The success of IAS providers can, say the trade fair organisers, be measured by the fact that IAS generated more than half of the €11.4 billion record result of the entire German automation industry in 2014. The VDMA Robotics + Automation expects further sales growth of four percent both in 2015 and 2016.
Development has already been constantly toward smaller batch sizes, increasing variety and shorter product life cycles in assembly automation for some years. What manufacturers want here: flexibility. IAS providers are focussing increasingly on modularity, system concepts that can adapt to the order situation and the reduction of setup times thanks to automated solutions, which enable efficient installation of smaller batch sizes. They are also introducing many other technology details for increasing flexibility.
The most recent developments in human-robot collaboration for flexible assembly will feature at the trade fair. The combination of manual and mechanical skills can prove to be particularly economical at all places where the assembly of small batch sizes in many variations is required. Fraunhofer IPA (photo, above) scientists will exhibit workplaces at Automatica where workers perform demanding tasks manually and are supported by robots that handle repetitive, non-ergonomic activities at the same time. The collaborative robot systems are integrated into mobile tool trolleys and can be docked to manual workstations as needed.
Automatica also takes a look at conventional assembly systems and equipment, which still make up the lion's share in practice. In many applications, it concerns the fundamental question of linear transfer systems versus rotary transfer systems. Many of the exhibitors have all solution variants in their product range.