Product News16/08/2022

Flowtech uncovers the next generation of FESTO pneumatic powered cobots.

Advantages Of Forged Fittings
Advantages Of Forged Fittings

The robots are coming! – Flowtech uncover the next generation of FESTO pneumatic powered cobots.

Since the 1920s the idea of robots has both fascinated and troubled us. Science fiction has brought us mechanical beings to carry out our less desirable tasks, whilst also secretly plotting to take over when we weren't looking.

Reality has been never far behind fiction, only 32 years later in 1962, General Motors was the first major manufacturer to use a 6-axis robot in its production line.

Fluid power has long been integral to the robots operating within all kinds of industry; performing actions that could otherwise endanger humans. However, the bots themselves have often posed a physical threat to worker safety, provoking a need for safety cages, or functioning in entirely human-free areas.

Increasingly businesses need more of their operations to be automated, calling for humans and robots to safely share a workspace. Cue the ‘cobot’, these are “collaborative robots” –designed to work and interact closely with their human colleagues. Cobots have already been adopted into many industrial settings enhancing their human colleagues’ strength and optimising processes.  

"This pneumatic technology also makes it a cost-effective option, so even small to medium businesses will be able to update their manual processes."

Pneumatics enable a new generation of cobots

But even a new generation of cobots is dawning their own relatively new era. Flowtech’s supply partners FESTO have recognised that as an industrial market sector, human-robot collaboration will increase rapidly over the coming years.

They have combined their expertise in pneumatics and handling technology with inspiration from bionics and technical knowledge in the world's first pneumatic cobot.

Unlike its electric siblings with their expensive force-torque sensors and heavy gear units the pneumatic cobot employs especially lightweight direct drives in its articulated joints. These flexible and light pneumatic drives reduce its contact energy meaning the cobot behaves sensitively – at a speed appropriate to the situation and with fluid, harmonious movements. This pneumatic technology also makes it a cost-effective option, so even small to medium businesses will be able to update their manual processes.


It's the human touch

When touched, it is as soft as contact with a human being. With precise pressure regulators in the joints, the robot recognises when it is touched by a person and reacts using appropriate safety functions. It is completely safe for employees to cooperate with their careful technical colleague.

The developers have also created this cobot to be exceptionally easy to programme and operate by its user with no need for lengthy training. The graphic programming with easy-to-use function "skills" and the 3D visualisation guarantee that the Festo Cobot can be programmed in the shortest possible time.

At Flowtech we’re proud to say we’re FESTO partners, and you can find the full range of FESTO pneumatic and electromechanical systems and components on our website. All suitable for a vast range of industry sectors, including food processing and packaging, automotive, electronics, biopharma and life sciences.

The FESTO cobot goes on sale in 2023, and in the meantime remember ­– don’t turn your back on the robots.