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46 SMT Magazine • September 2014 products. Robots are typically used in flexible automation. One theory is that the increasing use of ro- bots among EMS companies is due to the de- creasing costs and increasing functionality of industrial robots. Robot manufacturers appear to be recognizing that the limited space avail- able on a typical electronics production line, es- pecially at a low-cost location, limits the selec- tion of robots that can cost-effectively be used. Some of the newer robots such as the FANUC M-1iA are designed to be relatively easily inte- grated side-by-side with human assembly op- erators. Even more exciting is the coming wave of collaborative robots, which can operate with- in the same workspace as human operators without any safety fence. Collaborative robots are available now from manufacturers such as KUKA, Universal Robots, and Yaskawa Moto- man. One impressive display at the recent Au- tomatica Trade Fair for Automation and Me- chatronics in Münich showcased an upcoming dual-arm collaborative robot from ABB with 14 axes, flexible grippers and camera-based part location, specifically designed for small-part as- sembly operations common in the electronics industry. At the same trade fair, the European Com- mission and the euRobotics umbrella organiza- tion launched the world's largest civilian R&D program in robotics, with a total investment of €2.8 billion. Automation may not be a panacea to an electronics manufacturer's dilemmas, but is a valuable tool in any manufacturing engineer's tool chest, and a valuable weapon in the fight against rising costs and shrinking profit mar- gins. Smt Michael hansson is director of automation for Integrated Micro-electronics. feATure reDUCING tOtAL mANUFACtUrING COSt WIth AUtOmAtION continues CliCk To View Video Interview Super Dry's richard heimsch and editor Steve Williams discuss the advantages and disadvantages of using drying cabinets. What effect does this heat excur- sion have on solderability? making things Dry by Real Time with... IPC APEX EXPO 2014

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