Keba’s hand-held device bags German robotics award

Austria-headquartered Keba, an industry automation specialist and producer of mobile handheld terminals, wins the top prize at the recently held Robotics Award at Hannover Messe, for its KeTop T10 directMove handheld control device.

The Robotics Award is awarded by the Hannover Messe together with Industrieanzeiger and the Robotation Academy.

Criteria for judging included technical innovation, economic benefits for industry as well as impact on the environment and society.

KeTop T10 directMove operates intuitively, says Keba. To teach a robot its movement sequence known as the "teach-in" process is no easy task. Repeatedly conceptualising the three-dimensional movement options for a robot, mapped in the form of a coordinate system, and programming the movement paths, represent an extremely complex task. It really can take a very long time depending on skill level, the firm explains. Whereas, with KeTop T10 directMove’s intuitive concept, one simply shows the robot the path in effect.

Using inertial sensors of the 6D Inertial Measurement Unit (6D IMU), the KeTop T10 directMove detects its position and direction in the three-dimensional space. The operator therefore can easily specify the required movement or rotation by indicating the direction of motion and then operating a small joystick – regardless of his/her position relative to the robot. This means that no in-depth knowledge of coordinate systems is required.

The motion speed can be changed via the intensity of the joystick operation. This means that individual path points can be set and finely adjusted using the KeTop T10 directMove.

Where required, additional standard operating units and screen-based devices such as notebooks can also be used for programming.

Keba says that both experienced users and novices save around one fifth of the time (about 20%) required for the teach-in process, or a time

Practical studies show that time savings of up to 20% are possible, even for experienced robot operators. New users profit even more and are able to work reliably using the robot in shortest time.

For example, in service robotics where heavy loads are moved and complex coordinate systems are built upon each other, a teach-in is tricky to implement. But the KeTop T10 directMove offers a very noticeable increase in ease of operation. Even extricating the robot from tricky situations is simple, fast and safe, furthers Keba.

Focusing on the end-user, Keba ensures the unique level of usability of the new handheld unit. Ergonomics, weight and maximum ease-of-use are essential aspects of the KeTop T10 directMove.

The user has four operating modes available. It is possible to switch between these modes very simply as required. A 1.5" colour display indicates the active mode using icons:

  • directMove mode- The robot follows the direction instructions from the KeTop T10 directMove completely freely in the space.
  • snap2grid mode- Use of defined coordinate systems as reference directions for the KeTop T10 directMove for precisely directed movements of the robot.
  • virtual handle mode- The KeTop T10 directMove acts as a virtual handle on the tool center point (TCP) to change its alignment quickly and easily.
  • axial movement mode- for the direct movement of individual robot axes as with a conventional handheld device.

Emergency stop and a 3-position enabling switch ensure a consistently high safety standard equivalent to traditional handheld units. In addition, special safety functions prevent the robot following rapid, accidental movements of the KeTop T10 directMove directly, and joints that are moved too quickly are blocked.

Keba will be exhibiting the the KeTop T10 directMove at the Automatica 2014.


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