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© optoforce Components | March 28, 2017

OptoForce brings sense of touch to U.S. robots

Robotics company OptoForce opened a U.S. office to bring "much-needed sense of touch for robots".
“With robots working more closely with humans, they need to accurately and precisely sense their surroundings and accomplish many tasks requiring the dexterity and sensitivity of the human hand,” said Ákos Dömötör, CEO, OptoForce. “Equipped with OptoForce high-precision sensors, these robots can now feel if they are placing an object in the right place or need to adjust it, and can automatically correct course. This speeds the production process and ultimately decreases costs, an ideal scenario for many U.S. manufacturers that have long offshored production due to high labor costs and the traditionally high cost of automation.”

OptoForce founders, then university students, worked together on a walking robot, where they faced constant issues with the weight, rigidity and cost of then available multi-axis force sensors. To address the many challenges, they developed a prototype of the current sensors that used infrared light to detect deformations of the silicone sensor structure. This new approach forms the basis of the current OptoForce solution and gives precise measurements even up to 200 percent overload.

Gary Eliasson will lead the American OptoForce office: "Today’s robotics tasks require a new level of sensitivity,” Eliasson said. “OptoForce delivers this level of competence, outperforming related technologies in precision, cost, strength and flexibility. This opens up opportunities for companies to decrease costs and improve productivity.”

With the 2016 North American robotics market breaking all-time records in orders and shipments, according to the Robotic Industries Association (RIA) survey, OptoForce looks forward to playing a seminal role in the automation of North American manufacturing initiatives. Eliasson first mandate will be to develop a strong distributor network. Current OptoForce distributors include Essential Robot Products and The Knotts Company, Inc.

OptoForce expansion is backed by robot technology investor, Enrico Krog Iversen, as well as private equity investors Day One Capital and Finext Startup. Iversen sold Danish robot manufacturer Universal Robots to the U.S.-based Teradyne in 2015.

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