Besides a handful of new robots and pickers, the big themes were modular ‘plug-and-play’ automation, Industry 4.0 connectivity, easier programming, and safer collaboration with human workers. New collaborative robots were shown by ABB (above) and Fanuc (below), among others. Fanuc demonstrated ability to stop robot motion with the touch of a hand. Plug-and-play’ modular automation cells were shown by CBW Automation, Engel, Fanuc (shown here), Hekuma, and KraussMaffei. Standard six-axis robots can be made simple to program via lead-through teach programming, similar to collaborative robots. The key is a 3D mouse (black object) that can be temporarily attached to a robot and minupulated with fingertips. It communicates with a tablet (background) As with almost everything else in plastics these days, robots are less and less likely to be considered in isolation, rather than as part of a system, an automated cell, or a networked plant. Hence, much of the emphasis at K was on how robots “play well with others”—i.e., connect with other equipment, and how they can be programmed simply and easily, and also how they can operate safely and “collaboratively” in close proximity with humans...