It is the winner of an iF Award 2019, the German Innovation Award 2018, the Deutsche Zukunftspreis 2017 and recently named "Time Best Invention of 2018."
It is not the least invention that has recently found a place on Brainport Industries Campus (BIC). Franka Emika Panda of WiredWorkers – the robotic arm we’re talking about now – was recently added to the fieldlab Flexible Manufacturing at BIC. The robot works like a ‘cobot’: together with knowledge partners, companies can use the robot arm to develop, test and implement applications to make the step to the ‘Factory of the Future’ easier. “This is especially a good solution for SMEs”, says a spokesperson for WiredWorkers. “Innovations have not yet found their way to small and medium-sized businesses sufficiently.”
Franka Emika is a spin-off of TU Munich with the mission to make robot technology accessible to the general population. WiredWorkers is a Dutch startup specialised in collaborative robots. The company from Doetinchem offers hardware and software for lightweight robot technology. The use of the Panda at BIC is also part of a Flemish-Dutch initiative supported by Interreg funding from the EU, aimed at accelerating the transition to a future-proof industry, particularly in SMEs. Partners in this project are FME, TNO, Brainport Industries and High Tech NL. On the Flemish side, these are Agoria, Sirris, Flandersmake, OMC and KU Leuven.
The project could become even more interesting with the launch, earlier this month, of ‘Franka World’, a digital robotics platform that enables interaction between researchers, partners, customers, developers, suppliers and – of course – the robots themselves. The online community enables partner companies and developers to share their expertise in the field of collaborative robots. They offer new applications for the Panda, as well as integrated hardware such as image processing systems. On the day of the launch, more than a hundred robot apps were already available in the Franka World Shop. This number is expected to increase significantly in the coming year.
WiredWorkers also focuses on Franka World: “This year we hope to offer our own apps on the platform. The arrival of Franka World is a new chapter in the world of collaborative robotics. It allows us to work together worldwide to improve the Panda. We are confident that the development of this robot will accelerate so that we can offer more and more automation solutions.”