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Schunk wins Hermes Award at Hannover 2017


April 24, 2017
By Deutsche Messe AG

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Apr. 24, 2017 – This year’s Hermes Award winner is German company Schunk GmbH & Co. KG.

The prestigious industrial technology award was presented to the company during the Hannover Messe opening ceremony on April 23 by Germany’s minister for education and research Johanna Wanka.
 
“The company’s award-winning solution supports human-robot collaboration, making it a vital part of the smart factory tool kit. It is therefore a perfect fit for Hannover Messe, which this year will once again play a key role in reflecting and driving the ongoing development of Industry 4.0,” said Dr. Jochen Köckler as the Deutsche Messe managing board member in charge of Hannover Messe.

Billed as the world’s leading trade fair for industrial technology, Hannover Messe 2017 will feature seven parallel shows: Industrial Automation, MDA – Motion, Drive & Automation, Digital Factory, Energy, ComVac, Industrial Supply and Research & Technology.
 
The Hermes Award jury, headed by Dr. Wolfgang Wahlster, CEO of the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI), says it chose the company primarily based on Schunk’s self-learning gripping system, which is “ideally suited” to highly flexible Industry 4.0 manufacturing environments where humans and robots will collaboratively closely.

The JL1 co-act gripper is an intelligent modular gripping system for human-robot collaboration that is capable of interacting and communicating with its human operator. The JL1’s integrated sensor systems envelop the module in its own safety “bubble” by continually tracking the proximity of humans and triggering evasive action to avoid any direct human-machine contact. They also enable the module to grip, handle and assemble objects of all geometries. The module’s jaws are able to measure gripping force and have tactile sensors, so their operation is “highly adaptive and responsive,” describes the company. The sensor constellation also includes two cameras that enable the gripper to see its surroundings in 3D, which detecting workpieces.
 
“Safe and barrier-free human-robot collaboration in Industry 4.0 manufacturing operations with small production runs, high component diversity and frequent retooling is only possible if every part of the manufacturing system is intelligent, right down to the end effector level. Schunk’s JL1 is a perfect example of a state-of-the-art, smart end effector, which is why the jury has chosen it as this year’s winning entry,” explained Dr. Wahlster.
 
Nominees for the award are: AGS-Verfahrenstechnik GmbH (Stade, Germany); Augumenta (Oulu, Finland); Linz Center of Mechatronics (Linz, Austria); and Noonee AG (Zurich, Switzerland).

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