Recently, Design World surveyed the robotics and motion industries about current and coming technology shifts (including those for robotic grippers) to improve automation. Among the experts who provided their insights was Samuel Bouchard, CEO of Robotiq.
Just a bit south of Quebec City, Robotiq was founded in 2008. Today the company designs and sells offers robotic vision systems, plug-and-play grippers, and force-torque sensors that are easy to use and setup — and configurable in minutes.
Here’s what Bouchard had to say about innovation in robotic grippers.
Do you see the same or more demand for designs offering turnkey operation?
Samuel Bouchard, CEO | Robotiq: We see that more and more people want to leverage standard plug & play components to integrate their own solutions. To this end, we’re offering plug & play packages of Adaptive Grippers, Force Sensors and Camera to work with specific brands of robot.
Has your company added or expanded services to provide more in-house engineering support?
Samuel Bouchard • CEO | Robotiq: As much as we’d like it to be plug & play, every application in a factory will be different. So we offer standard products but supplement it with Integration Coaches services. We don’t do the application design or integration work, but we provide coaching to our partners and end users so they can do it and develop their skills at the same time.
What industries are most changing robotic design?
Samuel Bouchard • CEO | Robotiq: All companies are under pressure to add flexibility because the rate of change of all markets is increasing. Electronics might be the most intense though as they have high volume and high changeovers in their lines.
Tell us about a new application unlike anything possible 10 years ago.
Samuel Bouchard • CEO | Robotiq: 10 years ago it was very difficult to deploy a robot in a matter of days. Today, with flexible, easy-to-use components, it’s possible.
Where do you see the Internet of Things changing robotic design?
Samuel Bouchard • CEO | Robotiq: Industry 4.0 is a fuzzy buzz word. We’re still having issues connecting stuff with wires in factories because no standards exist. 3D printing quite used in tooling design — including for our own production — that speeds things a lot.
Where do you see online configuration tools changing how design engineers specify and buy components?
Samuel Bouchard • CEO | Robotiq: Online configuration is a good tool but if you have very flexible design, well — you don’t need that as much.