General Information

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What makes Panda unique?

The ease of use in combination with the agility and sensitivity of our robot is currently unique in the market. It enables accurate and skillful robotic automation. The human-centered design of Panda - and the user interface to program it - allow intuitive programming and flexible applications. As a result, easier integration and scalable solutions can be achieved at a small fraction of the usual costs.

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In which industry areas can the Panda robot be used?

Our robot is so diverse and economically interesting that the imagination knows no boundaries for possible use cases. We see our robot as a power tool, a tool that is particularly suitable for working with people and is used in a wide variety of business areas, e.g. in production, in the laboratory, in logistics, etc. From pick and place tasks, assembly tasks, screwing applications or device tests, to cooperation with other systems, just about any task can be realized. Thanks to our technology, companies are now in a position to solve tasks with a robot that were not possible in the past, or could only be solved very cost-intensively.

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What is the difference between the newest version of Panda and Panda Research?

If you are a researcher or work in a company active in R&D, Panda Research is ideal as a platform to test control and motion algorithms, as it features Franka Control Interface (FCI). FCI allows a fast and direct low-level bidirectional connection to the robot´s Arm and Hand. It provides the current status of the robot and enables its direct control. Panda Research cannot be used for commercial purposes. If you plan to deploy robots for commercial purposes, then Panda - together with the available App Packages - is your ideal power tool. Thanks to an intuitive user interface, no prior programming knowledge is required. Any type of users can automate tasks that were not possible before, or could only be solved cost-intensively, in no time.

Robot

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What software is needed to control Panda?

No software installation is necessary to control Panda! Connect any notebook or PC to the base of the robot via a standard Ethernet cable, and you will be able to navigate our user interface Desk over common browsers like Chrome and Firefox. Please note that this does NOT mean that an Internet connection needs to be in place in order to control Panda.

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When will new end-effectors become available?

We are currently working together with many other 3rd-party suppliers in order to seamlessly integrate more and more end-effectors into the Panda system.

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How can the communication with external sensors/actuators be implemented?

Connecting robot Panda to external sensors/actuators can be easily achieved by using corresponding Apps for the widespread communication protocol Modbus/TCP, which is a Client-Server protocol to exchange process data between different controllers over Ethernet. Modbus/TCP can also be easily converted to a vast variety of other protocols with cheap and standard off-theshelf components.

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What support table is needed to hold the robot?

Robot Panda is equipped with highly sensitive sensor technology and finetuned control algorithms, which require installation on a stable, non-moving and non-vibrating platform. In particular, the following maximum forces must be supported during static and dynamic operation: vertical force (410N), horizontal force (300N), tilting torque (280Nm), torque around the first axis from the bottom (90Nm). For further technical information and requirements about the correct site of installation, please refer to the user manual, where you can also find details about how to position the holes for the screws into the baseplate, in order to fasten the robot.

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Can Panda be installed on a mobile platform?

Panda currently requires installation on a stable, non-moving and non-vibrating platform.

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Can Panda be installed "horizontally"?

The Arm can currently only be installed vertically (with its base horizontal to the earth´s surface).

FCI

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What is FCI?

The Franka Control Interface (FCI) - available as part of the Panda Research version only - allows for a fast and direct low-level bidirectional connection to the robot´s Arm and Hand. It provides the current status of the robot and enables its direct control. The following real-time control values can be comanded, including:

  • Desired gravity & friction compensated joint level torque commands.

  • Desired joint position or velocity commands.

  • Desired Cartesian position or velocity commands.

Furthermore, you get access to the following feedback data:

  • Measured joint data, such as the position, velocity and link side torque sensor signals.

  • Low-level desired joint goals.

  • Estimation of externally applied torques and forces.

  • Various collision and contact information.

Documentation about Franka Control Interface can be found at the page https://support.franka.de, which also includes source code and documentation of libfranka* and franka_ros**.

*libfranka provides a C++ interface which can run on a workstation PC. The connection to the FCI is established via a standard Ethernet connection to Control. The FCI provides high-speed measurements from Panda´s Arm and Hand. Furthermore, it accepts control commands at an update frequency of 1kHz.
**franka_ros connects Panda with the entire ROS ecosystem. It provides functionality equivalent to libfranka for ROS Control. Additionally, it includes URDF models and detailed 3D meshes of our robots and end effectors, which allows visualization (e.g. RViz) and kinematic simulations. Also, MoveIt! integration makes it easy to move the robot and control the gripper.

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Does the workstation PC need to have any special requirement to run FCI?

In order to run libfranka / franka_ros, your workstation PC needs to run realtime Linux and a fast network-card. In the FCI documentation https://support.franka.de you can find a minimum-requirements section with a more in detail explanation.

Documentation and Releases

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Can I get the 3D-models of the robot?

The 3D-models of Arm and Hand (in URDF Format) can be found as part of franka_ros (https://support.franka.de). Another version of the 3Dmodels (SolidWorks Format) is available for customers and can be requested by contacting our sales team at sales@franka.de.

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Where can I find documentation about FCI?

FCI Documentation includes an overview, tutorials and installation instructions for using Franka Control Interface. This can be found at the page https://support.franka.de, which also includes source code and documentation for libfranka and franka_ros.

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Where can I find updates about Franka Emika and its activities?

We are present on social media! Follow (and like!) us on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube.

Apps

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Is it possible to purchase App packages at any time?

App packages can be included at the moment of the purchase of a Panda system, but of course they can be added anytime later too, whenever your Panda needs further skills to master your automated processes.

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Can I program my own Apps?

We are testing a development kit - to develop custom Apps - with selected Partners. After this process, we will share the development kit with the whole community!

Safety

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What´s Franka Emika´s unique approach regarding safety?

In the robotic world, it is state of the art that robot suppliers only deliver their robots in parts (e.g. arm + controller + end-effector). Every component is only declared as a part of a machine. As a result of this, as a user, you are completely left on your own to perform the procedure for assessing the conformity of machinery (EU Machinery Directive 2006/42/EG). That means that you need to analyze and understand the residual risks related to the robot, the end-effector, the automation task and the objects that shall be handled, or include very expensive integrators. In addition, the user needs to perform a risk analysis according to the Machinery Directive, find and realize risk mitigation measures, create the technical documentation for the complete machine, and declare CE compliance by writing a declaration of conformity, signing it and finally applying the CE mark to the machine. Can such robotic systems be considered out of the box products? Not in our eyes. We, as Franka Emika, are now the first robot suppliers in the world to deliver CE out of the box solutions that are ready-touse for certain application scenarios. Go through the questions of an enclosed CE-checklist, and if all of them can be marked with yes, you can start using Panda right away, without performing an additional risk analysis. Check the App Packages on our website for the CE out of the box logo.

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What´s the long-term vision of Franka Emika regarding safety?

The CE out of the box solutions that we are currently offering only represent the start. So to say, a first "hammer", and a first "screw driver" in the tool box. We are continuously working on new modular "tools" for Panda. With every functionality and with every safety feature that we add to Panda, the more CE out of the box solutions will become available. So Panda will become THE universal tool box!

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What compliances does the Panda system have?

CE (for Europe):

  • All parts used in our products are compliant with the ROHS Directive.

  • The Hand includes:

    • a declaration of conformity to the European law for the Machinery Directive and EMC Directive.

  • Arm + Control include:

    • a declaration of conformity to the European law for the EMC Directive and Low Voltage Directive;

    • concerning the Machinery Directive, Arm + Control come with a declaration of incorporation (for partly completed machinery).

  • CE out of the box solutions include:

    • a declaration of conformity to the European law for the Machinery Directive, EMC Directive and Low Voltage Directive - as a completed machinery.

FCC (for US):

  • Our Panda system´s components (Arm, Control, Hand) are compliant with the US FCC regulations for electromagnetic compatibility.