Distributed Control

There's a Robot for That

We Manufacture Programs and Robots That Not Only Make Our Lives Easier, but Make Our Work Environments Easier, Too

By Katherine Bonfante

It seems these days there's an app for almost anything. If you need to remote-start your car, there's an app for that. But not too long ago we were all scared that computers and computer programs would someday take over our jobs. We fought it. We convinced ourselves that this technology was foolish and impossible to attain, yet today we embrace it and work towards improving it. Every day, we develop apps. We manufacture programs and robots that not only make our lives easier, but make our work environments easier, too.

Today, we have robots building our cars (see BMW's plant in Germany that uses robotic arms to assemble cars). Robots also work at warehouses (see Kiva Systems' pick-pack-ship solution), package our food (see Bosch Packaging Machines' delta robots), or work on production lines (see RG Luma Automation's Staubli robots tending three-off presses).

Our very own control consultant Béla Lipták, wrote the article "Artificial Intelligence in Process Automation," in which he wonders about the role of smart controller intelligence in our processes. The article reports on changes, new concepts and innovative methods in the use of artificial intelligence in controlling automated processes, and how this artificial intelligence has evolved. Read the article at www.controlglobal.com/ai.html and learn more.

Jeffrey Harrow, principal technologist at the Harrow Group, in "I Am Robot and I Am Home," says robots have gone beyond the "traditional" factory robots, and now vacuum our carpets and guide us in traffic jams. Read this article at www.controlglobal.com/i-am-robot.html to find out more.

We also inspire children to be robot builders. FIRST holds annual competitions, where children form teams to design and build robots that can perform tasks. This year's FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) challenge was "Rebound RumbleSM," where teams competed to score as many basketballs points as possible during a two-minute, 15-second match. See this year's winning teams and video of their robots at www.controlglobal.com/frc-2012.html.

Lastly, if you need a robot, we can help you find one. Maybe you need to sell your current robot. In either case, you should check our industry link "Used-Robots." Buy or sell a used robot at www.controlglobal.com/used-robots.html.