It is no surprise that industrial robots are here to stay. What many don’t appreciate is the path by which they arrived on our manufacturing floors. Human workers were often exposed to hazardous working environments in dirty, dull and/or dangerous jobs. Industrial robotics replaced many of these jobs and workplace safety benefitted accordingly. But these very robots started to degrade while working in the same harsh environments. Roboworld was founded in 1993 to provide protection for industrial automation in extreme manufacturing environments. These applications include extremes of temperature, corrosive atmospheres or chemical exposure, explosive dust and vapors, media blasting and die casting environments (to name only a few). A Robosuit® protects the underlying robot—just as a fireman’s jacket would protect them while battling a blaze.
Each Robosuit® is tailored to the specific OEM make, model and environment. Roboworld offers over 20 different technical fabrics, aramids, glasses and laminates to address the vast majority of needs across the full-spectrum of industrial manufacturing applications. Coverage need not stop at the robot however. Roboworld custom manufactures protective covers for the robot control gear, end-of-arm tooling (grippers) and much, much more.
Offering Innovative Solutions to Protect More than Just the Robot
Roboworld’s robust portfolio of industrial robot protection products was recently supplemented with the introduction of Pendant Armor®. Pendant Armor® protects the robotic teach pendant from damage much like a protective case or OtterBox® does for a cell phone. Roboworld Molded Products LLC, was founded in 2016 as a result of customer demand for incremental protection for this critical component of the automation chain. A teach pendant is essentially a Human Machine Interface (HMI) that workers use to program and operate a robot. Like other devices that humans handle—they are prone to bumps, drops and accidental damage. Pendant Armor® leverages Roboworld’s previous 25-yrs of experience protecting industrial robots from hazardous environments and extends protection to this very critical piece of equipment.
Utilizing their robust background in material science, aviation manufacturing techniques and engineering, Roboworld Molded Products developed over a dozen different bumpers for the most popular brands of industrial robot teach pendants. Each design specifically addresses those areas of the teach pendant that are prone to damage if accidentally dropped.
Careful consideration of material properties ensures that the Pendant Armor® bumper can tolerate the most demanding operating conditions yet mitigate between 50% to 70% of the shock associated with an accidental fall. Thoughtful consideration to ergonomics, weight and screen protection ensures that the teach pendant is ready to tackle the same demands as the robot.
The Innovative Mind Behind Roboworld and Roboworld Molded Products
President & CEO, Chris Tur is the innovative personality behind the automation industry’s leading-edge family of Roboworld Companies. His career has largely followed a technology-inspired path. From the field of Biomedical Engineering to naval aviation, to energy and now robotics, Chris enjoys innovating, and routinely challenges the status quo.
Of many notable accomplishments throughout his career, he was a key leader on the development team for the world’s fastest passenger ferry propulsion turbine (HSC Francisco) while working at General Electric. Chris has also been recognized for leadership and combat performance with the U.S Navy, holds more than 10 patents in Robotics, is a former TEDx presenter, and routinely guest-lectures at universities about innovation and entrepreneurship.
Success is Largely Attributed to the Founder
Roboworld’s success is largely attributed to the entrepreneurial spirit of its founder Charles Tur. It was his vision more than 25 years ago that proved the company could bolster the overall market demand for industrial robotics by offering incremental protection in hazardous manufacturing environments.
Were an OEM to adapt their entire product line to a very narrow subset of customer requirements, it would be very inefficient and costly. That’s where Roboworld and Roboworld Molded Products excels.
Today, Roboworld and Roboworld Molded Products enjoys sales of its gear through three distinct channels to market: OEM-direct, to Integrators/Distributors, and to automation end-users directly.
Hottest Trends in Industrial Robotics and Our Collective Robotic Future
Recently, industrial robotics has enjoyed a tremendous surge in demand. The International Federation of Robotics (IFR) has projected an incremental delivery of 1-million robots by 2020.
Today, the hottest trends in industrial robotics include:
- Accelerated adoption of collaborative robots— robots that supplement the human workforce in order to increase production-line efficiency and productivity.
- The introduction of Robots as a Service (RaaS) where manufacturers ‘rent’ automation in order to fill specific demands over relatively short periods of time without owning the capital of production.
- Incorporation of Artificial Intelligence (AI) into sensor technology such as vision systems, predictive safety algorithms, and control software that will make robots safer, faster and more efficient.
- New segments of manufacturing such as agricultural production, medicine, food processing/packaging and autonomous vehicles will unveil even more uses for robots.
The Entrepreneur’s Challenge
Awareness is the biggest challenge facing Pendant Armor®. Since Roboworld Molded Products is the first company to offer mass-produced, patented, energy absorbing bumpers for teach pendants, very few people are aware that the technology to protect them even exists. For the past 40- years, people just accepted the downtime and high cost to repair these items. Roboworld Molded Products is investing aggressively in marketing campaigns and international development activities to generate awareness.
Upcoming Products for the Ever-Changing Market
Roboworld Molded Products work continually with robotic OEMs to offer incremental protection for their teach pendants and new robot models. They are introducing injection molded covers for grippers, collaborative robot protection, and are exploring other market adjacencies due to the rough nature of other pendant applications as well.