ABB robots star in new “Terminator Salvation” film
The visibility of ABB Robots reached a new level when Warner Brothers Studios recently released the new Terminator Salvation film in North America. Eighteen ABB robots share the spotlight with Christian Bale and other Hollywood stars in the latest installment of the popular Terminator series.
The robots are cast as part of an automation system controlled by Skynet, an artificial intelligence system which is creating an army of Terminator “cyborgs” (cybernetic organisms).
Through special effects, twelve ABB IRB 6620 and six ABB IRB 1600 robots are arranged in an almost endless manufacturing line of robots on the Terminator factory floor, mass producing a growing army of the Terminators. The film makers were attracted by the strength and durability of the IRB 6620s, and the lighter, nimble nature of the wall-mounted IRB 1600s. The robot’s scenes were filmed in 2008 in a converted power plant in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Academy Award winning set director Victor Zolfo and production designer Martin Laing selected ABB because of its product offering, and began working with the Robotics division to work out the details and cast the robot models that would best fit the role.
“We looked at a variety of different robot manufacturers, but were most struck by the presence of ABB’s robots, especially the larger units,” said Zolfo. “They had the right lines and they provided the feel that they could actually be making Terminators.”
A team of ABB field service engineers, lead by Erik Ryskamp, were on set to install, program and operate the robots. An ABB IRC5 controller was provided with every robot to facilitate the precise programming required for each scene.
k and his team worked with us very closely creating an incredible ballet with the robots, actors, stuntmen and Christian Bale,” said Zolfo. “What the ABB programming system was able to get the robots to do was better than we ever expected. The robots are very visible and instrumental in the final, climactic scene of the movie.” >
“Originally we were scheduled to be on-site for about five weeks; I think when McG (the film’s director) saw how cool the robots worked we got the chance to be in a couple more scenes,” said Ryskamp. “I really got a feel for all the planning and effort that is put into every individual scene.”
like the human actors, many of the robots were significantly made-up, covered with black soot to appear as if they had been in rigorous use in for an extended period in dingy conditions.
robots were really an evolutionary character,” said Zolfo. “Like an interim step between the humans and the Terminators.” >
All robots have since been returned to ABB and have been prepped for less visible, but equally important future roles in real-life industrial manufacturing! >
“This was great for both parties. Terminator Salvation got to use ABB robots and engineering expertise, and we got the exposure of our robots being featured in a Hollywood ‘blockbuster’ film, with ABB logos prominently displayed,” said Anders Jonsson, head of Robotics. “These film-makers are used to working with state-of-the-art special effects to show us technologies that won’t exist for decades, yet they were impressed what our robots can do in real life today!” >
Click here to see the Terminator Salvation trailer, or go to see ABB’s robots in full cinemascope at a cinema near you!>
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