ABB launches integrated force control for its automated robots to increase tactile feedback

Leading power and automation technology group, ABB announces the release of the Integrated Force Control, a new technology that makes robots more intelligent and able to handle variations in the process with real-time external inputs.

Dexterous handling of work-pieces and tools is of the utmost concern from machining to small parts assembly. Small variations in the manufacturing phase can mean the difference between success and failure.

Conventional robotic solutions are controlled by predefined paths and speeds. With ABB Integrated Force Control, the robot reacts to its surrounding and can deviate from its programmed path or speed based on feedback from the force sensor. It is possible to automate complex tasks, which previously required skilled personnel and advanced fixed automation.

ABB’s Robotic Product Specialist Paolo Maggi explains Integrated Force Control opens up the possibility to automate tasks that have not been possible using traditional robot automation. He adds that robotic solutions are less expensive and require a greater degree of flexibility compared with expensive, hard automation. 

Robotic assembly can be very demanding with small tolerances and small parts that must fit together. However, ABB’s Integrated Force Control feature allows assembly of parts with tolerances that are within the range of the robot’s incredibly precise repeatability without requiring highly accurate and expensive fixtures. 

A force-controlled robot can be programmed to mimic the movements of a human arm, applying search patterns to find the correct position to assemble a given part. Users of the Integrated Force Control feature can also significantly reduce the risk of assembly failures that can otherwise cause production problems or damaged parts.

ABB’s Integrated Force Control enables system integrators a new dimension of robot intelligence in machining applications such as grinding, polishing, deburring and deflashing. One of the features allows a robot to grind, polish or buff parts while maintaining a constant force between the tool and the work piece. Another feature enables a robot to deburr or deflash partlines and surfaces of parts at a controlled speed, slowing down when encountering excessive burrs or casting flash. 

The force sensor is fully integrated into ABB’s hardware and software, protected against overload and EMC, certified to IP65 and suitable for high precision robotic applications with a compact and lightweight design.