Realtime Robotics and Mitsubishi Electric are working together to create the next generation of smart, industrial robots. The partnership will accelerate and simplify robotic automation, enabling robots to operate safely and efficiently in unstructured and dynamic environments. The custom solution combines Realtime Robotics’ innovative technology with Mitsubishi Electric’s industrial and collaborative robots.
Despite the growing demand for automation, multi-robot work cells require complicated, time-consuming and costly programming, which has been a barrier to the automation of new tasks. This problem intensifies in environments where humans interact with machines. It is a challenge for a collaborative robot to work alongside a human operator; cobots, for example, operate at low speeds and are designed to stop immediately when contact is detected.
However, it is a much bigger challenge to work closely alongside a multi-robot cell deploying industrial robots that operate at a fast pace.
The partnership between Mitsubishi Electric and Realtime Robotics paves the way for a collaborative and multi-robot work cell, using industrial robots as well as purpose-designed collaborative robots to work alongside people. It builds on the existing initiative between the two companies to enable robots to work together in environments where there might be unplanned obstacles.
Realtime’s RapidPlan solution removes the need for manual motion planning and eliminates robot interlocking, significantly reducing deployment time and cost for multi-robot cells. The specialised software enables robots to evaluate millions of alternative motion paths to avoid a collision and choose the optimal route before making a move - all in milliseconds. Realtime's RapidSense solution integrates with RapidPlan providing a turn-key spatial perception solution. RapidSense provides dynamic obstacle avoidance, ensuring an efficient work cell.
The Mitsubishi Electric and Realtime Robotics solution can more than halve the development time and costs involved in creating a multi-robot work cell. The resulting optimised, collision-free, autonomous operations will reduce cycle times and increase profitability. Industrial robots can now be deployed in a collaborative setting, without physical barriers, cages or interlocks with guaranteed collision-free operation.
The integrated solution will deliver the productivity and efficiency gains that increased automation has long promised.
Mitsubishi Electric has taken an equity stake in Realtime Robotics to help accelerate the development of its solutions. The new industrial robot systems will be commercially available before the end of this year.
The next step for Realtime Robotics and Mitsubishi Electric will be to allow people and multiple robots to work within the same area. A working pilot cell has already been shown at trade fairs in Japan and Germany.