What is the story behind Universal Robot’s e-series?
Founded by three university students from Denmark, Universal Robot is a pioneer company that designed the first collaborative robots. Seeing the difficulty of implementing robots in small industries, they set the challenge of creating flexible, lightweight and easy-to-program robots.
As they envisioned robots processing tasks in interaction with workers and without fences to protect them, many actors of the industry were expressing doubts. Yet, in 2008, they successfully convinced a Danish company to buy their prototype to load and unload their machines. From that moment, various Universal Robot models have proven their value in making automation accessible to employees without risk.
With the launch of their UR e-series models in 2018, the company has built on its expertise by adding a modern, intuitive interface and enhanced motion and safety features. And the URe models adapted for medium-range tasks are one of their most versatile models to date.
How does URe models work?
After unpacking and attaching the URe cobot to its mounting bracket, you need to choose the right gripper to install on the arm flange. Through the e-series control interface, you need then define the various contact points of your gripper to properly handle objects. You require also to assign the payload and the center of gravity of your tool.
After you have set up your robot, you can then start programming a task. By specifying the type of motion (non-linear, linear, constant, or circle), you can define the different waypoints. To do this, you can use the digital interface to move the cobot to specific positions. You can also add commands for waiting, action, and control of external devices.
Note that with a recent update, users can use the free-running lock to move the robot from one point to another. They can also optimize the speed of work by applying path smoothing across different points.
Universal Robot has also developed a visual scanner connected to the robot that can detect objects with high consistency. Thanks to it, the robot use computer vision to adapt to more flexible tasks (such as unloading machines with different quantities or shapes of objects).
When you’re done programming, you can then test and check the work process.
Regarding safety conditions, although the robot naturally detects collisions, you can improve it by turning on the slow-motion mode in interaction or by defining a working area. The interface also has an emergency stop button.
What are the field applications of the URe models?
A versatile robot, the UR e-series can handle all the common applications assigned to cobots:
- Machine loading and unloading
- Gluing and welding
- Packing and unpacking
- Quality control
What about the interaction with the UR e-series ?
The experience with URe is quite fluid and complete, and adapts to many work processes. After all, Universal Robot was the first to invent the modern cobot concept. So they know what they are talking about!
On the one hand, programming the robot, while a bit more interface-dependent than other models, is done quickly and accurately. The free motion feature is a real addition to making programming intuitive.
As workers get used to creating motion steps, they can make URe perform more complex and varied work paths. This can also improve the efficiency and speed of the path. But beware that it can also decrease the life expectancy of robot-components.
On the other hand, the external ActiNav component provides URe with valuable sensory features for more specific applications such as moving and sorting small parts. It allows the robot to run on more variable processes and seems to be quite reliable in terms of operating autonomously. While setting up the smart vision may require more technical skills, UR’s educational resources help master its many intricacies. ActiNav allows the cobot to operate on more original applications.
The safety features are also very comprehensive, from slow-motion production mode to spatial work boundaries. Workers can really feel that the interaction is safe and pleasant. They will also like the good ergonomics, which make it a reliable companion in more repetitive tasks. With UR e-series, they can free up time for more satisfying tasks.
What to make of Universal Robot e-series ?
In conclusion, the UR e-series is bringing refreshing improvements to the leading cobotic models in the market. With a newly-intuitive user interface, they provide a better experience but without radical changes. Besides that, URe models keep the successful benefits of their predecessors: unbeatable versatility, the UR+ wide compatibility, and reliable performance. So they will easily convince many production managers to upgrade their version.