As a change of pace I thought I would share an installation that started this week.
Just about every market can find benefit in process automation. From labor reduction to improving the total time in production there is value in the automation. For some it is the need to improve part to part consistency or just the basic improvement in the over all finished product.
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 received so many really good questions I thought it may be helpful to share some with the answer to help others that may be faced with the same questions or problems. I am going to try and not go too deep and keep it easy to understand. Be aware the dynamics of each situation and the parts will be different. Keep sending me those questions as I enjoy good questions.
Enclosure and sheet metal finishing has been one of the areas robots make sense. From blending the finish or grinding weld lines they are fast and flexible. One of the first issues you run in to when working with formed or fabricated parts is variation part to part. It can be the heat from welding or the tension in the material or any number of other factors. This has caused many a project to go off the rails. That is not an issue any longer and has been overcome. It was not a one answer solution by any means. It is a combination of fixtures and tools as well as sensors and the feed back loop in a machine. Having a system that can follow the part and deal with the variations is make these systems so efficient. Processing times can be cut to 10% of manual times in some cases with 3 times the speed being the norm. Lights out operation, QC checks, fixture checks, maintenance reminders, automated lubrication the list just goes on and on.