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Kendrion contact
Head Office
Kendrion N.V.
Vesta Building - 5th floor
Herikerbergweg 213
1101 CN Amsterdam
The Netherlands
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Author
RalfWieland
5 min. reading time

Slowly but surely, robots are penetrating all areas of life. In fact, in factories and warehouses humans and cobots – collaborative robots – have been working side by side in shared work processes for quite some time. For robotics manufacturers and plants around the world, guaranteeing operator safety is a primary concern. We help them meet this challenge with brake solutions designed to meet their specific application.

 

Robots are on the rise. Already in the 1940s, space hero Flash Gordon demonstrated the somewhat complicated relationship between robots and humans. Flash is featured in comic strips and Hollywood movies. You may even have seen one in the cinema? In the more recent Star Wars movies, robots became a popular feature, working closely together with humans. Who doesn’t remember R2D2 or Wall-E? Today, robots are no longer a fantasy product; they have very much become a reality in our working lives - increasing accuracy, speed, and efficiency in commercial and industrial applications. However, while the use of robots has so far been mainly reserved for industrial environments behind protective fences, the so-called collaborative robots are now conquering the market, which allows collaboration and thus cooperation directly with humans.

 

For a long time, it was believed that the use of robots in industrial environments would put large amounts of people out of work, but the opposite is proving to be true. By handling the more menial, repetitive tasks, robots enable human operators to take on more meaningful and less physically demanding work. The cooperation between humans and robots will therefore become ever closer. It is therefore not surprising that the well-known industrial robots, which operate in enclosed spaces, continue to have steady growth forecasts; for the collaborative robots, which work together with humans, on the other hand, exponential growth is forecasted. So it can be stated: The robotics market will continue to grow.

 

As robot models diversify, so do the application areas they can be used in, and the companies that use them. Today, smaller companies too are beginning to use smaller, articulated robots or cobots to automate their operations and increase the cost-efficiency of their production processes. Regardless of application or robot size, when humans and robots perform tasks together, safety is paramount. Imagine working at an assembly workstation with a robot colleague who positions and removes heavy components for further processing, and a power or control failure occurs. Of course, you want to be absolutely sure that the robot does not collapse with the heavy load, causing you severe, physical harm. As robot models diversify, so do the application areas they can be used in, and the companies that use them. Today, smaller companies too are beginning to use smaller, articulated robots or cobots to automate their operations and increase the cost-efficiency of their production processes. Regardless of application or robot size, when humans and robots perform tasks together, safety is paramount. Imagine working at an assembly workstation with a robot colleague who positions and removes heavy components for further processing, and a power or control failure occurs. Of course, you want to be absolutely sure that the robot does not collapse with the heavy load, causing you severe, physical harm. For this reason, safety brakes must be installed in the axes of the robots so that in emergency situations or in the event of a malfunction, the moving masses can be braked out of motion and held safely at a standstill.

The brakes used in robots fundamentally require no residual torque, but a high temperature range and zero torsional backlashes are crucial. A brake’s torque and braking force are generated by means of pressure springs or permanent magnets. The brakes open when an electrical voltage is applied and are closed in a de-energized state. Thus, they ensure that collisions do not occur under any operating conditions including emergency stops and power failures. Even if the electromagnetic brake is damaged, for example by a breakdown in the power supply line or failure of the magnetic coil, there is no danger, because the braking effect is ensured even in the event of malfunctions. A robot without electromagnetic brakes, which ensure safety at all times, is therefore unthinkable.

 

One of the many sectors that are being transformed by robots and cobots is the medical sector. Here, they are increasingly being used in rehabilitation-ray machines, imaging systems, and the operation theatre. In the operating theatre, surgeons simulate the procedure on screen while the actual intervention is performed by a robot. A robot operating on you may seem like an uncomfortable prospect, but it delivers more accuracy and repeatability than a human being ever could. We ensure that even during a power failure, the robot arm and thus the device that guides the scalpel, for example, comes to an immediate and safe stop and is held in place.In all these medical applications, electromagnetic brakes are helping ensure precision, efficiency, and above all, patient safety.

 

Factories and hospitals are just a few of the many areas of industrial applications that Kendrion provides both off-the-shelf brakes as well as customized brakes for. With different operating principles, sizes and performance classes, we ensure that the right brakes can be found for any robotics application.

 

Are you looking for a brake solution for your robot application? Then contact us! We will be happy to help you find the right electromagnetic brakes.


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Author
Ralf Wieland
As a graduated precision engineer and mechanic, technology is Ralf’s greatest passion. As Business Group Director Core and Managing Director of the Kendrion Automotive Group, he is responsible for managing the existing business at the automotive locations. He enjoys creatively overcoming obstacles both in his professional environment and in his free time, as mountain climbing is one of his greatest hobbies. When he’s not climbing a mountain, you're most likely to meet him with his band, where he plays the saxophone.