According to industry experts, Ryan Wasmund and Evan Gonnerman of Concept Systems Inc., the successful deployment of robotics calls for a multifaceted approach. During a March 12, 2020 webcast hosted by Control Engineering, they shed light on the best practices when shifting from manual to automated solutions. Other areas they focused on were collaborative and industrial robots, robotic speed control and control engineering. Here is a detailed overview of how your business can apply robotics based on the webcast.
Collaborative Robot vs Traditional Industrial Robot
The decision to choose collaborative robots, also known as cobots, over their industrial robots is informed by the safety requirements of the specific applications. Experts argue that automation applications that need frequent human input may require the use of collaborative robots. This is because cobots are specially designed to share workspaces with humans.
However, if an assembly line requires human input at specific points, the best way to automate operations is by using traditional industrial robots. This is because they have higher maximum operating speeds than cobots and consequently result in increased output. To enhance safety, industrial robots are fitted with laser scanners especially in sections where human intervention is required.
When it comes to engineering principles governing robotics control, adequate risk management measures must be taken whether users opt to use cobots or traditional robots. This ensures enhanced safety as humans interact with the machines. It is crucial to note that robots rely on sensors and software tools to effectively collaborate with humans. Cobots offer more flexibility when it comes to set up, programming and resetting for reuse in other applications.
Robotic Movement: Challenges and Limitation in Controlling Speed
The number one challenge when it comes to implementing 6-axis robotic motion is avoiding robot singularity. This occurs when the robot end-effector is blocked in certain directions. Usually, this happens when the 4th and 6th axes of the robot arm are aligned. When this happens, the autonomous machine cannot do what it is expected to do. To avoid this problem, manufacturers rely on software, tooling, and angular mounting solutions to alter the speeds of different sections of robotic arms.
Another important factor to consider when it comes to robot movement is its reach capability. This is simply how far or high a robotic arm can reach. The reach capability of a robot, therefore, determines the suitability of the machine for a specific application.
Before adopting a robot for any application, experts advise users to consider its payload capacity. This is the weight capacity of a robot manipulator including the end of arm tooling. The payload capacity of a robot determines how fast or slow different sections of the machine are supposed to move. Ultimately, this determines how suitable a robot is for certain applications.
Manual to Automation Transition Pitfalls
When planning to shift from manual to automatic operations, users need to incorporate support and maintenance procedures to ensure that robots function seamlessly after deployment. Experts observe that one of the greatest mistakes most companies make is embracing robotics without robust support structures for their robots. This not only sets them up for failure but also risks bringing their operations to a complete halt.
The top areas where companies need support include maintenance of robots, software programming as well as the integration of new products. While robot users can use in-house talent to support their robotic operations, outsourcing these services can be a cheaper option.
Power Quality and Robots
Usually, power quality is not a common problem among many users of robotic technology. This only arises when the incoming power is not stable and poses a real threat to the safety of the equipment. To address problems associated with power quality, companies can use line reactors or power conditioners.
New Technologies and Robotic Applications
The advent of new technologies is making the adoption of robots easy and seamless. For example, 3D simulations play a critical role in robotic safety, training and application development. Moreover, machine learning improves production by providing faster iterations while feedback devices make programming easier. Other technologies that are aiding the adoption of robots include digital twins, augmented reality, wireless communication, remote teaching, and tablet HMIs.