Cobot R&D facility opens in California

by Inside Logistics Online Staff
OnRobot staff Angelo Moreno (intern) and Lizzeth Sanchez (robot integration) testing Gecko Grippers on robot arms from Universal Robots and Yaskawa.

LOS ANGELES – OnRobot, a maker of end-of-arm tooling for collaborative robot applications, has opened its first location specifically dedicated to research and development (R&D) in the United States.

Based in Culver City in Los Angeles, California, the new office area boasts 6,000 square feet for engineers, researchers and local staff to work and develop new products.

Last year marked OnRobot’s first foray into the LA area, as it acquired Perception Robotics. With this acquisition, OnRobot brought the award winning Gecko Gripper technology into its product offerings and developed it for commercial launch.

The tactile Gecko Gripper uses millions of micro-scaled fibrillar stalks that adhere to a surface the same way that lizards climb. Originally created to help NASA salvage and repair satellites, the Gecko Gripper’s unique ability to pick up porous and delicate objects has already gained significant traction with OnRobot’s industrial automation customers.

With limited square footage in the original Perception Robotics space, there wasn’t enough room for OnRobot to focus on its two important tasks: production and assembly, and continuing its R&D efforts to spawn new ideas for future product development.

The collaborative robot market is now the fastest growing segment of industrial automation, expected to jump ten-fold to 34 percent of all industrial robot sales by 2025 according to the International Federation of Robotics. Collaborative robots, or simply “cobots”, are robots that unlike traditional industrial robots do not need to be bolted down in safety cages but can work safely alongside humans on ever-changing tasks.

With the U.S. facing record low unemployment rates, companies are now turning to cobots to help them automate tedious, repetitive tasks that they can no longer staff. OnRobot plays a pivotal role in this growth by providing cobots with end-of-arm-tooling such as grippers, tool changers, and force/torque sensors, that are used with cobots and light industrial robots from a variety of robot manufacturers.