Automatic Tool Changer Magbot’s Rehearsal For Cooking

The Magbot Tool Changer demonstrated how it makes noodles at CES 2023.
Interesting Engineering

Robots have revolutionized many aspects of our modern world, especially in manufacturing. But, these robots are often single-purpose or limited in their scope of abilities, unlike human workers.

However, that may change thanks to robots that can change the tools they use at will. Meet one company attempting to make just that, the Korea-based Magbot.

Billed as the world's first entirely wireless automatic tool-changing (ATC) system robot, this might be a vision of the production lines of the near future.

The ability to automatically switch out end-effectors (aka tools) to perform the multi-processes and services is a considerable upgrade on more conventional robots, making them, theoretically at least, more productive and efficient.

Magbot’s ATCs provide an ultra-simple automatic tool-changing robot based on a unique ultra-fast, ultra-powerful switching magnetic technology.

All other ATC creators use the mechanical ball locking/unlocking procedure with a pneumatic system, which requires intricate pneumatic lines powered by an air compressor. Robotic ATCs like the ones in development by Magbot use a combination of master (male/tool changer) and slave (female/tool plate) parts.

Magbot’s robots don’t require pneumatic lines or outside electricity with this setup. The tool plate's extremely basic structure also makes it possible to add other tools for automated and unmanned robot systems, guaranteeing scalability.

At present, Magbot’s main ATC, the TCV1, retails for $2,900. That might sound like a lot, but remember that other tool changers can range from $5,000 to $10,000 apiece. The TCV1 can handle payloads over 10 kg, but its bigger brother, the TCV2, can handle larger loads over 16 kg. Both are ultra-simple operating systems that use the robot's internal power system (24 V @ 2) without any external power or pneumatics, making them the first fully wireless automatic tool changers in the world.

In addition to the robot ATCs, Magbot offers customers additional value by extending the application to the Magnetic Gripper for the pick-and-place procedure.

Not only do innovations like Magbot’s ATCs dramatically increase manufacturing efficiency, but such a system can also offer considerable cost savings. This is because traditional manufacturing robots are a considerable investment, and if only able to perform a single task, their return on investment (ROI) is inevitably limited. With a multi-functional robot like Magbot, the ROI can be significantly improved.

Magbot’s ATCs and robots like them, cloud prove incredibly useful in various industries, including, but not limited to, the automotive industry. However, it could also find roles for functions you might have yet to consider, such as in hospitality as a barrister or a chef.

But, for those of you wondering if Magbot might be coming to take your job, don’t worry. Robots like Magbot are intended to assist human workers, not supplant them.

It is intended to perform riskier or labor-intensive tasks to save humans from potentially hurting themselves. Fetching and carrying, or handling hot materials, for example.

Magbot can be used for more repetitive tasks almost indefinitely too. For human workers providing the same service, this might run the risk of repetitive strain injuries that are all too common in tasks like hairdressing, decorating, typing, or working on an assembly line.

The company behind Magbot has raised $5 million in funding from some of the biggest companies in its native Korea, like Samsung, Kia, and Hyundai. With names like that behind it, you can bet your bottom dollar that these companies see the very real potential for it.

Watch this space!

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