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How Industrial Robots Increase Sawing Productivity

How Industrial Robots Increase Sawing Productivity

More and more metalworking companies are now relying on integrated automation in their production. And the same thing is happening when it comes to sawing technology. Article by KASTO Maschinenbau GmbH & Co. KG.

More and more metalworking companies are now relying on integrated automation in their production. And the same thing is happening when it comes to sawing technology. The use of industrial robots offers great potential for handling the sawn sections: The mechanical helpers can take on numerous tasks, from picking to deburring, weighing, centring and marking to sorting and stacking. This provides more flexibility and performance in production, better working conditions and significantly lower operating costs.

Across all sectors, the demands placed on metalworking companies are steadily increasing: They must have a high production flexibility from batch size one to large-scale production, process more and more different materials and dimensions—in excellent quality and at the lowest possible cost. Those who want to be permanently successful in the ever tougher international competition must organise all their production processes in a variable and efficient, but also efficient way.

Countless Uses for Robots

Sawing technology plays a key role in metal processing and offers many opportunities for optimisation. More and more operators of sawing systems are intelligently linking their work processes and automating them with robot support. The benefits are obvious: Industrial robots are fast, reliable and precise, and if necessary, they can work 24 hours a day without human intervention. They don’t get tired or fall ill, and they can handle a wide range of tasks when equipped with the necessary tools. “Our robots help us with a number of handling and conveying tasks and efficiently perform many machining steps,” says Volker Bühler, group manager for robotics at the sawing and storage technology specialist KASTO.

Automation starts right with material feeding. The material to be cut is conveyed to the machine by means of suitable equipment, for example roller conveyors or magazines, thus sparing workers the effort of lifting and carrying, and reducing the risk of injuries. Depending on how it is equipped, the sawing machine itself can also run attended. Material is fed to it automatically, and an intelligent machine control system sets all parameters, such as cutting length and cutting speed, based on the job data. State-of-the-art production saws can thus carry out a variety of jobs in sequence, with different materials and diameters, and operate autonomously for long periods.

Removal, Machining, Stacking—Automatic from Start to Finish

Industrial robots also have considerable potential when it comes to handling and processing finished cut parts. For example, they can remove them from the machine, thus relieving workers of this repetitive task. When equipped with appropriate tools, robots can also perform tasks like deburring, chamfering, marking, centring or measuring workpieces. Cut parts can be weighed, sorted by size or job, and stacked on pallets or placed in containers. The parts can also be transferred directly to a driverless transport system. “For complex processes involving various work steps, we also use combinations of different robots and clamping devices,” explains Bühler.

When large quantities of material are sawed with only a few different component geometries, it is relatively easy to automate the downstream processes. The situation is different with custom sawing involving diverse materials and dimensions.

“The greater the variety, the harder it is to cover all the possibilities,” says Bühler. The choice of robot tools is an important factor. A robot must be able to deal with all the objects it encounters while using as few aids as possible. This reduces procurement costs, minimises idle times and increases productivity. Users have a choice of mechanical, magnetic or vacuum-operated grippers. The grippers should be as compact as possible to give the robot easy access to the cut parts.

Sawing Technology on Course to Industry 4.0

With the help of the right components, sawing can be combined with other automated operations to create complex, highly integrated systems that are seamlessly connected in a continuous material flow. This includes upstream storage as well as downstream handling and processing. For example, KASTO implements combined storage and sawing systems for its customers in which all storage, handling, sawing, marking, palletising and bundling processes are completely automated—from storage of the raw material to retrieval of the cut parts. The control software can be linked to existing ERP systems like SAP for greater transparency and efficiency. Sawing can be integrated with other processes like turning or milling in digitised, self-configured production systems such as envisioned in Germany’s Industry 4.0 initiative.

Automated sawing technology offers significant advantages to users. Many processes can run unattended and much faster, which increases productivity and reduces the need for personnel. It is easier to make up the difference when employees are ill, and robots can keep working even during breaks or after shifts. The result is lower personnel costs and greater flexibility in terms of capacity utilisation.

Companies can react more easily to order peaks and dramatically reduce idle times. This can make a big difference economically.

“We’ve calculated that, depending on the shift model, an investment in an industrial robot with a machine like our KASTOvariospeed saw pays for itself in less than a year,” says Bühler. “When you consider that systems like this are used for more than ten years on average, users can reduce their operating costs for a very long time.”

Benefits for Both Users and Customers

Robot technology also helps to improve working conditions. It relieves employees of heavy, tiring and monotonous tasks. The risk of accidents and injuries is reduced. Moreover, the cut parts are of better quality, because robots machine them with equal precision, sort them reliably and stack them neatly. This provides benefits not only for operators of automatic sawing facilities, but also for their customers.

 

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Robotic End Of Arm Tools (EOAT) Sales Soar

Robotic End Of Arm Tools (EOAT) Sales Soar

A recent research study estimates global sales of robotic end of arm tools (EOAT) to surpass US$ 2,000 million in 2019, up from US$ 1,900 million in 2018. This growth in sales can be attributed to the ever-evolving demand of industrial ecosystems for high productivity via industrial robotics.

With industrial ecosystems facing the constant pressure to enhance productivity and reduce operating costs, the demand for collaborative robots is higher than ever. Subsequently, evolving roles for collaborative robots bring robotic end of arm tools (EOAT) into the fore with a crucial role to play i.e. offering the desired functionality to the robot systems.

As the quality of robotic end of arm tools (EOAT) is closely tied to the performance of robotic frameworks, the end-use industries are seeking lighter, faster, and cheaper models to boost their ROI benefits. This, in turn, has prompted the manufacturers in the robotic end of arm tools (EOAT) market space to meet diverse requirements of the end-use industries who are functioning in an increasingly competitive environment”, said the report.

As per the analysis, grippers remain the ‘top-selling’ robotic end of arm tools (EOAT), with global demand estimated to exceed US$ 1,140 million in 2019. The demand for various types of grippers, such as jaw grippers, niddle grippers, magnetic grippers, bellows grippers, and others, varies according to the target application and associated specifications. According to the report, growing demand for grippers can be attributed to the high importance of ‘pick and place’ applications in the automation space.

According to report, demand for robotic end of arm tools (EOAT) in the automotive industry is estimated to surge, as automakers are rapidly gravitating toward robotic systems to handle complex manufacturing tasks. Automakers across the globe seek flexibility of robots to perform uninterrupted multi-tasking, which makes robotic end of arm tools (EOAT) a viable investment, both in terms of cost reduction and superlative performance.

APEJ To Remain The Largest Market For Robotic End Of Arm Tools (EOAT)

As per the report, APEJ will be highly lucrative region for the manufacturers in the robotic end of arm tools (EOAT) market, as the end-use industries in APEJ aim to stay at the forefront of the ‘Industry 4.0’ trend. This, in turn, is creating untapped potential for the manufacturers in the robotic end of arm tools (EOAT) market to reap sizeable profits.

Flexibility, controlled pressure, and cycle times remain three among the key considerations of end-use industries while opting for robotic end of arm tools (EOAT), unveils the report. By taking into account the aforementioned, manufacturers are adopting a collaborative approach for successful development of products that are well-aligned with the end-user requirements.

Apart from strategic collaborations and product launches, the manufacturers in the robotic end of arm tools (EOAT) market are participating in exhibitions and conferences to demonstrate on their new product launches. This helps them in branching out to business-to-business trade and tapping into new customer segments.

The report analyses prime opportunities brimming in the global robotic end of arm tools (EOAT) market. As per the report, the global robotic end of arm tools (EOAT) market is likely to witness growth at a CAGR of over 10 percent over the forecast period.

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Industrial Robot Sales Increase Worldwide By 29 Percent

Industrial Robot Sales Increase Worldwide By 29 Percent

Munich, Germany: Global sales of industrial robots reached the new record of 380,550 units in 2017. That is an increase of 29 percent compared to the previous year (2016: 294,300 units). China saw the largest growth in demand for industrial robots—up 58 percent. Sales in the USA increased by six percent; in Germany by eight percent compared to the previous year. These are the initial findings of the World Robotics Report 2018, published by the International Federation of Robotics (IFR).

Broken down by industry, the automotive industry continues to lead global demand for industrial robots: In 2017, around 125,200 units were sold in this segment—equivalent to growth of 21 percent. The strongest growth sectors in 2017 were the metal industry (+54 percent), the electrical/electronics industry (+27 percent) and the food industry (+19 percent).

In terms of sales volume, Asia has the strongest individual markets: China installed around 138,000 industrial robots in 2017, followed by South Korea with around 40,000 units and Japan with around 38,000 units. In the Americas, the USA is the largest single market with around 33,000 industrial robots sold, and in Europe it is Germany with around 22,000 units sold.

“Key trends such as digitalisation, simplification and human-robot collaboration will certainly shape the future and drive forward rapid development,” says Junji Tsuda, President of the International Federation of Robotics.

In the course of digitalisation, real production is becoming increasingly connected with the virtual data world, opening up completely new possibilities for analysis – right through to machine learning. Robots will acquire new skills through learning processes.

Correspondingly, the industry is working to simplify the handling of robots. In the future industrial robots should be easier and faster to program using intuitive procedures. Such technology is not only attractive to established users, but also to small and medium-sized companies, for example, companies who can use it to introduce automation without the need for highly experienced or expert personnel.

This development paves the way for the third major robotics trend: collaboration between humans and robots without protective barriers offers new approaches to new flexible production processes. In the future human-robot collaboration will support the flexible production of small quantities with high complexity.

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