ABB’s new cobot GoFa wins prestigious award
ABB’s cobot GoFa has been awarded the ‘Best of the Best’ Red Dot design award, in recognition of its unique design concept to make the new robot appealing and accessible to users. The global Red Dot Design Awards recognise achievements in product design, with the jury assessing thousands of entries every year.
GoFa is described as the fastest cobot in its class and is intended to work side by side with humans, without the need for fences, on a wide range of tasks.
Advanced safety features, including intelligent sensors in each joint that bring the cobot to a stop in milliseconds, if it senses any unexpected contact, allow GoFa to safely operate directly and continuously alongside workers.
The brief for the product designers was to create an intuitive, user-friendly, approachable design to encourage people, and particularly first-time users, to confidently use and interact with GoFa.
“Making robots more approachable, easier to use and more intuitive is key to our vision to make robots as familiar in the workplace as a laptop is today,” says Sami Atiya, president of ABB’s Robotics & Discrete Automation Business Area.
“I am delighted that our new cobot GoFa has been recognised by the Red Dot jury for how user-friendly it is. GoFa is a game-changer, reinforcing the importance of good industrial design to make it easier for more people to work with robots.
"Creating an approachable design will ensure robots are adopted across a range of workplaces outside traditional factory environments, helping us to unlock automation for new users and new industries around the world.”
GoFa’s design is a departure from the look of traditional industrial robots, narrowing the boundaries between industrial and consumer products. It employs slim, straight arms that give the cobot a user-friendly, yet strong, appearance, while the advanced use of colour, material and finish gives GoFa a modern, sleek look.
Its simple arm-side interface design with two buttons and light ring echoes the easy-to-use interfaces of consumer products. This makes it accessible even for first-time robot users more accustomed to consumer technology and who may be unfamiliar with industrial machinery.
“Industrial design is not just about the aesthetic!” states Andie Zhang, global product manager, Collaborative Robotics for ABB Robotics. “Form follows function and our emphasis on human-centric design, using the approach of a consumer product, means GoFa communicates the proposition of usability, utility and ease of use.
“Creating an attractive, approachable design allows people to get the best out of their cobots,” adds Zhang. “We not only want people to feel comfortable working alongside it, we want users to enjoy working with the robot. GoFa is programmed by touching the robot’s arm and leading it, so it’s important that users are comfortable with holding and guiding the cobot as they teach it.”
ABB’s cobots are described as intuitively designed, so customers need not rely on robot programming specialists. This would help industries that have low levels of automation, with customers able to operate their cobot within minutes of installation, straight out of the box, with no specialised training, it states.
Future of collaboration
“With their ease-of-use digital tools, integrated safety features and higher payloads, our new cobots represent the future of human and robot collaboration,” says Andie Zhang. “This next generation will enable even more businesses to automate repetitive, mundane and dangerous processes, to enhance productivity and flexibility, while leaving employees free to do more value-add activities. If you can use a tablet or smartphone, you can work with our cobots.”
The launch of ABB’s new GoFa cobot builds on the success of ABB’s YuMi family, which has been helping businesses safely automate key tasks since YuMi launched in 2015. The design concept of YuMi, the world’s first truly collaborative robot, also won the Best of the Best Red Dot award in 2011.