Ep. 87 – A 7-Axis Collaborative Robot for Non-Programmers, with Zac Bogart

By Noah Graff

Today’s guest on the show is Zac Bogart, founder of Productive Robotics.

Productive Robotics manufactures a 7-axis collaborative robot called the OB7. Zac says that the OB7 is different from other robots because it can’t be programmed with code, it only works by the operator showing it what to do. Also, by featuring 7 axes rather than the 6 axes of a typical robot, the OB7 has the ability to do more awkward human-like movements, such as grabbing a part inside a CNC machine while not being directly in front its door.

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Main Points

3:10: Zac shares how he got his start, creating large robots to move around special effects equipment for the film industry. His experience working with non-programmers inspired the company to build a type of robot that anyone could use.

5:15: Zac describes how his company, Productive Robotics, began developing collaborative robots in 2015. Its goal was to produce a user-friendly robot that didn’t require programming but learned through demonstration. 

6:05: Zac talks about the advantages of his company’s 7-axis robot, the OB7. He says it mimics the human arm, giving the robot more maneuverability in the workplace. For instance, the robot can reach into a machine’s door even while it is not directly in front of it.

7:30: Zac describes typical applications for the OB7 in a CNC machine shop and how the robot is used to simplify routine and monotonous tasks on the shop floor.

10:50: Zac talks about the difference between how the OB7 moves from other collaborative robots on the market. It is not programmed using a series of points like traditional robots. This can make its movement seem more natural and less “robotic.”

14:35: Zac says the OB7 has a tablet, but it does not work by inputting code like most other robots. Zac says that there is still a place on the tablet where you can see coordinates if needed, but controlling the robot is almost entirely based on showing it what to do.

16:15: Zac says other collaborative robots on the market say they have easy programming, but it’s only easy if you are a programmer. He says many people are able to learn how to program a robot using code, but they still have to spend time and energy learn. 

18:35: Zac talks about asking his son to teach him how to swing a baseball bat. He wanted to observe how his son showed him how to swing a bat. Understanding this aspect of the learning process aided Zac in designing the OB7.

22:00: Zac says that the OB7 doesn’t require an integrator to install it in most cases. For CNC machining customers, Productive Robotics includes a package that enables the operator to set it up.  

24:00: Zac says Productive Robotics emphasizes safety in its products. He says that all collaborative robots have certain standards they must comply with regarding their speed.

25:00: Zac says we are in the second inning when it comes to building robots. He says that ultimately all robots will be collaborative robots and we won’t need to program them. He says we will give robots commands and hopefully they will obey.

27:00: Zac says he prefers The Terminator 2 over The Terminator 1. He also talks about working on the special effects crew on the set of Star Wars but not knowing anything about the droids until he saw the movie. 

Question: How have you used robots in your machine shop?

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