How do you build collaborative robots that are reliable, safe, and easily adaptable?

This question must have been what led robot manufacturer and expert in linear technology, HIWIN, to opt for using Smart Motor Feedback Systems from SICK for pick-and-place applications with its new six-axis robots.

“With motor feedback systems from SICK, we have chosen an extremely space-saving and reliable solution that will also be suitable for future robotics applications,” HIWIN Product Manager Felix Herrling explained.

SICK’s proven one-cable technology is responsible for the space-saving and compact design of the motor feedback system used. The EKM36 has an integrated HIPERFACE DSL® interface and  offers all the well-known advantages associated with this: from minimal cabling requirements and the continuous production of histograms right the way up to permanent condition monitoring. This is all done via two wires of the digital interface. From a mechanical point of view, the EKM36 is based on the proven 36 mm design. In this compact space, the HIPERFACE DSL® technology enables absolute position determination and a resolution of up to 20 bits per revolution, as well as a maximum of 4,096 revolutions.

SICK's motor feedback system HIPERFACE DSL

Accurate positions as the basis for automation in collaborative robots

Thanks to the advantages of the EKM36, HIWIN achieves an extremely high level of accuracy with its RA605 six-axis robot. As a result, the jointed-arm robot is not only suited to handling small parts, it is also ideal for automated applications, such as the mounting, deburring, and polishing of workpieces on production lines. The integrated pneumatic and electric gripper interface maximizes system reliability, reduces sources of interference, and simplifies the programmed movement sequences. What’s more, HIWIN benefits from the SIL2 certification awarded to the encoder, which makes obtaining approvals in the European and American markets much easier. Safety certifications are also becoming an increasingly important factor for the Chinese market. The success of this cooperation between robot and sensor manufacturer means that a mini all-rounder is already available for the handling and pick-and-place sector.

Isolated HIWIN robotic arm

Cooperation leads to collaboration

Cooperation may be the buzzword in the field of collaborative robots, but in the smart factory of tomorrow, genuine collaboration between humans and machines really is what counts. Humans and machines that work hand-in-hand as equals is the future – a future which SICK is not only thinking about with its motor feedback systems, but one it is already making a reality with HIPERFACE DSL®. This was also a key argument for HIWIN in opting to use SICK products.

“With the EKM36 and HIPERFACE DSL®, we have made a conscious decision to look to the future. Collaborative robotics is already up and running with integrated functional safety technology,” said Herrling. He explained that the product will be able to meet all standard requirements relating to functional safety in the future without having to replace components. “The cooperation with SICK was excellent and went extremely smoothly. All our questions were answered expertly and promptly to our complete satisfaction by our dedicated contact.”