity - in working environment without fencing. This technology offers solutions in terms of perception and control that allow the development of dynamic multi-level security systems for use in flexible robotic manufacturing processes, generating safe and shared manufacturing environments.