Robotic innovations on show at Hannover Messe 2016

A robotic rollercoaster, a basketball-playing robot and a humanoid ‘virtual twin’ named Poppy are some of the interactive robotic displays on show at this year’s Hannover Messe.

The lead theme of this year’s show, ‘Integrated Industry - Discover Solutions’, highlights ways of making industry smart using digital technology, aka 'Industry 4.0'. It offers visitors the opportunity to learn how manufacturing companies are converting traditional industrial plants into smart factories.Many exhibitors have chosen to use robots and other electronic devices to demonstrate their technology, sparking conversation with visitors, as they exhibit the latest advances in research, manufacturing, industry and energy systems. Don’t take our word for it, though - even the robots are talking about the fun things on display.

“I am really into this event. So many cool robots. Look at this one, for example,” says Moscow Technical Institute’s ‘employee’ robot, which has come along to Hannover to help with entertaining visitors to this year’s fair.

The robot, supplied by Roborenta - specialists in supplying robot ‘employees’ for use by individual companies - is dressed in a bowtie and equipped with a microphone and can be found exploring the Research and Innovation hall.

The products discussed below are just a few of the innovative displays on show across the fair.

Kuka Coaster

You may not think 'theme park' when you hear the words ‘industry and automation’, but this is exactly what German company Kuka Robotics is currently displaying along the Automation and IT red carpet at Hannover Messe.

The Kuka Coaster is a robotic rollercoaster and the world’s first robot which is licensed to carry passengers. It is more flexible and unpredictable than a traditional rollercoaster, with no tracks to show the users what might come next.

Thrill seekers are strapped onto the end of the large robot’s ‘arm’, much in the same way as any rollercoaster, and are then taken through a personalised thrill experience. Possible moves include hanging upside down, sharp turns, swinging side to side and being thrown into the air.

Kawasaki MG10HL articulated robot

A little more industrial is the Kawasaki MG10HL articulated robot (pictured in the image carousel at the top of this page), which was demonstrated carrying a small vehicle. The MG10HL is an ultra-high payload robot with a maximum weight capacity of one ton – the largest of any Kawasaki robot.

The robot was designed as a solution to the growing need for devices capable of handling ultra-heavy goods, such as components for large-sized products including automobiles, ships and aircraft.

Dassault Systemes Poppy

To deal with education and training within robotics, Dassault systems have developed Poppy, a project which combines an open source 3D-printed robot and 3D experience software.

The small model on display at Hannover Messe is hooked up to a computer which, according to Dassault Systmes, acts as the ‘brain’ of the robot. The robot can be manipulated by hand to create a range of movements and gestures. Once handled, the 3D experience software takes over, allowing the robot to repeat the movement.

The full-size Poppy System was designed collaboratively with engineering school Arts & Métiers ParisTech, for use in teaching mechanical engineering, mechatronics, internet of things, manufacturing and industrial engineering.

Basketball-playing Lapp Robot

Lapp robotics have a whole host of devices on show at this year’s fair, but one of the main attraction to the Lapp Booth is a basketball-playing robot made by Lapp’s customer Comau. Visitors to the booth are invited to shoot some hoops with the Lapp robot, whose reaction skills are second to none.

It’s not all fun and games: the robot was designed to demonstrate the strain which Lapp robots are capable of withstanding.

“The ÖLFLEX® ROBOT cables, which are laid inside the robot arm must stand quick and precise movement under high torsion, tight bending radii and severe acceleration. Over a robot’s service life, this means that cables will be twisted 15 million times over 1400 degrees along their own axis,” explained Chairman Andreas Lapp.

Jumo mTRON T racetrack

JUMO mTRON T is monitoring and control system for use in industrial applications processes, which perhaps doesn’t seem like it will make the most eye-catching of displays. At Hannover Messe this year, Jumo are demonstrating their mTRON T technology by inviting vistors to ‘race’ against the Mtron T system using a small model race track.

One of two vehicles is steered around the racetrack by the mTRON T system, which carefully monitors the speed and the position of the race car, while the other is taken on by any willing competitor. The system is fast, and precise, never seeming to stray away from the track, but it’s not quite unbeatable.

There are plenty more robots on display, including collision tolerant drones from Flyability; the ultra-light BioRob robot from Bionic Robotics; and a multi-use ‘helper’ robot from Leibniz University, Hannover. 

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