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Robotic Integrators in Manufacturing

The Robotic Integrators role in the manufacturing process is essential for improving operational efficiencies and increasing cost savings. The pandemic has accelerated automation adoption and the robot industry push towards sectors beyond the automotive industry. Technological advances, such as sensing, smart factories and AI are lowering the barriers and making robotics a solution for manufacturers.

In 2020 industrial robot sales were up 7.5% compared to 2019.  According to BARA, Robotic sales increase despite the pandemic, the report shows that 1,931 robots were sold in 2020 compared to 1,797 robots sold in 2019. 

The heightened interest in industrial robots has been seen by robot vendors and systems integrators alike, according to BARA. Despite the UK’s current economic position due to Covid-19, the automation industry is expecting the trend to accelerate as UK manufacturing responds to the challenges of Brexit and the health pandemic.

Mobile robots are taking over warehouses and especially e-commerce because of the pandemic lockdown.  Manufacturers are continually adapting to these changes and even though car manufacturers are taking the lead we clearly see that other sectors are following them.

When we think about Robot Automation Systems will agree when we say:

“There has been a significant development in manufacturing due to the continued improvement of Industrial Robots and higher demand for intelligent products in manufacturing.”

The answer is, Yes. As a result, manufacturers are dramatically increasing cost savings and improving operational efficiencies by incorporating Robot Automation systems into their factories.  In turn, can free workers from dirty or dangerous tasks.

Over the past 30 years, Industrial Automation has been reducing 100% of Manufacturing Expenses into Cost Savings.  Also, mid-size and smaller companies are benefiting from robot automation for the first time, and larger companies can improve their existing products.

In today’s article, we are going to answer three critical questions when starting with robotic automation.

  1. The crucial elements that are involved in Robotic Automation and its integration?
  2. Why is it beneficial to choose a Top Robotic Integrator?
  3. Understanding of Industrial Control Systems in Robotic Automated task?

1. Crucial Elements for Robotic Systems

Industrial Robot Arms need to be integrated with other machines or equipment to perform the task on the factory floor. For example:

  • Robotic Welding Integration requires a welding gun or any other end of arm tooling
  • Robot Palletising (Material Handling Operation) requires a gripper at the end of the robot arm.

Therefore, robotic Integration companies provide input through the entire project lifecycle.  Likewise, manufacturing in collaboration with the broader team focusing on business solutions.

2. Why is it beneficial to choose a Top Robot Integrator?

It can be challenging to decide which robotic integration company and which robotic system to choose. Our suggestion is to search for a robotic integrator that understands your specific needs with real case studies.

A vital necessity when communicating with your potential integration company is whether they respond quickly to your queries. In other words, do they contact you promptly after you have contacted them?

A right robot integrator works with any robot manufacturer, and will likely be a KUKA robotic integrator, an ABB robot integrator, or a FANUC robotic integrator ]. Let see what the integrator can do for you.

Robotic Cell Design and Planning

Planning is vital to understand the customer’s needs and to know what kind of technology will fulfill all requirements. However, there are many components to consider depending on which equipment can fit into the manufacturing floor plan. Most importantly, the automation system provides a complete integration solution or control specific pipeline processes.

Let’s have a look at two slightly different Robotic Automation Systems

Industrial robot cell design

Figure 1.1 Basic Robot Palletising System.

In picture 1.1, an Example of Basic Robot Automation systems may vary depending on the robot application and task to perform.

Robot Automation Integrated Structure

Figure 1.2 Robot Cell Design Integrated Structure with Industrial Control Panel.

In picture 1.2, an Example of Robot Cell Design Integrated Structure with an Industrial Control Panel.  Example of Robot Palletising Cell.

Basic robot equipment installation

  1. Industrial robot
  2. End arm tooling
  3. The controller safety equipment
  4. Robot cell design or guarding

However, depending on your requirements you may need some other automated components. The right integrator will help the manufacturer to understand which of their processes are wasteful and which are value-added for the operation. Therefore, some robot integrators will only focus on a specific robot application and may not always have experience with all requests.

By understanding the implications of robotic equipment is vital for producing a robotic system that –no matter the scenario– improves the production pipeline in efficiency and effectiveness.

Our recommendation, when choosing an integration company for your robot installation discuss with them your requirements. Once contracted, the integration company provides you with a Robot Cell Design.

Some robot cell designs are simple, whereas others may include elements of the industrial control systems such as an electrical control panel, electrical design & installation, and programming, as can be seen in Figures 1.1 and 1.2 above.

3. Industrial Control System Role in Automation 

We will provide a summary and description of the primary functions of the control systems such as the electrical control panels in automation.

Electrical Control Panels, PLC Programming, and HMI Components

  1. A control panel for robotics consists of control or power sources as circuits, sensors, actuators
  2. These panels act as a user interface to control the robots and collect data for continuous improvement
  3. The control panel design begins with preparing the schematics to meet regulation and safety requirements.
  4. A robot operator can monitor and control the industrial robot arm using
  5. Connect the Human Machine Interface (HMI) panels to the PLC, if required
  6. The schematics of the electrical control panels are according to the needs of the customers.
  7. The HMI uses special software that enables engineers to program controls and monitor the complete operations, such as valve states, pressure, and temperatures.
  8. Custom design of the layout of the monitor and push buttons based on company needs.
  9. The programmer must link each indicator and button to specific output or input in the PLC.
  10. The HMI and PLC need to be compatible, meaning that they need to talk to each other. For instance, they do this by using a protocol such as Modbus, Ethernet/IP, or Profibus. These are industrial Networks, and the Protocol will connect the PLC, HMI, Industrial robots, and other machines.
  11. Once the PLC and HMI are connected, it will be possible to monitor and control any PLC functions. In other words, they work together to monitor and control the robotic systems.

What SCADA means and why is it important?

Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems are the larger systems to control industrial processes, though SCADA and PLC systems are scalable down to small operations with few control loops. In conclusion, the SCADA system controls can perform all kinds of industrial automation processes thoroughly.

Some example of industries that are implementing large control systems is water treatment plant, chemical processing, power generation, oil and gas processing, and telecommunications.

Robotic Companies in the UK

Most robot integration companies in the UK understand the importance of Control Systems in robot operations. Most importantly, they will ensure that outsourcing companies will comply with company requirements.

Besides, reliable UK Robot Automation companies will suggest the best options on the market in terms of reliability and quality of the products. So, they will provide the best layout or robot design in the floor plant.

In today’s world, manufacturers are always looking for new technologies to take their production to the next level. That is to say; robotic manufacturing is an emerging sector and there many reasons to incorporate robots into your production process.

It is evident by this post; there are many things to consider while implementing robots into a manufacturing pipeline. For example,  when is the right time to install a robot, cost savings,  Robot ROI, and Robot Integrators skills just to mention a few.

In summary

The right robotic integrator must fulfill all these elements essential for the success of a robot integration project.

Industrial robot costs have reduced drastically in recent years. Hence, this helps encourage small and medium-sized businesses to consider this technology and prepare their employees to become experts in Robot Automation Systems. See our case studies.

The best part? You can be one of them. Contact the automation experts!