Hands-on automation: automatica TestZone

The live robotics and automation application experience

2023 presents a new opportunity to test away! With its exciting robotics exhibits from the fields of cobots and no-code, the interactive TestZone in Hall A5 offers automation newcomers a unique opportunity to experience several innovative robotics and automation applications live and up close. And above all: to try them out for themselves.

Focus on people

The robotics exhibits at the world’s leading exhibition clearly showed: People are finally taking center stage. The current state of development suggests that robots will very soon be just as easy to operate and set up as devices such as smartphones are now. It is already possible for users to put together their own modular systems with very little prior knowledge using configurators. And robot travel paths can be taught with ‘no code’ – i.e. without programming or IT skills. In brief: Automation is becoming more and more accessible. For all of us.

The automatica TestZone provided a first glance at this ‘democratization of robotics’. It was a place for non-committal learning by doing and trying out new technology under expert guidance. Whether they were specialized in no-code, cobots, or low-cost; whether large established manufacturer or newcomer taking a leap forward – they all had one thing in common: an innovative spirit. This format will be expanded and further developed within the framework of automatica 2025 to make it appeal to even more target groups who have had little or no exposure to the topic so far.

Review of the 2023 TestZone

Doing is believing. More than 4,000 excited visitors seized the unique opportunity to explore how robots can transform and facilitate their businesses. Whether expert audience or first exposure to robotics: 94 % of all visitors gave this format an excellent to good rating. Feel free to revisit the big test in our video.

Touching encouraged: Meet the Robots 2023

What was to be expected at the TestZone? A diverse range of exhibits with the theme ‘automation and robotics for all’:

The future is all about collaboration: The CRX cobot series by FANUC demonstrated how to create an application in just a few minutes through easy drag-and-drop programming. These robots can be deployed for a variety of tasks such as arc welding, assembly, handling, machine operation, packaging, palletizing and more.

Franka Production 3 is Franka Emika’s sensitive and easy-to-use robot platform made in Germany. This is a certified and proven industrial system that increases productivity for anyone requiring efficient robot automation.

IGUS presented its marketplace for low-cost robotics where both ready-to-run turnkey solutions for common automation tasks and individual components from leading manufacturers are available. The latter could be put together using a configurator as part of a modular system with guaranteed compatibility.

The iiQKA Education Kit by KUKA was all about easy KUKA cobot operation. The plug-and-play starter kit enabled easy implementations of basic tasks and robot programs without any prior code-based programming knowledge. Unbox and go.

The collaborative TM robot by OMRON has been designed to work with both people and machines, unlocking greater efficiency with its wide range of industrial applications while ensuring safety in the workplace.

Realtime Robotics presented a cell containing four robots from different manufacturers that interacted with each other in a confined space even though they spoke different 'languages'. The RapidPlan real-time software simplified both programming and handling by coordinating the motion paths. This can bring down programming and operating costs, minimize cycle times, and increase the production volume at the same time.

The CoLab by SCHUNK unlocked the possibility of having applications and products validated – with a focus on robotic workpiece handling and processing operations. The way such validations are carried out and the added value associated with them could be tested and experienced live with various example products and applications.

The SIEMENS Whac-A-Mole cell presented a playful experience of 3D motion visualization and diagnostics as well as kinematics commissioning: Moles were sent back into their holes on a touch panel as they competed against a safe kinematic system.