Robotics company OptoForce opened a U.S. office missioned with bringing a much-needed sense of touch for robots. Already used successfully in medical and service sectors and other difficult-to-automate assembly tasks throughout Western Europe and Asia.
Easy-to-install, light-weight and robust, the OptoForce 6-axis sensors create a sense of touch for robots required to perform high-precision work such as polishing, bolt insertion, and other finer assembly tasks. Currently compatible with robots from Universal Robots and KUKA, OptoForce sensors automate these tasks, increasing efficiency, speeding project development and decreasing overall production costs.
“With robots working more closely with humans, they need to accurately and precisely sense their surroundings and accomplish many tasks requiring the dexterity and sensitivity of the human hand,” said Ákos Dömötör, CEO, OptoForce. “Equipped with OptoForce high-precision sensors, these robots can now feel if they are placing an object in the right place or need to adjust it, and can automatically correct course. This speeds the production process and ultimately decreases costs, an ideal scenario for many U.S. manufacturers that have long offshored production due to high labor costs and the traditionally high cost of automation.”
OptoForce founders, then university students, worked together on a walking robot, where they faced constant issues with the weight, rigidity and cost of then available multi-axis force sensors. To address the many challenges, they developed a prototype of the current sensors that used infrared light to detect deformations of the silicone sensor structure. This radically new and unique approach forms the basis of the current OptoForce solution and guarantees precise measurements even up to 200 percent overload.
Gary Eliasson to lead OptoForce North American efforts
Gary Eliasson will champion this technology and lead the OptoForce office in introducing a sense of touch to North American automation. OptoForce launches this initiative at a good time. With the 2016 North American robotics market breaking all-time records in orders and shipments, according to the Robotic Industries Association (RIA) survey, OptoForce looks forward to playing a seminal role in the automation of North American manufacturing initiatives.
“Today’s robotics tasks require a new level of sensitivity,” Eliasson said. “OptoForce delivers this level of competence, outperforming related technologies in precision, cost, strength and flexibility. This opens up opportunities for companies to decrease costs and improve productivity.”
Eliasson first mandate will be to develop a strong distributor network. Current OptoForce distributors include Essential Robot Products and The Knotts Company, Inc.
OptoForce expansion is backed by robot technology investor, Enrico Krog Iversen, as well as private equity investors Day One Capital and Finext Startup. Iversen sold Danish robot manufacturer Universal Robots to the U.S.-based Teradyne in 2015.