The Robots Experience Center of ESPS is exactly what the name suggests: a center in which anyone can gain experience with robots. Founder and Director Edwin Jongedijk demonstrates robots from different manufacturers and is constantly looking for new material; Coming from both renowned manufacturers and brilliant techs and startups who float out of their attic room on stock markets “suddenly”. “Accessible to everyone, from education to companies that are heading for Industry 4.0 and want to get acquainted with the possibilities of this high-tech industry,” says Jongedijk. ESPE is the exclusive distributor for AUBO Robotics in The Netherlands and Belgium.
The origin of ESPS and its Robotics Experience Center (REC) lies with sister company IMS, the original mechanization department of Texas Instruments. This part has been working as a self-governing organization since 1999 and was joined in 2005 by ESPS, which came from the original Technical Service of the established company. This company included the after sales activities, but also developed their own activities.
Edwin Jongedijk: “On a given note, it became clear that IMS increasingly focused on developing and delivering high-tech machines for smartphone cameras, for example, but for simpler machines, resulting in a splitting: IMS Focuses mainly on engaging new solutions and ESPS on existing solutions with a focus on robots, so we look at what’s already on the market and make clever combinations with a little bit of added engineering. ESPS Is therefore the abbreviation of Expert in Robotics, Smart Integration, Proven Technology, Service Excellence. ”
The fact that ESPS focused specifically on the use of robots in the final solution was at Jongedijk’ s food base for the idea. The idea emerged during a trade mission to South German where the use of robots in the care center. Here we became acquainted with an ‘Experience-center’ that was tuned to wheelchair users. In an old BMW garage, people had the opportunity to simply try out five brands of wheelchairs. As a result, they could base on the experience of the different characteristics of the rock seats in pleats of the “hard” data in a brochure. A great solution to distinguish you as a supplier after-hours. ”
The translation to a Robotics Experience Center was simple afterwards. It had to be an experience center where all possible parties could try different types and types of robots. Of robots that are fully developed and intended for a specific task to the latest developments. “In any case, I did not want to get stuck on a brand but the ability to just try everything,” says Jongedijk.
In the following weeks, the evenings were intended to refurbish and set up the first available 100. In addition, suppliers were offered their solutions available to which all the necessary positive reactions immediately emerged. “The first installations have been built entirely, but we also have the opportunity to quickly install various other systems and robots,” says Jongedijk.
Since the establishment in 2015, many goals have already been achieved. For example, free workshops are organized to make people and institutions acquainted with robotics. In addition, the center plays an important role in regional education. For example, the Saxion Academies LED and Mechanical Engineering team organize practical colleges at the REC. Students will gain experience here and can also attend their classes for example for an internship or graduation assignment.
For robot suppliers and system integrator, the REC is especially a platform for demonstrating their own solutions to customers. For example, there is an agreement with Bosch Rexroth, who has placed an assemblage and transport system in the REC. This enables visitors to get started with more efficient and ergonomic assembly and get acquainted with the latest transport systems. Open Core Engineering is an important subject in this regard.
In addition, it is a location where customers can work out to investigate the possibilities, ideas and experience and increase their knowledge. Knowledge gaining is important for companies that want to use a robot for the first time; Be it multinationals or SME companies. One of them lists the website: `Make the choice between robot, linear, pick & place or manual production as a designer. The REC gives practical insights what the most efficient solution for a company is.
For the moment, we keep the REC small so it stays accessible. I see too often that, the growth of the number of people involved in an organization.
This is inversely proportional to the amount of work being resisted. It makes sense for a lot of talk and little action. I do not want to have it right here. ”
In the context of ‘concrete steps’ has been started with the REC project, which stands for: Robotics Experience Center. This project aims at developing the REC to the East Netherlands Knowledge and Innovation Center for Application of Robotic Technology in Advanced Production Processes; Mainly focused on the high-tech systems and material for the manufacturing industry. A financial contribution has now been received from the European subsidy program at East 2014 -2020.
A large number of companies are involved in this project: ESPS, Conway (supplier of transport systems) and industrial end-users Vernay Europe and Wouter Witzel Eurovalve, who collaborate with knowledge partners UT and Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences. Jongedijk: “We as ESPS are the project manager of this project, and I expect that our brand independence can boost the knowledge that the robotics will build around.”
In the REC, a nice collection of robots and robot systems has been installed. Below are some exotics that are doing well on the Dutch market. For example, in Canada, for example, the Meca500 was imported in 2016. A 6-axis robot of `Mecademic ‘, distinguishing itself mainly by combining high accuracy and compact dimensions. The compact dimensions depend on the fact that the controller is included in the robot’s foot and provides a simple interface; Programming is possible via laptop or PLC (no teaching-in available). In addition, the robot itself weighs less than 5 kg.
AUBO Robotics Collaborative robot is special example, the Aubo-i5 COBOT from USA and China. This company was founded on collaboration between professors from both the United States and China to make a lightweight intelligent collaborative robot. This robot arm was specially designed with important functions from the start, combining state of the art technology with user friendliness to make this collaborative robot (Co-bot). The open source architecture enables the robot operating system (ROS) to be supported though API for industrial, research and academia use. AUBO-i5 robot uses the dual CAN Bus network to communicate between harmonic drives and has dedicated safety i/O’s.
The different features make this robot suitable for almost small as large companies; Even when employees do not have programming favors. In addition, the manufacturer of these robots aims to use the solution for small batch applications to take out hazardous or repetitive work. Applications are therefore seen in pick & place, assembly, in-field, R & D, pharmaceutical and medical labs, and so forth.
What are the most important developments Edwin Jongedijk expects for the (near future) future of robotics? “At the moment, I believe in developments that are outside the domain of robotics, but that law influences the development of robots. I think about the way smartphones and tablets evolve, for example in terms of operation and programming. With regard to hardware, you see that it is especially easier to integrate into existing systems, and these developments may also have a bearing on the application of robots. What really is a real difference with a number of years ago: knowledge is shared. In the past, it was unthinkable that (machine) codes were passed so that you could independently program your robot and integrate it into your own system. These codes were secret. The new generation is already changing. After all, these people share anything through social media, so why not in your field. Just because it’s nice to help someone else further and because it’s almost a prerequisite to get together to something good. Working with robots is also easier because increasingly standard programming languages are used and the user often does not even really program, but configures more.
Future, ESPS and REC wants to retain its original values: accessible to all, cramped and striving to raise awareness that robots can also make their contribution faster, more efficient or simply safer activities. Robotics is not only for multinational mass production.
“We want to achieve this by organizing free workshops, open days (also for primary schools) and especially working on our portfolio. This will be further developed in the future with projects that indicate what a Robot can mean in the SME and how strong we are in realizing tailor-made solutions, we are not robots, but we solve it! Possibly using the engineering capabilities and knowledge of IMS.
My dream? A whole REC takes up projects that are realized by us. Projects that indicate what is possible and how other companies can learn and try. Welcome! to: http://www.roboticsexperiencecenter.com