December 2, 2020


It's called AURA. Almost ten feet tall. It weighs about three tons and can lift 170 kg as if it were nothing. And, above all, it's a robot, but not just any robot like we are, by now, accustomed to seeing at work in production plants all over the world.
In fact, AURA (Advanced Use Robotic Arm) is a collaborative/industrial type robot. In other words, it is capable of performing both repetitive, heavy tasks, and supporting the human worker, without barriers and in the same work station and, if necessary, it is ready to allow the human to manually guide it. Designed and manufactured by Comau, AURA is the star of the FPT Industrial Driveline plant in Turin, dedicated to the production of transmissions and axles for heavy equipment.
Specifically, AURA works mounting spindles for heavy axles, creating articulated components that allow trucks to steer. The robot retrieves a part from the supply cart in complete autonomy and delicately hands it to the operator it shares the station with. And it is precisely the human operator who, at this point, takes control of the operations, guiding the robot using innovative equipment (manual guidance) so that the mechanical arm takes the part to the work bench, where it is coupled with a lever.
Perfect collaboration and synergy, where each of the subjects involved is able to perform at their best; The robot performs the heavy work methodically and effortlessly, and it is the only one on the market capable of lifting up to 170 kg, whereas the delicate assembly stage is controlled by a human, thereby using human skills to adapt to operational situations and assembly strategies that vary from model to model, sometimes greatly.
But strength is not the only feature that makes AURA a robot without rivals. In fact, in its role as a collaborative machine, it must be able to perceive a presence, whether it be other machinery or a flesh-and-blood person, in the space where it operates and consequently modulate its behavior. And, in order to do this in the best possible way, it uses its “senses”. “Sensitive skin” that lets it decide whether to reduce its speed of motion or stop entirely. “Sight” in the form of a 3D camera that the robot uses to scan the piece being retrieved and to perceive its position. And last, but not least, it expresses “touch” through a gripper, capable of lifting the component being moved with a firm, but delicate grip.
But that's not all. In order to work without any barrier alongside a human on the FPT Industrial driveline assembly line, AURA was outfitted with a true “sixth sense”: an advanced and complex laser scanning system that investigates and monitors the work space when the arm is in operation.
AURA is the result of the HuManS (Human-centered Manufacturing System) project, a joint effort of FPT Industrial, Comau and 17 other companies specialized in the sector and which places humans at the center of the production system, surrounded by machines that assist them and with which they share the space in complete safety.

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