Robots can be a cost effective option for many machine tending applications. They can increase productivity, reduce the number of reject products, and reduce the potential of injuries that result from prolonged repetitive lifting.
We have performed several successful installations of machine tending robots. The photos above shows one of these, a press tending installation with a Motoman UP20 tending a brake press.
Die Casting and Injection Moulding
Another common machine tending application is with Die Casting and Injection Moulding, where we have completed several robot systems. This is an area where the “soft axis” and “search” functions are a valuable asset. Most of our latest robots are equipped with these functions.
The “soft axis” function allows any axis to “float”. This means, for example, that variations in the exact location of the work piece can be tolerated, as the gripper can be set to float from side to side. Also, because a limit to the force exerted in each floating axis can be set, work pieces can be extracted from a die with a predetermined and limited force.
When the exact location of the work piece is unknown the robot can perform a search to find its location. This is done by fitting a proximity sensor to the robot “tool”. The proximity sensor is moved toward the work piece. When the proximity sensor reaches the work piece, the robot is then able to calculate its position (in that axis).