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New dual arm robot from ABB heralds new era in human-robot collaboration

Milton Keynes, September 21, 2015: Innovative robot from ABB can work collaboratively with humans in small parts assembly

YuMi’s inherently safe design enables it to operate in very close collaboration with humans	ABB has launched ‘Yumi', the world's first truly collaborative dual-arm industrial robot. Short for ‘you and me', YuMi is designed primarily for small parts assembly and has the ability to feel and see. The accuracy of the robot makes it capable of handling materials typical of the electronics industry, such as the delicate parts combined to make a wristwatch and components used in mobile phones, tablets and desktop PCs.

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The electronics industry in particular has seen a large growth in demand recently for products which has surpassed the availability of skilled labour. As conventional assembly methods diminish in value, manufacturers are looking for alternative ways to produce goods. Research from the Boston Consulting Group, for example, predicts that by 2025, adoption of advanced robots will boost productivity by up to 30 percent in many industries and lower total labour costs by 18 percent or more in countries such as South Korea, China, the U.S., Japan, and Germany.

While YuMi was specifically designed to meet the flexible and agile production needs of the consumer electronics industry, it has equal application in any small parts assembly environment thanks to its dual arms, flexible hands, universal parts feeding system, camera-based part location, lead-through programming, and state-of-the-art precise motion control.

YuMi's inherently safe design enables it to operate in very close collaboration with humans. It features a lightweight, rigid magnesium skeleton covered with a floating plastic casing wrapped in soft padding to absorb impacts. YuMi is also compact, with human dimensions and a human-like movement, which makes human co-workers feel safe and comfortable.

If YuMi senses an unexpected impact, such as a collision with a coworker, it can pause its motion within milliseconds, and the motion can be restarted again as easily as pressing play on a remote control. YuMi also has no pinch points so that nothing sensitive can be harmed as the axes open and close.

"YuMi is going to change many of mankind's assumptions about manufacturing and industrial processes," said Pekka Tiitinen, head of the Discrete Automation and Motion division, "Yumi will open endless possibilities. We are at the start of a very exciting new era for industrial automation."

Per Vegard Nerseth, head of ABB's global Robotics business, added: "Naming this robot YuMi reflects the true spirit of human - machine collaboration - humans and robots sharing tasks side by side in ways we could never have imagined previously."

The development of Yumi is the latest in a long line of robotic automation innovations from ABB, which started with the introduction of the world's first microprocessor controlled, all-electric industrial robot in 1974. ABB now has an installed base of more than 250,000 robots worldwide. With the introduction of YuMi, ABB is once again pushing the boundaries of robotic automation by fundamentally expanding the types of industrial processes which can be automated with robots.

To find out more, please email robotics@gb.abb.com or call 01908 350300, ref. ‘YuMi'.


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