Why Industrial Robot Maintenance Is Critical

January 23, 2024

Author: Steve Alexander

One of the advantages of robots over other types of industrial automation is that they can be retrained. If the task for which they were purchased goes away they can be redeployed elsewhere, letting the business continue to recoup their investment. This is especially true when a robot’s working life is prolonged through regular preventive maintenance. As a FANUC Authorized System Integrator, Acieta can advise on what industrial robot maintenance is recommended and carry out the servicing your machines need.

Preventive maintenance extends equipment life, ensures continued safe operation and minimizes positioning variation and errors. It involves carrying out inspections, changing lubricants as well as cleaning and replacing components before they become excessively worn.

Performing robot preventive maintenance at the recommended intervals ensures safe and reliable operation and protects the investment the business has made in automation. A robot that has been maintained correctly will most likely have a longer useful life and a higher resale value.

Components of Robot Preventive Maintenance

FANUC recommends the maintenance tasks set out below be undertaken annually or every 11,520 hours. However, frequency may be adjusted depending on model of robot, the environment in which it’s installed and the application. A FANUC robot servicing specialist can advise on what would be right for your FANUC robots.

In general, preventive maintenance includes:

  • Check brake operation: An important safety aspect, brakes must lock the arm in position. Brakes should respond when the safety circuit is activated.
  • Inspect cables and hoses: Chafing can occur during normal operation, and if it continues unchecked it will lead to breakdowns and possibly fluid leaks.
  • Replace batteries in both the controller and the arm: These ensure mastering and Pulsecoder information is retained when the robot is powered down or loses power. If this happens when the batteries are dead, the arm will need remastering and calibrating.
  • Check for smooth, repeatable movement: Motor or gear faults can cause juddering or poor repeatability. If one or more motors appear suspect, perform additional motor testing to determine if a fault exists and replace the motor as needed. Backlash may be measured to check conformance with OEM specifications.
  • Inspect for leaks: Defective seals will lead to lubricant contamination or loss, both of which accelerate wear and can lead to overheating.
  • Clean vents and replace filters on the controller: Poor airflow is a leading cause of overheating in electronic systems, which can lead to damaged boards and prolonged downtime until replacements arrive.
  • Tighten mounting bolts: These can work loose under the influence of vibration.
  • Back up controller memory: In the unlikely event of a controller failing, this will help get the replacement operational quickly.
  • Replace lubricants at each robot joint: Lubricants break down under heat and pressure. If not replaced, this can allow metal-to-metal contact that accelerates wear and produces more heat.
  • Teach pendant inspection: Clean and check for cracks, screen faults and worn or obscured markings. (This is more likely in an environment where the robot is reprogrammed frequently. Acieta has replacement units available.)

Extending Life of Vital Manufacturing Assets

Regular preventive maintenance helps ensure safe, reliable robot operation. It reduces the likelihood of unexpected stoppages or positioning errors that could lead to lengthy downtime.

Acieta offers an extensive range of robotics repair and maintenance services. As a FANUC Authorized System Integrator, we have technicians trained and experienced in all aspects of FANUC robot servicing and support. Have questions about industrial robot maintenance or want to schedule service? Contact us today. We're here 24/7 to assist you in ensuring the longevity and efficiency of your robots.

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