At CEATEC JAPAN 2016, Epson Sales and Seiko Epson have for the first time exhibited their industrial robot system with force sensors that enables finely detailed work.
A centerpiece exhibit in the robotics field
Having announced their long-term “Epson 25” vision, which consists of innovation in the four areas of inkjets, visuals, wearables, and robotics, the Epson Group holds this force sensor system exhibit up as the centerpiece of its robotics endeavors.
The company’s force sensors use the same quartz (crystal oscillator) technology used in the heart of clocks and watches. Making use of the fact that voltage output changes when pressure is applied to the quartz, Epson has produced a sensing system with high resolution, high-speed response time and low noise. This system consists of a controller and sensors that detect force in the three directions of X, Y and Z (in Newtons) and rotational moments in three axes (in Newton-meters).
A system with performance polished in-house
Robot arms generally use many motors to raise the degree of freedom of movement, and employ long booms to expand the range over which they can move. However, both these aspects mean they move in ways which prevents the precise work of the hand. This robot system works in different ways to the dinosaur robots used in automotive plants.
Epson Sales industrial machinery sales department, FA machine sales section director Mr. Akira Hara says “Originally this is a system we built for making clocks and parts with improvements for evolving performance. We would like it to be used for subtle and precise work.”
He continues: “precision instruments and components sometimes require fitting (mating) work with clearances in the order of 10 microns. This is achievable with a system that uses force sensors. In addition, virtuosity and craftsmanship can also be accurately recorded and followed.”
Epson is promoting the system for its ability to perform precision tasks with high levels of difficulty such as precisely tighten micro screws, inserting terminals of electronic components that are easy to distort and polishing work that entails problematic force adjustments. In addition, the company is appealing to the systems ability to contribute to creating devices for the IoT.
Director Akira Hara describing the characteristics of the company’s robotics and its force sensors
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Seiko Epson Corporation
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