Industrial automation is growing in popularity as the fourth industrial revolution continues to charge ahead into the future. The Robotics Industries Association has reported that in 2015, the demand for industrial robotics grew by 14% and was valued at $1.8 billion. The International Federation of Robotics also chimed in with their projections. They say that by 2018, there will be 1.3 million industrial robots in use around the world. 

President of Force Robots, Steve Somes, said: "Collaborative robots are going strong, and you will see a larger role in force sensing and control. Responding to external forces not only makes robots safer collaboration, it also enables more tasks like assembly, grinding and deburring." 

Now, in new developments for robotic sensors and cameras, Robotiq has released a vision-guidance system for pick and place robots; the kind of robots you'd find in an industrial factory.The company currently supplies Universal Robots with "2-finger and 3-finger grippers". The camera fits onto a module that surrounds the robots arms and then gives the robot vision, to see what it the shape of something it is picking up. The company says it only takes five minutes to install. Automated location of objects of an object on an assembly line, thanks to the vision guidance system will improve the turnaround time of production, no matter what industry. It would ensure a safer work space as well, for human colleagues using collaborative robots. 

Explaining how the Robotiq camera system works, the manufacturing engineer at Continental Automotive, Victor Canton, said: "The Robotiq Camera breaks all the integration barriers that we are used to seeing with vision systems in manufacturing automation. We could think of many pick & place robot tasks that can now be programmed very fast. We will need this solution for upcoming projects with UR robots."