Global Material Handling System Integrators

Top 10 Things to Know About Industrial Robots

Industrial robots The need to reduce labor costs, improve ergonomics, maximize system efficiency and speed, and improve product quality has never been more vital than right now.  Here are ten important aspects of industrial robotic systems you should know.

10 | Industrial Robots Reduce Labor Costs

Most organizations that explore the potential of robotics in their facility do so to reduce labor costs.  Whether it be a remote location where consistent labor is hard to find, or a desire to utilize their workforce on tasks that require more advanced techniques and acumen, return on investments for these applications can many times fall between one to two years.

9 | Industrial Robots Have Varying Axis-Configurations

  • 1-Axis Robot: Linear guide system for transferring parts in a single line of motion
  • 2-Axis Robot: Typically in an XY or YZ configuration, these are often in the form of two adjoining linear guides
  • 3-Axis Robot: Typically in an XYZ configuration, these tend to be in the form of two adjoining linear guides and a 3rd axis guide or cylinder
  • 4-Axis Robot: A more conventional arm which is typically used in palletizing applications in which the face plate is always parallel with the ground. Has the ability to rotate the object it is picking.
  • 5-Axis Robot: Similar to a conventional four-axis robot but adds the ability to rotate the object it is picking
  • 6-Axis Robot: Offers the most flexibility with six axes all the way from the base axis for full robot rotation to the sixth axis for rotating the “wrist” or faceplate. Has full yaw/pitch/roll capability of the object it is picking.
  • 7-Axis Robot: A six-axis robot which is placed on a rail or some means to move it from one place to another in a linear direction

8 | Many of the Main Robot Manufacturers Can Be Easily Identified by Robot Color

  • ABB: White
  • Fanuc: Yellow
  • Yaskawa/Motoman: Blue
  • Kuka: Orange
  • Kawasaki: White

7 | Selecting an Industrial Robot

From a high level, the main specifications when selecting a robot are the payload (remember, this includes the product and the end of arm tooling) and reach (the envelope around the robot in which it can extend).  Beyond those two main specifications, the type of robot, manufacturer, speed, and configuration/software options are additional criteria that must be established per the application.  There are hundreds of software options that can typically be applied to a given robot and controller, thus it is important to understand the robotic programming details and requirements prior to implementation.

6 | Industrial Robots Improve Speed and Quality

Whether it be a delta-style robot performing a pick-and-place procedure at nearly 300 picks per minute or a machine tending robot placing a part into a CNC machine at a fraction of a millimeter repeatability, robots perform tasks in ways humans cannot.  Typically, robots will experience a tradeoff between speed and payload, however, technology advances are allowing robots to move heavier products faster than ever.

5 | Industrial Robots Can Do Some Pretty Cool Things

Going to an industry trade show can shed light on some of the emerging and cutting-edge applications for robotics in the industry.  Bastian Robotics has implemented robotics in applications such as 3D bin picking, case packing, palletizing, pick and place, machine tending, and mobile robotics.  With the emerging field of collaborative robots, the breadth of applications is always expanding.  The only limitation at this point is the imagination and creativity of owners, operators, and engineers.

4 | Industrial Robots Improve Operator Ergonomics

Improving working environments is one of the most rewarding benefits of implementing industrial robotic systems.  The ergonomic benefits of using a mechanical device to handle sharp or heavy objects or work in a hazardous environment can increase employee retention and reduce costly workplace injury claims.

3 | Industrial Robots are Safe to Own and Operate

With over 1 million robots operating in facilities across the globe, robot safety is of prime importance.  The Robotic Industries Association (RIA) is on the forefront of the published safety standards that pave the way for safe design and implementation of robotic systems.  This includes both the safety controls and hardware as well as safe operation and maintenance.  Ultimately, however, when implemented correctly, industrial robots have a very impressive safety track record.

2 | Effective End of Arm Tooling Should Not Be Overlooked

What many would call the “heart” of a robotic system is the End-of-Arm-Tooling (EoAT).  Some common EoATs can be purchased “off the shelf” while the majority of EoATs are developed from the ground up by robotic integrators.  Since this is the only part of the robot that is actually interfacing with the customer’s product, it is of utmost importance to design an EoAT that will meet the proper specifications and functionality without damaging, dropping, or infringing upon product quality.  Bastian Robotics prides itself on its diversity of Robotic End of Arm Tooling that it has developed for several different applications, whether it be handling lead acid batteries, bales of scrap aluminum, or packages of hot dogs, Bastian Robotics has the expertise to produce the most innovative and reliable EoATs in the industry.

1 | Integration and Ancillary Equipment Design is Crucial to Success

An industrial robot without proper integration and programming is simply a fancy set of metal arms, servo motors, and cabling.  Industrial robots are most typically integrated with several other components to create an entire robotic cell to take infeed product through a process of packing, machining, assembly, inspection, palletizing, or placement.  Some of the components that may be integrated could include: While this Top 10 list won’t quite make you an industrial robotics expert, it should certainly give you a glimpse at the industry and ways in which robotic automation can be implemented to ultimately improve the bottom line of an organization’s operations.

Author: Mohammad Shaban


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