One of the more common tasks I am asked about day to day is dealing with round tube. There is so much of it used in all manner of products its seems near every one has to deal with it in some way or to some extent. It can be a simple process or as complex as putting together that build it yourself furniture we all love.
Often when I am asked about polishing I find that there are some basics that folks are not aware of. As with all things every one will have their own way and I am no different. Some people will spend 5 years polishing pipe and find a way that works great due to the volume and time they invest. I tend to touch all manner of items so my experience tends to be more varied. I do not offer this as the carved in stone rule but rather the results of that varied experience over many years and parts.
I often get the question of what can you automate. So I will give a few examples here of things you can as well as a few basic tips.
Here we will look at an application where fabricated sinks, counters and other trim parts were finished with a robotic cell. The parts were long term items the company produces where a reduction in labor and an increase in volume were needed. Both were had with a single robot with a tool changer. The ability to grind the weld then shift to blending the finish are one of the reasons robots work so well. It is not a matter of one aspect getting addressed but rather the entire process.
When you start to look into automation be it a finishing application, welding or any number of other processes labor tends to be at the top of the list. There are some things you should keep in mind as you go through the process.
I received many good questions on the robot working with enclosures. To that end I wanted to provide a little more information.
From detailed sanding tasks to simple weld removal robotics have a place in finishing. We will take a look at an enclosure application and touch on some of the main points that the company was looking for and how we got there. As always I respect the privacy of the people I work with and to that I will not share more than the company involved approved. So I can not show the final system in detail but can give a good idea of it in general.
I get a constant flow of questions and in an effort to spread the info to those who may be curious about the same I am going to share a few more here.
When you look at automation one of the issues that comes up is money. Its the case with every aspect of life in some way and you have to be ready for it. You find a system you like and it will do the job so you are a bit excited to see an end to your problem process. Then you take it to the office only to have purchasing fall out of their chair. You have to look at the cost in context and not just as a number.
Having an example where automation made sense could be helpful. It may shed some light on what to look for and reasons to move to automate a process or part in general. I will have to limit the detail a bit to protect the parties involved and respect their wishes. But in a general sense it gives a picture of what was automated and the results.