Collaborative Robots and Ergonomics: Humantech Meets with LTW Ergonomic Solutions
Posted on July 12, 2022 | in Ergonomics
VelocityEHS ergonomist, Jonathan Valencia talks collaborative robots with John Lanphear of LTW Ergonomic Solutions.
Jonathan Valencia: Hi there. I’m Jonathan Valencia, ergonomist at Humantech (now VelocityEHS Ergonomics), a VelocityEHS brand, and we’re here today at LTW Ergonomic Solutions at Lawrence, Michigan. I’m here with John today, founder of LTW, and we’re going to be discussing some products that optimize human performance in the workplace.
Jonathan Valencia: Hi John, thank you for having us.
John Lanphear: Thank you very much for coming. I appreciate the opportunity to let us showcase our ergonomics solutions to you and your clients all around the world.
Jonathan Valencia: Awesome, so you tell us a little bit as to how you came to design some of these products or what problems you’re trying to tackle?
John Lanphear: Sure. A long time ago, about over 26 years ago, I started LTW and in the tin shed behind my double-wide and moved to the basement my house. And one of my customers I was designing automation for assembling machines, he said the new trend is they need adjustable height bases on these machines for different height operators. And that’s when I got introduced to ergonomics and we started developing bases for workstations and machine bases, ever since and got a couple patents on them, and here we are.
Jonathan Valencia: Very, very cool. So, one thing I do see on set a lot are robots that are encaged. Your typical automation robots, but now with the emergence of collaborative robots, or cobots, as they’re called sometimes, there has been a lot of talk on how to best optimize an interaction between the human and the robot. I’ll have you tackle that issue.
John Lanphear: Yeah, I appreciate that question. You know, it’s interesting, the word collaborative in that sense, or collaborative robots, or cobots, is inferring that it’s going to collaborate with humans.
Jonathan Valencia: Mm-hmm.
John Lanphear: Well interestingly, humans, we’re all different heights.
Jonathan Valencia: Okay.
John Lanphear: So, the problem becomes: how do we interface collaborate robots with humans to actually truly create a collaborative environment, if it’s mounted on a fixed platform? So therefore, LTW Ergonomic Solutions, we incorporated our co-bases, and now our RC workstations, to solve that problem, making the collaborative robot raise up and down for different heights of people. It can truly become a collaborative solution.
Jonathan Valencia: Awesome. So, these ones behind us here, how do they work, or what are the main features that you have introduced to them, or in essence do you customize your solutions as well depending on the type of robot that’s going to be put on the platform?
John Lanphear: Sure, absolutely and there’s a lot of collaborative robots on the market. Today we’re displaying Universal robots and from two different distributors, which are great, and they helped us out a lot, appreciate that very much. And so, we’ve definitely got standard co-bases as we call it a standard “co-base” with just a fixed top, then a tilting top. And the difference between these, we designed them for lots of different robot companies, and it has different bolt patterns to bolt their collaborative bot onto them, and so we’ve got tables that are co-bases.
And then we’ve got our workstation here, that gives you – and we’re going to go into in more detail about that – but that gives us the build to interchange a collaborative robot into workstations all over your plant very quickly and easily. It’s really cool product.
Jonathan Valencia: So, we’re going to shoot a couple more videos, and we’re going to get into a little more detail about how each of these products adjusts to the human. Again, John, thank you for having us here today at LTW. We really appreciate your time.
John Lanphear: I appreciate you very much and your company, and all that you guys are doing to help people in companies all over the world be safer in their work environment.
Jonathan Valencia: So, this has been John Valencia and John Lanphear at LTW Ergonomics Solutions. Have a great day.