Find answers to frequently asked questions about robotic systems. Looking to purchase a robot arm or robotic system? Not sure which robot system is the best option for your company? We will answer these and more questions in these sections. See tips that can help you to make the decisions or simply call us at 01235 823120, provide your project details and we will provide the options for your particular manufacturing robot application.
Robotic Systems Applications
Some robotics arm are more suitable for specific robot applications whether it be milling, assembly-line, a painting application, palletising, welding and other robot applications. A robot integrator can help you to choose the right industrial arm robot for your application. Now is the time to invest in robotic systems as pricing has become a lot more competitive over the last years. Why is important to consult with an integrator when looking at robotic systems?
The benefit of Robot Integrator
Some robot manufacturers just want to sell robots. New robotic users do not realise that by consulting with a robot integrator will save time and cost. Some of the benefits of a robot integrator are:
- The Integrator understands the diverse market and what is available.
- They can suggest the best-suited robot equipment for your task.
- A Robot integrator will have a much broader experience.
- We work with all the robot brands, which means they can help you to choose the robot that best fits the specification for your manufacturing process.
Robot System ROI Tool
Also, download the latest Robotic Statistics
The number of robots that a single operator can supervise really depends on the tasks of that operator. For example, if the robot cell has a turntable and the operator is loading one side whilst the robot is working on the other and the cycle time is quite fast the operator will be fully occupied loading and unloading that one robot. However, if the cycle time of the process is relatively long he may have time to load a second machine during the processing time of the first robot.
Alternatively, it could be an automatic loading from a conveyor in which case the operator is just supervising the machine and in this case, it could be 20+ robotic arm. In short, it all depends on the level of involvement of the operator and there is no specific number relationship between the number of robots and the number of operators.
The return on investment is a calculation where the current operating costs of manual operation are compared to the initial and ongoing costs of replacing these manual operations with an automated sequence with a robot at its base.
The costs of putting in place a robotic system are weighed against the yearly savings. In other words, the savings on salaries, reduced downtime, increased productivity, reduced scrap etc are taken into account to arrive at the number of years before those savings have paid back the initial investment.
When you will see the savings of the investment?
By reaching that point, the savings become operating profit allowing the production at a lower unit cost. If this comes out at anything between 12 to months and 36 months then the decision to invest becomes an easy one.
Check out our Robot system Calculator Tool
Ideally, this should be a win-win situation. There are always jobs that no one really wants to do. These are those repetitive, tedious jobs that require a lot of monotonous action from the side of the worker. If it is a task that is repeated throughout the working day you could use an automated solution tailored specifically for that task.
The situation where a factory needs to be more and more flexible is becoming more common. In these cases, a re-programmable robot which can be used for different tasks is the right solution. In many cases like the ones mentioned, it is wiser and cheaper in the long term to use a robot than to hire a worker.
And of course, there are jobs that can’t be done by a human, for example lifting very heavy weights or working in conditions unsuitable for human life.
There are also applications like for instance milling where an automated solution is the only possible way to complete the task due to the sheer length of time that the operations would take.
When selecting a robot it is important to consider the size of the working envelope (reach) and carrying capacity (payload). The payload is basically made up of two things:
- The weight of the end of arm tooling including parts that need to be picked up.
- The weight of any equipment fixed to the other axes of the robot. For example, a valve pack that is mounted on the upper arm.
Some factors of a robot’s design such as configuration, axes or degrees of freedom, influence its working area. When considering the working envelope of the robot it is necessary to bear in mind how to hold the parts. For instance, this could result in the wrist needing to be back on itself. In this case, the robot is going to require a bigger envelope than if the wrist was able to work from the front of the part.
Some applications don’t need 4 axes, for example, palletising where the movements are all on one plane. In this case, it makes sense to choose a dedicated palletising robot which will be quicker than one of the six axes equivalent robots.
Robot Maximum Payload is the maximum weight that can be mounted on the robots mounting flange (usually axis 6), including the EOAT (End-of-arm-tooling) and workpiece in the case where this is held in the EOAT as is the case of a gripper for example. It varies with different robot applications and models.
All robot manufacturers include a chart showing how the payload value and most manufacturers have an application to allow entering the details of the end tooling and then calculating the payload capacity needed.
Centre of Gravity
It is also important to take into account the centre of gravity at the end of the robot arm tooling as this will have a direct effect on the maximum payload of the robot. If it is along the way from the mounting flange this will reduce the payload of the robot. All robot manufacturers produce charts showing the payload for a given gravity. Alternatively, the load calculation application could be used to carry out the calculation.
Typical costs outside of the main purchase include – spare parts, yearly service and maintenance, yearly replacement/wear items. Therefore, these costs are after the robot cell is up and running and are mainly costs for the maintenance of the robot. Check out also our Robot System Calculator Tool.
Low Robot Running Costs
Fortunately, robot running costs are very low as the robots run for thousands of hours before any need for maintenance. Each manufacturer includes his own maintenance schedule based on the hours of running or months of usage.
We can supply custom-built robotic cells equipped with new industrial robots or refurbished robots from any robot manufacturer such as ABB, FANUC, KUKA, MOTOMAN and others. These installations can range from a single robot cell to more complex multiple robotic systems.
Affordable refurbished robots
Alternatively, you may source the robot yourselves and we can carry out the robot integration. The industrial robot models vary in payload and envelope, giving you a large choice when it comes to finding the exact robot for your process. We have access to all the leading robot brands and offer highly reliable, effective, and affordable refurbished robots. Contact Us!
Robot Arm is the term used for manufacturing applications when referring to industrial robots. Industrial robots are classified by the degrees of freedom (the type of movement), and manufacturing application or process.
Automated Robots have different types of movement. The most common types of robots are:
- Cartesian Robots – Robots have three linear movements based on the coordinate system (X,Y and Z).
- Articulated Robots – Robots with 6-axis of movement.
- SCARA Robots – Robots that have 4-axes (three movements and a vertical rotation axis).
Collaborative Robots – new generations of robots made with high-safety standards allowing them to work alongside humans
For the majority of robot types, the maintenance periods include:
- Oil changes for the gearboxes for each axis and
- Drive belt re-tensioning and examination were applicable
- Oil seals will also need examining and possibly some re-greasing on the cable runs through the main axis.
Robot maintenance reduces downtime
The amount of downtime that the production can accept determines whether to buy spare parts or indeed which spares to purchase. For critical applications, it may be better to stock essential spares like:
- drive modules,
- safety boards,
- teach pendants etc (in case of breakages) and
- possibly an exchange wrist unit.
A typical, single robot cell with a reconditioned robot is going to come out around £60,000 which includes all the installation and commissioning along with the training. Obviously, this amount varies depending on the complexity of the process and particularly the EOAT (end-of-arm tooling) used, but generally, most single-robot systems will fall into this cost range. Check out our How much do Industrial Robot Cost? and ROI Robot Calculator Tool.
An example of a Single Robot Cell will include:
- The Industrial Robot based on payload capacity and reach allied to the company’s needs.
- Robot End-Of-Arm-Tooling for example Gripper or Welding torch (*).
- Control panel including PLC or Operator Interface Screen (HMI), safety circuits, motor starters VSDs, etc.
- Cell guarding.
- Customized engineering for your system to complete the desired process.
- Safety equipment for example door safety switches, light curtains, laser scanners.
- Some auxiliary equipment such as conveyors, deburring equipment, etc.
- Fabrication, assembly, setup, toolpath programming.
- Installation and commissioning of the cell.
- Integration with your existing equipment.
- System-specific operator training.
- Programming or robot simulation based on customer’s requirements
(*) Spindles, Welding tooling or more complex Grippers, Spraying Equipment, and sometimes multiple tools along with a tool changer