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OMRON Globally Launches LD-250 Mobile Robot To Move Payloads Up To 250kg

OMRON Globally Launches LD-250 Mobile Robot To Move Payloads Up To 250kg

OMRON Corporation will globally start selling a new mobile robot called the LD-250 on November 15, 2019. With a payload capacity of 250kg, the LD-250 is the strongest and newest addition to the company’s LD series of mobile robots. Together with the Fleet Manager, which for the first time in the industry enables the control of multiple mobile robots with different payloads through one system, it will contribute to realising a more flexible and optimised autonomous material transport system.

Factories worldwide are facing challenges in increasing the productivity and profitability of high-mix production with the decreasing workforce in industrialised nations and rising labor costs in emerging countries. The mobile robot LD series can autonomously avoid people and obstacles while automatically calculating the best routes to transport material.

The new LD-250 mobile robot has a 250kg payload capacity and almost double the surface area, so it can be used to transport large automobile components such as transmission blocks and voluminous packaging materials – things that would traditionally be moved by human workers using carts. To optimise the autonomous material transport system, customers will use OMRON’s industry-first Fleet Manager, which can control a diverse fleet of up to 100 of OMRON’s mobile robots that can consist of different payloads and capabilities, by conducting traffic management, battery management, and navigation of vehicles.

“OMRON has been putting great resources in helping customers realise flexible manufacturing with our robotics technologies since the acquisition of U.S. based robotics company Adept Technology, Inc. in 2015, as part of OMRON’s ‘innovative-Automation’ initiative,” said Motohiro Yamanishi, Senior General Manager of the Robotics Business Development Project at OMRON’s Industrial Automation Company, adding, “The new LD-250 will be key in advancing that initiative a step further, by giving customers more choice when automating their material transport operation, an area rapidly being enhanced with mobile robots in industries worldwide.”

With the addition of the LD-250 into OMRON’s mobile robot LD series, customers in a wide variety of industries including automotive, electronics, food and commodities, no longer need to establish fixed material transport equipment, but achieve a system that can flexibly handle changing market demands.  OMRON will continue to contribute solving the societal challenges by liberating workers from the simple, dull, and tiring work of material transport and allowing them to focus on more creative tasks.

OMRON will be exhibiting the new LD-250 at the International Robot Exhibition 2019 to be held in Tokyo, Japan, on Dec. 18-21, 2019.

Highlights of the new LD250 include:

Higher Payload and Sturdier Structure: With a payload of 250kg, the LD-250 is an impressive addition to OMRON’s LD mobile robot series, which until now was comprised of the LD-60 (payload up to 60kg), LD-90 (payload up to 90kg) and the Cart Transporter models that are able to transport up to 130kg.

The LD-250 is built with sturdier metal skins that can withstand unintended external impacts and more demanding duties. It can also automate the transportation of bulky materials that would traditionally be moved around by people using carts. These would include items such as transmission blocks, seats, or wire harnesses in the automotive industry, as well as voluminous packaging materials in the food and commodities industry. The LD-250 will help companies that are increasingly urged to shift workers from material transport operations to other higher value-added tasks.

Highly Mixed Fleet: With OMRON, customers have the ability to easily manage mobile fleets up to 100 robots, which now includes the LD-250. With the LD-250 and the industry-leading Fleet Manager, mobile fleets can be more diverse and still be controlled through the same system without worrying about compatibility or performance.

Faster ROI: The LD-250 allows customers to load more onto a mobile robot, making fewer trips with heavier batches, increasing the return on investment. Customers can mix and match LD models to create the most efficient and flexible material transport system possible.

Customisable: The LD series offers the most customisable mobile solution for industrial environments. The LD-250 can easily be customised with conveyor tops, courier systems, and adaptive material handling mechanics to create a solution that best meets customer needs. LD-250 also takes advantage of OMRON’s ability to customise mobile fleets with accessories that improve performance, such as HAPS*1, side lasers, and the Acuity*2 vision localisation.

The integration of the LD-250 and OMRON TM Collaborative Robots will also open up a new market for heavy-duty “mobile manipulators” that can handle manipulation tasks along with material transport.

 

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Universal Robots Future-Proofs Production Processes In Southeast Asia With Collaborative Robots

Universal Robots Future-Proofs Production Processes In Southeast Asia With Collaborative Robots

Universal Robots (UR) has helped Vietnam-based Vinacomin Motor Industry Joint Stock Company (VMIC) – a subsidiary of the Vinacomin Group,  future-proof its production processes with cobots. VMIC, one of the first state-owned manufacturers to deploy cobots, has seen productivity increase two to three times, with improved product quality, leading to a 50 to 60 percent rise in orders.

VMIC deployed two UR10 cobots to undertake
two tasks; pick and place and machine tending

Mr Darrell Adams, Head of Southeast Asia & Oceania, Universal Robots said, “Cobots continue to offer businesses in Southeast Asia vast benefits to transform their manufacturing processes and remain competitive. VMIC is exemplary of this, automating its once heavily-reliant manual processes and now boasting high productivity and better output quality.

“UR is at the forefront of cobot technology, helping businesses like VMIC accelerate the transition to smarter production and sustainable growth. We are seeing greater cobot technology adoption in the region as companies realise the immense potential of automation. Beyond the mining industry, cobots are deployed in sectors such as automotive, electronics, textile, pharmaceuticals, footwear and food processing industries,” he added.

Growing Adoption Of Robotics In Southeast Asia

Robot adoption is increasing in the region. According to the International Federation of Robotics, Asia is the largest industrial robot market, with over 280,000 units installed last year. While Southeast Asia makes up a small share of that total, the region has steadily seen an increase in installed robots annually.  Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia are ranked among the 30 largest markets in 2018 with a total of 87,100 operational robots. The electronics and automotive industries remain the largest robot users in the region.

Singapore claimed the highest robot density globally in 2018 with 831 robots per 10,000 workers, followed by Malaysia and Thailand with 52 and 51 units each. Digitalisation and greater automation in industrial production is expected to drive robot installations. Countries such as Malaysia and Thailand are expected to see an average annual growth rate of five to 15 percent from 2020 to 2022. The automation and control market in Vietnam is estimated to be worth US$184.5million by 2021 according to Frost and Sullivan.

UR10 Cobots Implemented At VMIC

Manual processes dominated work at VMIC, which manufactures parts for mining vehicles. This reliance on physical labour resulted in low productivity and inconsistent quality. Customer numbers and orders were low, affecting workers’ income. Realising that it was imperative to embrace automation, the company deployed two UR10 cobots to undertake two tasks; pick and place and machine tending.

VMIC reached out to local automation systems integrator Vnstar Automation JSC (Vnstar) – a partner of Servo Dynamics Engineering (Servo), a UR distributor in Vietnam – to automate its processes.

 

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Bearing Solutions And Dynamic Motion Systems For Robot-Based Automation

Bearing Solutions And Dynamic Motion Systems For Robot-Based Automation

Industrial robots have established themselves in the competition for efficient automation solutions for a wide variety of handling and machining tasks. This development has been accelerated by increasing quantities and the associated fall in purchasing costs and by technical progress regarding rigidities and possible loads. Articulated arm bearing supports play a decisive role in the load carrying capacity, dynamics, and precision of robots. Schaeffler offers solutions for each of the six axes with their specific requirements.

INA XSU-series crossed roller bearings: Ideal for narrow design envelopes thanks to their high load carrying capacity and rigidity with a small bearing cross-section

Swivel joint bearing supports for articulated robots

The lower swivel bearing support for axes 1 and 2 of a robot supports the entire weight and the largest tilting moments. What makes things even more difficult is the fact that tilting in the bearing support is multiplied as far as the tool center point (TCP). This is where Schaeffler offers INA ZKLDF double-row axial angular contact ball bearings with very high tilting rigidity, which are well known from the machine tool sector. Their solid bearing rings are screw mounted to the adjacent construction.

Axes 3 and 4 still support a significant proportion of the robot arm’s weight, however, the installation space in the joint is already significantly restricted. This calls for a high load carrying capacity and rigidity with a small bearing cross-section. Schaeffler’s engineers have optimised INA XSU-series crossed roller bearings especially for the increasing requirements in this application. A particularly high filling level with cylindrical rollers ensures increased rigidity.

Double-row bearing supports, particularly those in an O arrangement, offer major potential for bearing supports with very high tilting rigidity due to their very large support distance and small axial design envelope. INA SGL-series angular contact roller bearings also have a very rigid roller contact. Schaeffler recommends a combination of both types, particularly for axes 5 and 6 with small articulated arm diameters. SGL bearings can be very flexibly integrated into the available installation space between the robot’s gearbox and the housing due to their small cross-section and diameter graduations.

The 7th axis – the extended arm

A so-called 7th axis is frequently used to extend the working area of industrial robots or enable them to move greater distances. The robot is moved between individual machine tools or stations and the magazines and palette systems on a table of the linear axis. The INA KUSE six-row monorail guidance system in X-life quality is particularly suitable as a guidance system here. It offers a very high nominal rating life, reduced lubricant requirement, and extremely small stroke pulsation. In a compressive direction, this six-row monorail guidance system has a particularly high load carrying capacity and is therefore ideally suited for combination with direct drives. In order to maximise the availability of the entire production cell with X machine tools, Schaeffler offers DuraSense as an option for its monorail guidance systems. DuraSense’s integrated sensor system enables automated lubrication or monitoring of the lubrication condition of carriages. The risk of unplanned downtimes due to wear and lubrication failure is significantly reduced.

INA linear actuators and driven linear units can be combined from an extensive range to form cartesian systems. INA MTKUSE telescopic actuators are suitable for transport and handling tasks in workpiece and tool magazines, for example.

Cartesian systems: Cost-effective, dynamic, and precise

It is not always necessary to use an expensive robot for handling workpieces and tools. These tasks can be frequently still performed by cartesian axis systems, which are constructed from linear actuators that can be combined. Schaeffler offers an extensive range of INA linear actuators and driven linear units in this field. Linear actuators with special functions expand the range of applications. MTKUSE telescopic actuators, for example, allow a handover in areas behind protective barriers or in separate workspaces.

 

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Industrial Robots: Robot Investment Reaches Record US$16.5 Billion

Industrial Robots: Robot Investment Reaches Record US$16.5 Billion

The World Robotics report shows an annual global sales of robots value of 16.5 billion USD in 2018 – a new record. 422,000 units were shipped globally in 2018 – an increase of six percent compared to the previous year. IFR forecasts shipments in 2019 will recede from the record level in 2018, but expects an average growth of 12 percent per year from 2020 to 2022.

“We saw a dynamic performance in 2018 with a new sales record, even as the main customers for robots – the automotive and electrical-electronics industry – had a difficult year,” says Junji Tsuda, President of the International Federation of Robotics.

“The US-China trade conflict imposes uncertainty to the global economy – customers tend to postpone investments. But it is exciting, that the mark of 400,000 robot installations per year has been passed for the first time. The IFR´s longer term outlook shows that the ongoing automation trend and continued technical improvements will result in double digit growth – with an estimate of about 584,000 units in 2022.”

Asia is the world’s largest industrial robot market. In 2018, there was a mixed picture for the three largest Asian markets: Installations in China and the Republic of Korea declined, while Japan increased considerably. In total, Asia grew by one percent. Robot installations in the second largest market, Europe, increased by 14 percent and reached a new peak for the sixth year in a row. In the Americas, the growth rate reached 20 percent more than the year before which also marks a new record level for the sixth year in a row.

The automotive industry remains the largest adopter of robots globally with a share of almost 30 percent of the total supply (2018). Investments in new car production capacities and in modernization have driven the demand for robots. On the other hand, robot installations in the electrical/electronics industry declined by 14 percent from their peak level of about 122,000 units in 2017 to 105,000 units in 2018. The global demand for electronic devices and components substantially decreased in 2018.

Furthermore, the metal and machinery industry established itself as the third largest customer industry. Installations accounted for 10 percent of total demand in 2018. Both producers of metal products (without automotive parts) and producers of industrial machinery, have bought substantial amounts of robots in recent years.

 

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Universal Robots Launches Heavy-Duty Payload Cobot For Collaborative Automation

Universal Robots Launches Heavy-Duty Payload Cobot For Collaborative Automation

Universal Robots (UR) has announced the immediate availability of the UR16e which boasts an impressive 16 kg payload capability.

UR16e combines the high payload with an arm reach of 900 mm and has a pose repeatability, the ability to precisely reproduce the same desired poses or positions, on repeat, of +/- 0.05 mm. This makes it ideal for automating tasks such as heavy-duty material handling, heavy-part handling, and machine tending.

“In today’s uncertain economic climate manufacturers need to look at flexible solutions to stay competitive,” said Jürgen von Hollen, President of Universal Robots. “With UR16e, we meet the need for a collaborative robot that can tackle heavy-duty tasks reliably and efficiently. This launch significantly expands the versatility of our product portfolio and gives manufacturers even more ways to improve performance, overcome labor challenges, and grow their business.”

Developed on UR’s innovative e-Series platform, the UR16e offers immense benefits, capabilities and value for manufacturers, including:

  • Fast and frictionless deployment with easy programming and a small footprint

UR16e makes accelerating automation easy and fast. Programming and integration is simple – regardless of the user’s experience or knowledge base. Like all UR’s cobots, UR16e can be unpacked, mounted and programmed to perform a task within less then an hour. With a small footprint and 900 mm reach, UR16e easily integrates into any production environment without disruption.

  • Addresses ergonomic challenges while lowering cost

With 16 kg payload, UR16e eliminates the ergonomic and productivity challenges associated with lifting and moving heavy parts and products, lowering costs, and reducing downtime.

  • Ideal for heavy-duty material handling and machine tending

Rugged and reliable, UR16e is ideal for automating high-payload and CNC machine tending applications, including multi-part handling, without compromising on precision.

“At Universal Robots we continue to push the boundaries of what’s possible with collaborative automation,” continued von Hollen. “Today, we’re making it easier than ever for every manufacturer to capitalise on the power of automation by bringing a cobot to market that is built to do more as it delivers more payload than our other cobots.”

Like with UR’s other e-Series cobots; UR3e, UR5e and UR10e, the UR16e includes built-in force sensing, 17 configurable safety functions, including customisable stopping time and stopping distance, and an intuitive programming flow. UR16e meets the most demanding compliance regulations and safety standards for unobstructed human-robot collaboration, including EN ISO 13849-1, PLd, Category 3, and full EN ISO 10218-1.

 

Southeast Asia is Embracing Robot Adoption

Southeast Asian countries significantly outperform the rest of the world in robot adoption while Europe and the United States (US) lag behind according to the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation[2]. Singapore is the region’s frontrunner and has the second highest robot density globally with 658 robots per 10,000 workers, followed by Thailand and Malaysia with 48 and 45 units each.

Cobots, the fastest growing industrial automation segment, are deployed in the electronics, semiconductor, metal and machining, food and beverage and pharma industries in the region.

They are also increasingly deployed in non-traditional industries such as hospitality and medical. In Singapore, UR cobots are programmed for all kinds of tasks, from manufacturing, to preparing bowls of laksa curry noodles[3], to assisting in massages[4]. In Vietnam and Thailand, robots are also used in hospitals to assist in surgeries[5][6].

James McKew, Regional Director of APAC at Universal Robots, said: “We see greater awareness of robotic solutions and cobots in particular in Southeast Asia. The region is very attractive to companies – domestic or international – looking to increase their competitive edge, and whether setting up new facilities, or relocating from other countries. The new UR16e expands the capabilities of our e-Series range, catering to a wider range of business needs.”

UR16e’s strength and advanced features will be showcased live for the first time at the China International Industy Fair which takes place in Shanghai (17-21 September 2019) followed by Pack Expo in Las Vegas next week (23-25 September 2019).

 
[1] http://www2.itif.org/2018-industrial-robot-adoption.pdf

[2] http://www2.itif.org/2018-industrial-robot-adoption.pdf

[3] R https://cnalifestyle.channelnewsasia.com/trending/laksa-robot-cooking-station-catering-singapore-11694392

[4] Smarter ageing with collaborative robots

[5] Surgical robots used in more hospitals in Vietnam

[6] https://www.phukethospital.com/about-us/innovation-technology/robotic-surgery/

 

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Putting Automation In The Hands Of The People With Collaborative Robots

Putting Automation in the Hands of the People with Collaborative Robots

Whether it is to help humans build automobiles on a production line or assemble intricate parts at a family-run business, collaborative robots represent a paradigm shift not only in automation but also in work dynamics. Article by Andie Zhang, ABB.

Collaborative robots (cobots) have been changing the rules of the industrial world over the past decade. With sensors and built-in safety functions, these dexterous industrial robots can work safely alongside humans, enabling greater flexibility in a wide range of industries around the world.

Technologies such as ABB’s SafeMove2 can make any connected industrial robot a collaborative one, which allow the cobots to be installed without the need for physical barriers such as fences and cages that have traditionally been a requirement for generations of industrial robots. Working with collaborative robots is more than just the robot themselves. It is about the application which can take place at many levels, with incremental benefits at each.

One such way is the ability for cobot to co-exist safely with humans on the same fenceless factory floor, which significantly reduces the space taken up by the robot. The feature is ideal for applications like palletising where the robot can maximise productivity without compromising on safety.

Another way cobots can maximise flexibility and efficiency is by synchronised collaboration where the human and the robot work together in a planned but more intermittent manner, for tasks such as machine tending that require some amount of human interaction along with the robot’s speed and precision. Finally, the highest level of collaboration is for the robot and human to co-operate with each other to share workspaces and tasks continuously. This is especially useful for small parts assembly lines.

Collaborative robots also provide manufacturers with the flexibility to manage the shift to low-volume/high-mix production. Collaborative robots add agility to change between products and introduce new products faster. The people on the production line contribute their unique problem-solving capabilities, insights and adaptability to change, while robots bring tireless precision and endurance for repetitive tasks.

Going large by going small

The global market for collaborative robots is estimated to be valued at $12.3 billion by 2025, with a compound annual growth rate of more than 50 percent, according to research firm MarketsandMarkets.

But where is that potential stemming from? One key driver for growth is the development of collaborative robots for workplaces outside large manufacturing environments. While robotic automation technology has evolved significantly over the years to meet the growing demands for high volume industrial production, it has also evolved to create smaller collaborative robots such as YuMi, which is designed to fit easily into existing production lines to increase productivity while working safely alongside people.

The inherent qualities of collaborative robots make them ideal automation solutions that can be game changers for smaller manufacturers by helping them boost productivity, reduce operating costs and even improve the safety and retention rate of employees. At the outset, collaborative robot installation is far cheaper than large industrial ones because of their smaller size and fewer peripheral equipment. This means that the investment needed for a robotic work cell can go down from over $200,000 to under $50,000.

Putting Automation in the Hands of the People with Collaborative RobotsRobots that create better work environment

Another attractive proposition to make the case for cobots is the lack of labour that is prevalent in most markets. The current generation of working people who have grown up in the digital world, are more qualified than their predecessors and do not want to spend hours performing dirty, dull, dangerous and repetitive tasks such as picking and placing products from bins, tending to machines or packaging finished goods. Also, with shorter product lifecycles, small manufacturers who operate in high labour cost countries and are closer to their end customers cannot simply outsource labour to low-cost countries like large corporations do. In these conditions, collaborative robots are ideal as they not only reduce the need for manual labour, but can work tirelessly and with higher quality, allowing their human co-workers to perform more stimulating work that can lead to higher job satisfaction.

By automating monotonous and often more tasking jobs, manufacturers can also improve the safety of their employees. For instance, Anodica, an Italian family-run business that makes high-end metal handles, knobs and trimmings for appliance and automotive industries use YuMi, a dual-armed collaborative robot from ABB, to assemble their products together with an operator. The robot cell was designed anthropometrically around the operator so that all activities are ergonomically managed. By doing this, the company helps employees avoid short- and long-term injuries related to working in a factory.

Hit the ground running

In the past, setting up an industrial robot could take days if not weeks, disrupting ongoing work that can lead to bottlenecks in production. On the contrary, the plug-and-play qualities of modern cobots such as the YuMi means that they can be installed much more quickly, leading to minimal interference with production processes. Also, their small footprint and features that make them easily movable make cobots suitable for automating existing production lines.

Technological advancements have made collaborative robots far more intuitive than their conventional counterparts. Features such as lead-through programming and user-friendly touch screen interface allow operators with no programming experience to quickly program the robot. Software simulation tools such as RobotStudio offered by ABB allows operators to program the robot and simulate the application on a computer without shutting down production. This helps speed up the time taken to get the robot running, which is especially useful for organisations that have short product cycles. Moreover, digital twin technology can be used to develop a complete and operational virtual representation of a robot on which diagnostics, prediction and simulation can be run to optimise the machine even before it is set up.

Full flexibility for all

Robotic automation in the traditional sense can be challenging for small manufacturers who make high-mix, low-volume products. Collaborative robots, which are more dexterous than fixed automation, offer much-needed flexibility to production. Their lightweight and easy-to-use features means cobots can be moved around a factory floor to perform different tasks.

Today, large corporations are also enjoying the benefits of cobots being able to work in close proximity with humans. For example, the automotive industry, which has a high degree of automation in areas like the body shop and paint shop, can use cobots to automate the final trim and assembly of vehicles. Here, the robots work closely with humans who add finishing touches to the vehicle while robots perform more repetitive tasks.

Suppliers to the automotive industry, like France-based Faurecia Group, which makes interior components, are also using collaborative robots like ABB’s YuMi to maintain flexibility and increase productivity at their plant in Caligny.

Where from here?

The future of collaborative robotics lies in developing enhanced software features such as cloud connectivity and machine learning that increase their functionalities and make them even safer and easier to use. Software features like ABB’s SafeMove2 ensure that industrial robots are also able to work collaboratively and safety with humans, while QuickMove and TrueMove guarantee superior motion control. Adding more intelligence to robots through artificial intelligence will take the advantages of collaborative robotic automation to the next level.

Whether it is to help humans build automobiles on a production line or assemble intricate parts at a family-run business, collaborative robots represent a paradigm shift not only in automation but also in work dynamics.

 

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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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Industrial Robotics Market Outlook

Industrial Robotics Market Outlook

The industrial robotics market was valued at US$18.05 billion in 2018 and is expected to reach US$37.75 billion by 2024, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12.15 percent over the forecast period (2019–2024), according to market analyst Mordor Intelligence. The market has been witnessing a huge demand over the past decade, owing to the rising adoption of smart factory systems, of which these robots play a vital part. The global smart factory market is expected to reach US$388.68 billion by 2024, which provides insights on the scope of the adoption of industrial robots for automation across end-user industries.

In particular, Industry 4.0, the newest industrial revolution, has fuelled the development of new technologies, like collaborative robots and AI-enabled robots, to name a few, and have enabled industries to use robots to streamline many processes, increase efficiency, and eliminate errors. Increased workplace safety and improved production capabilities have further driven industries to invest in robotic systems.

Rising Demand from Automotive Industry

The growing adoption of automation in the automotive manufacturing process and involvement of digitisation and AI are the primary factors driving the demand for industrial robots in the automotive sector.

In 2017, more than 170,000 robots took part in the production process in the European automotive industry. The growing presence of robots and automation in the European automotive industry is expected to fuel the market for industrial robots in the region.

Meanwhile, China has also become both the world’s largest car market and the world’s largest production site for cars, including electric cars, with much growth potential. In Malaysia, there are 27 automotive manufacturing and assembly plants. Overall, the growing automotive industry in Asia is also creating a massive opportunity for the global industrial robotics market.

 

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Mitsubishi Electric Invests In Realtime Robotics

Mitsubishi Electric Invests in Realtime Robotics

Mitsubishi Electric Corporation has taken an equity stake in Realtime Robotics Inc., a U.S.-based start-up that develops and commercialises motion-planning technologies. Funding by Mitsubishi Electric is expected to accelerate the development of industrial robot systems offering enhanced safety and performance.

Going forward, Mitsubishi Electric expects to launch new industrial robot systems that integrate Realtime Robotics’ motion-planning technologies by 2020. At the same time, Mitsubishi Electric will continue collaborating with other companies as well to further enhance its smart-manufacturing solutions with innovative technologies.

As workforces decline and labour costs rise in various markets worldwide, the importance and necessity of industrial robot systems continues to grow. Mitsubishi Electric is already meeting needs in such markets with its MELFA series of industrial robot systems, which deploy a high-speed, high-accuracy pick-and-place control solution based on vision capability, force sensors and Maisart AI technology. Industrial customers are now using the solution to supplement their limited human resources with advanced robot systems.

 

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Marvel Of Robotic Arms

Marvel Of Robotic Arms

One of the most common robots in the manufacturing world is the robotic arm. The robotic arm is in most cases programmable and used to perform specific tasks, most commonly for manufacturing, fabrication, and industrial applications. Article by Ahmad Alshidiq.

An industrial robotic arm is a device that operates in a similar way to a human arm, with a number of joints that either move along an axis or can rotate in certain directions. In fact, some robotic arms imitate the exact movements of human arms. They also resemble our arm, with a wrist, forearm, elbow and shoulder. The six-axis robot has six degrees of freedom, allowing it to move six different ways, unlike the human arm, which has seven degrees of freedom.

Industrial robotic arms, however, move much faster than human arms. An industrial robot arm increases the speed of the manufacturing process, the accuracy and precision. These robotic arms cut down on worker error and labour costs. Also, the quality of the product begins to improve because of the robot’s ability to, for example, accurately sand down edges, produce straighter welds or drill precise holes. This just continually improves the product over time, while also improving the integrity of the brand. But robotic arms need proper safety measures, else it can pose safety hazard to humans.

Sensors and Vision Robotics

An important advancement in the use robotic arms is the development of sensors. Robotic arms usually have sensors to perform specific tasks and to ensure the safety of human workers. Although early robots had sensors to measure the joint angles of the robot, advances in robotic sensors have had a significant impact on the work that robots can safely undertake. A summary of some of these sensors according to Design Robotics:

  • 2D Vision sensors incorporate a video camera which allows the robot to detect movement over a specific location. This lets the robot adapt its movements or actions in reference to the data it obtains from the camera.
  • 3D Vision Sensors are a new and emerging technology that has the potential to assist the robot in making more complex decisions. This can be achieved by using two cameras at different angles, or using a laser scanner to provide three-dimensional views for the robot.
  • A Force Torque sensor helps the robotic arm to understand the amount of force it is applying and allows it to change the force accordingly.
  • Collision Detection sensors provide the robot an awareness of its surroundings.
  • Safety Sensors are used to ensure people working around the robot are safe. The safety sensors alert the robot if it needs to move or stop operating if it senses a person within a certain range.

There are many other sensors available which include tactile sensors or heat sensors. The benefits of these different types of sensors for robotic arms are that they provide the robot with detailed and varied information from which it can make decisions. The more information the robot has available to it, the more complex decisions it can make. Ultimately the purpose of these sensors is to help make working environments around robots safe for people.

Automate Processes

The industrial robotic arm, which is usually made of steel or cast iron is built from the base up, ending with the wrist and whatever end effector is needed to perform the arm’s chosen task. A robotic controller rotates motors that are attached to each joint. Some of the larger arms, used to lift heavy payloads, are run by hydraulic and pneumatic means.

The arm’s job moves the end effector from place to place – picking up, putting down, taking off or welding a part or the entire work piece. These robotic arms can be programmed to do several different jobs or one specific job.

What comes after the robot’s wrist, and what’s added around the robot, varies depending on the application. But no matter the application, your robot will always need to be equipped with other components in order to work properly. These components might include end-of-arm tools (grippers, welding torches, polishing head) and sensors (such as force-torque sensors, safety sensors, vision systems).

When factories install a robotic cell, their purpose is to automate a process. That process could be one that’s currently done at a manual cell, or it could be an entirely new function. A robotic arm comes with two important elements, according to MachineDesign: the controller, which is the computer that drives its movement, and the teach pendant, which is the user interface that the operator uses to program the robot.

These metal marvels will continue to operate in manufacturing for years to come – arms lifting and moving progress along until the next lightning fast innovation is introduced. All these benefits continue to grow as robots continue to improve and enhance over time.

 

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