FLEXIV SHOWCASES OPEN-ENVIRONMENT INTERACTIVE DEMOS IN ITS SOFT LAUNCH OF ADAPTIVE ROBOTS
From April 1st to 5th, 2019, Hannover Messe 2019 was successfully held in Germany. In this global event, Flexiv introduced the concept of Adaptive Robots for the first time, with their soft launch of the first adaptive robot product, Rizon. It is unique that three open-environment interactive demos were setup for visitors to closely and freely experience the latest robotics technology without following strict instructions.
Site Response With the theme of “Integrated Industry – Industrial Intelligence”, Hannover Messe established an international communication platform on Industry 4.0, which attracted more than 215,000 visitors and 6,500 outstanding exhibitors worldwidely. During the trade fair, Flexiv drew great attentions from a large number of potential customers and business partners in various industries, relevant suppliers, experts in the field of robotics and automation, and media from different countries. Hundreds of company representatives (including dozens of Fortune 500 companies) visited the booth and showed strong interest in applying Flexiv’s adaptive robot products to automations in different industries, such as automotive, consumer electronics, transportation, power plant, chemical and etc. It is worth mentioning that Flexiv also received revisits by executives from many leading companies. Industry insiders with different backgrounds highly recognized Flexiv’s concept of Adaptive Robot, and showed great interest in Flexiv’s business model of turnkey solution, which effectively addresses the pain points and brings significant value to industrial customers. In addition, there are approximately 100 integrators and distributors, and many suppliers that are looking forward to partnership. Through this exhibition, Flexiv has received hundreds of valid inquiries about the Early Adopter Program (EAP), leading to a potential market demand of a few thousands of adaptive robots.
Soft Launch of Rizon Rizon, the first Adaptive Robot, fuses high-performance force control, computer vision and AI technology. Different from conventional industrial robot and collaborative robot, the Adaptive Robot has three distinctive traits which are defined by Flexiv: high tolerance for position variance, great disturbance rejection, and intelligent transferability.
● High tolerance for position variance. The error can come from inevitable manufacture tolerance of workpiece, mounting tolerance of workpiece, deflection of workpiece, accumulated error in the automation line due to operation and sensing procedures, or error from AI vision system if applicable. The Adaptive Robot has the ability to perform tasks despite uncertainty in positioning.
● Great disturbance rejection. The disturbance can come from the vibration of the base (AGV etc.) where the robot is mounted, vibration introduced by the tool equipped on the robot, conveyor or even interference from human in an open environment. The Adaptive Robot has the ability to maintain performance even amid significant changes in the environment.
● Intelligent transferability. The robot can be smart enough to handle a wide variety of similar but different parts (e.g. different types of connectors) or be quickly deployed from one task to another similar task without too much setup and programming effort.
Open-environment Interactive Demos All of Flexiv’s adaptive robots in the tradeshow were setup as open-environment interactive demos, which allowed visitors to interfere and interact with any part of the robots. Rizon uninterruptedly performed the tasks with the best effort to maintain good efficiency. This kind of demos dissolved constraints of interaction between the robot and the audience that are limited by safety architect and level of autonomy, which brought a new experience to the audience.
Flexiv provided three types of interactive demos, which are basic interaction demo, connector assembling demo, and complex surface polishing demo. All Rizon demos have successfully run under intensive interaction with the audience for 5 days throughout the tradeshow, which is a great proof of good maturity and reliability of the product. The basic interaction demo fully demonstrates Rizon’s fluent and concise industrial design, thanks to component-level innovations that enable compact joint, link and control box designs. The audience were impressed not only by the design itself, but also how it helps to build up trust and smooth interaction experience between the robot and human.
(visitors are interacting with Rizon)
In the demo, Rizon can be switched among three different modes:
● Fixed End-effector Mode: the end-effector is actively fixed with compliance to contacts on other locations of the arm.
● Plane Floating End-effector Mode: the end-effector can be moved smoothly on a predefined horizonal plane, with virtual spring forces that pushes it back to the initial position. The orientation of the end-effector is fixed vertically, with compliance to contacts on other locations of the arm.
● Constant-force Gliding Mode: the robot repetitively glide on any contact surfaces with a constant normal force.
Connector assembling has always been one of the pain points in the automation industry. Flexiv Adaptive Robot can solve this problem very well with its high tolerance for position variance. Rizon uses AI vision technology to identify, coarsely locate the target connector under ambient light for grasping, and then inserts it into the socket by further adjustment with force-guided motion (similar to how human is doing). Rizon can adapt to different positions of the target connectors with no special lighting, and not cause any physical damage to the connector. During the assembling process, the audience was allowed to disturb the robot on any part of the arm. Rizon was remaining compliant and autonomously decide to either to perform uninterruptedly, pause or reinsert according to the actual situation.
(the connector assembling demo)
In the soft launch, Flexiv also demonstrated a simple and effective solution for complex surface polishing, which is another pain point in the automation industry. In the polishing demo, Rizon adapted to the curved surface in real-time without knowing the workpiece geometry, and applied constant pressure to polish with the tool perpendicular to the contact surface, while moving left and right. (users can get rid of accurate shape scanning, pre-programming or any precise workpiece fixture, and only focus on the polishing technique itself, such as polishing pattern and pressure, which effectively accelerate the deployment.) The workpiece for this demo was fixed on a floating fixture, of which the audience can adjust the vertical and horizontal position by spinning the corresponding handles anytime while the robot is polishing. Throughout the process, the audience were also allowed to interfere the robot on any place of the arm. Rizon was able to perform uninterruptedly when the payload was not exceeded, which demonstrated its great capability of disturbance rejection.
(the complex surface polishing demo)
About Flexiv Flexiv Ltd. is a global leading robotics and AI company, focusing on developing and manufacturing adaptive robots which integrate force control, computer vision and AI technologies. Flexiv provides innovative turnkey solutions and services based on Flexiv robotic systems to customers in multi industries. The company started in 2016, with core founding team from robotics and AI laboratories at Stanford University.