Plymouth engineering company, Applied Automation is pleased to announce that it is an official UK distributor of products from OptoForce, On Robot and EasyRobotics. These companies produce products that work with the Universal Robots collaborative robot arms, which Applied Automation is an existing UK ‘preferred partner’.

The sale of collaborative robots has seen tremendous growth in the last few years. A number of products have come to market that integrate with the robot arms which has further increased the number of applications they can be used for.

OptoForce is a Hungarian company that produce a force torque sensor that brings the sense of touch to industrial robots that otherwise require the dexterity of the human hand. Easy-to-install, light-weight and robust, the OptoForce 6-axis sensor offers greater opportunities to perform high-precision work such as polishing, box insertion, and other finer assembly tasks.

On Robot is a Danish company that make innovative plug and produce grippers that help manufacturers take full advantage of the benefits of collaborative robots. Certified by Universal Robots, the grippers are simple to program and install, with no external cables.

EasyRobotics is also a Danish company that produce a series of modular robot platforms that the Universal Robots robotic arms can be mounted onto and used for a variety of applications.  The ProFeeder unit is a modular robot cell that can be expanded in three steps, from small to large, where the expansion and investment is made in accordance with production needs. They also produce the ER5, which is a portable unit that compliments the range with a unique mobile platform that one person can easily move like pulling a suitcase.

Anders Kjempff, Chief Sales Officer of Easyrobotics said: “Having industrial experience is essential to build customer confidence and satisfaction in our products. Something that X-STK | Applied Automation have plenty of. With rising demand for collaborative robots and easy-to-move robot cells, like our popular ProFeeder solution, I’m optimistic this will be a positive relationship. I’m really looking forward to working with the great people at X-STK.”

A collaborative robot, commonly referred to as a cobot, can work alongside people without a protective cage. With grippers to pick items up and a sensor that brings the sense of touch to the robotic arm, these cobots are extremely versatile and can be used for tasks such as gluing, welding and assembly.

Ronald David, north European sales manager for On Robot and OptoForce said: “We’re excited to partner-up with X-STK | Applied Automation as one of our authorised distributors in the UK. The ethos behind both our products (collaborative gripper and force torque sensor) is to provide manufacturers with innovative technologies that are easy to understand, even without advanced engineering expertise. With these UR+ certified products, UK manufacturers can now automate applications that were once impossible and still be able to comply with the ever-increasing safety and quality standards.

“With more than 30 years of machine building for large-scale manufacturers, we’re confident the X-STK team are ideal partners for us to convey the features and benefits of our products to our existing and future customers in the UK.”

The use of industrial robots, particularly among SMEs, is seeing strong growth, although the UK lags behind many of its European neighbours and is below the world average in the use of industrial robots, suggesting Britain must automate more if it wants to stay competitive.

Managing Director David Rowe said: “It is astonishing when you consider the range of applications collaborative robots are being used for today, especially when paired with sensors and grippers. This is especially welcome for SMEs who until recently found similar devices prohibitively expensive. Now they’re affordable, our job is to show customers how to integrate them into their existing production environment.”

The cobot market is growing. Universal Robots announced recently that their 2017 performance showed a 72 percent increase on sales in 2016. Unlike conventional robotic solutions, cobots are designed to work hand-in-hand with operators with maximum efficiency, opening up more opportunities for human-robot collaboration in the workplace.

Andy Haly, Sales Director said: “These highly versatile cobots can take on a wide spectrum of tasks and have the fastest payback time in the industry, making them a viable option for small-scale businesses where conventional options may be too expensive.”

Applied Automation have been machine builders for over 30 years. X-STK (pronounced ex-stock) is the product sales division of Applied Automation is able to draw on that knowledge and offer effective solutions for their customers.

X-STK | Applied Automation continues to expand its product range, building on established long-standing partnerships with global brands including Omron and SMC, Universal Robots, Rittal, Weidmuller and Eaton.