Robotically Integrated Bending Solutions (RIBS)
A recent innovation in robotic automation, RIBS offer significant cost and productivity benefits for medium- to high-volume fabricators. RIBS are fundamentally different to robotic machine tending cells. Instead of the robot loading, waiting and unloading, in a bending system the robot is part of the process. Like a human press brake operator, it picks up and inserts the sheet or blank between upper and lower beams, supporting it while the punch and die close to form the bend. Found in almost every fabrication shop, the press brake is one of the most common pieces of manufacturing equipment yet until recently it was considered a manual, and costly, operation.
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RIBS comprise more than a robot and a press brake. Sheet material or blanks must be fed into the guarded area, either individually or on a conveyor. Vacuum grippers on the end-of-arm tooling lift the sheet and the robot takes it to a gravity blank alignment table. Here the blank is released and allowed to slide into a set position. (Often a double sheet check is made at this point.) The robot then picks up the blank again and takes it to the press brake, which closes, forming the first bend. (With a robot the use of a back gauge becomes optional.) The robot tooling usually supports the sheet as it rises through the bend, just as an operator would. If subsequent bends are needed, the robot will reorient and regrip the sheet as necessary, taking it through a sequence of steps. When the press brake is particularly wide and the robot needs to move the part over an extended distance, a robot transport unit (RTU) may be a better choice than a larger robot. Once all bends are made, the robot will then stack the part on a pallet or place it on an output conveyor.
RIBS pays for itself in four ways: Output per shift is higher because it maintains a constant rate without taking any breaks. There is less scrap because the arm follows exactly the same path every time and errors are avoided. Ergonomic issues like from lifting heavy sheets and working overhead are eliminated and injuries are avoided. Last, with skilled labor becoming seemingly ever more scarce, RIBS provide a way to maintain or increase output without the effort and expense of hiring additional people.
Robotic automation of press brake operations is lowering production costs for medium- and high-volume fabrication businesses. Robotically Integrated Bending Solutions (RIBS) take in metal blanks and pass them through a sequence of bending operations to produce complex forms. Injuries associated with handling and lifting metal blanks are avoided and recruitment challenges disappear. The time for robotic bending has arrived.
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Tangible benefits to enhance your bottom line:
- Consistent quality
- Minimum downtime
- Reduced costs
- Retrofit existing machines
- Build a new solution
- Include downstream operations
Add a robot to your team and watch your revenue grow.
- Fully integrated robotic forming cell
- Retrofit all brands of press brakes
- Retrofit NEW or EXISTING brakes in your shop
- Sizes to support parts from ounces to 100s of pounds
- Built to suit the customer floorplan (add sorting, welding, etc.)
- Improved part quality
- Incorporate additional processes (marking, deburr, polish, etc.)
- Inbound/outbound flow configured to suit customer needs
- Optional tool changer
- Unattended operation
- Predictable operation allows predictable lead-times
- Standard or customized EOATs (End of Arm Tools)
- Suction or magnetic, to suit application
- Fast & Easy handling of large, heavy and cumbersome parts
- No hand injuries from forming small parts, too close to the tooling
Qualified workers are becoming more and more scarce. So use your personnel to their fullest potential and hire RIBS to do the dirty, repetitive and dangerous work on your press brake system.
Watch a few videos on RIBS:
Download a pdf to learn more about RIBS.
To discuss known automation opportunities or discover new ones: