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Universal Robots Presents the Next Generation of Lightweight Robots

Universal Robots, the Danish manufacturer of flexible industrial robot arms, has released the third generation of the lightweight robots UR5 and UR10. Special features of the revised robot arms are the true absolute encoders, the eight new adjustable safety rated functions, twice the number of built-in I/O’s and the improved possibilities for connecting equipment to the control boxes.

Universal Robots continues to allow a safe human – robot collaboration also in the new generation. Additionally the safety system of the new generation is now certified by TUV. The company’s long lasting experience in the market influenced the product refinement. Well-known characteristics such as the ease-of-use and the quick ROI remain.

The robot arms UR5 and UR10 are now equipped with numerous new features. Still, Universal Robots remains true to its approach of user-friendly lightweight robots. The visual appearance of the six-jointed arm with a payload of 5/10 kilos, remain unchanged. But inside of the robot arm itself, as well as in the controller, are some hidden surprises.

“We are the only manufacturer of lightweight robot arms which already has a long lasting experience in a wide variety of industries. Our R&D department worked hard in order to integrate input and feedback from end users in our product development”, comments Enrico Krog Iversen, Universal Robots CEO, on the latest development from Denmark.

The technical innovations at a glance:

True Absolute Encoder

A central innovation of the new generation of UR robots is the True Absolute Encoder. This technical improvement enables a faster start-up of the robot arms. The absolute position is recognised right after the switching-on, eliminating the need for jogging during initialisation of the robot arm. For this reason UR5 and UR10 are now suited for an automatic start-up – even though no battery is needed for this function.

“With the integration of the True Absolute Encoder, our robot-arms can be integrated even more easily into other machineries while  start-up also becomes much faster and simpler for all applications”, explains Esben H. Østergaard, Universal Robots CTO.

Patented: Adjustable Safety System

The safety settings of the latest generation of Universal Robots’ lightweight robots can be adjusted for each specific solution. The robot arm can run in two operating modes of the safety functions; a normal and a reduced one. A switch between safety settings during the robot’s operation is also possible. To achieve this, eight safety functions are monitored by the new patented safety system: Joint positions and speeds, TCP positions, orientation, speed and force, as well as the momentum and power of the robot. The settings can only be changed in a password protected area. All these safety functions are safety rated PL d and certified by TÜV.

“Our new patented safety concept is a logical development of our previous robot arms. The revised UR5 and UR10 can be operated in different modes depending on the context. For example, when a human enters the robots work-cell, it can continue to operate in reduced mode, and then resume full speed when he leaves again. Or the robot can run full speed inside a CNC machine, and then reduced speed when outside”, says Østergaard.

TÜV Certification of UR safety 3.0

The safety system UR Safety 3.0 of the new generation UR5 and UR10 from Universal Robots is certified by TÜV Nord and tested in accordance with EN ISO 13849:2008 PL d and EN ISO 10218-1:2011, Clause 5.4.3.

Further innovations

Sixteen additional digital I/Os, which are easy to configure either as digital signals or as safety signals, a revised design of the control box and a rebuilt controller are further improvements.

Focus on flexibility and user-friendliness

The six-jointed, cost-efficient robot arms UR5 and UR10 are especially suited for small and medium sized businesses. Thanks to their light weight and their user-friendly handling via touch pad, a wide range of applications can be programmed quickly without complex training or deep technological knowhow.

“With our flexible robot-arms, we address a broad target group – whether it is (un-)loading of CNC machines in a ten-man firm or a gluing-process at an automotive manufacturer, everyone benefits from our robots. Because they perform the dull or harmful jobs that needed to be done by humans before”, says Iversen.

The official release of the next Generation of robots from Universal Robots is planned for September.

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