The Many Benefits Of FANUC Robotics

Date:
02/29/2016 - 16:59

Robotic automation is contributing to a manufacturing renaissance. Companies are installing more robots than ever, increasing productivity and growing their businesses.

Picking the right robot is no easy task. Experienced users find sticking with one brand or vendor simplifies programming, maintenance and support, providing they chose wisely. For a company making a first foray into robotic automation though, the options can be bewildering.

Of the many reliable machines on the market, Acieta has partnered with FANUC delivering proven solutions. Over the course of 30-plus years, Acieta has installed thousands of FANUC robots for applications ranging from material removal and polishing to palletizing. Workers are protected from dirty or dangerous operations, robot transport units maximize ROI by letting robots tend machine lines, advanced welding systems and press brake tending help fabricators increase capacity.

Using FANUC robots helps Acieta deliver systems faster and at lower cost. Of greater importance, their reliability and performance ensures customers are satisfied and keep coming back. The benefits of FANUC robotics include:

  • Reduced system cost
  • Accelerated implementation
  • Reliability

Reduced system cost

The robot is only one piece of a robotic system. Parts or materials need feeding, so the robot can do someting with them. That takes conveyors or pallet systems, singulating and presenting each piece in a precisely known location. Then, once parts have been assembled or processed, they must move out of the cell.

FANUC's iRVision products, tightly integrated with their robots, eliminate the need for much of this fixturing. Using line tracking to find parts on a moving conveyor and 2-D or 3-D vision for part location removes the need for part-specific pallets and fixtures. (3-D vision adds height or depth perception, essential for depalletizing tasks.) This lowers initial system costs, but also reduces maintenance needs (no pallets or fixtures to clean and repair), and makes introducing new products easier and faster.

Force sensing is another technology FANUC uses to reduce reliance on part fixturing. Especially valuable in assembly and deburring tasks, measuring force experienced by the end effector lets the robot adapt to variation in part position or orientation.

An area where cost reductions are only beginning to be realized is cell guarding. Conventionally, robot cells need large cages to keep workers out of the robot's working envelop. However, "collaborative robotics" uses sensors coupled with "power and force limiting technology" to allow humans into the work area. This promises even easier robot integration by eliminating guarding and cages.

Accelerated implementation

Offline programming means robot motion can be simulated while the system or cell is still being built. That reduces the time between order and delivery, and gets the system in service and earning money faster. (Some program "touch up" is usually needed after the cell is installed, but that doesn't take long via the teach pendant.) Offline programming with FANUC's ROBOGUIDE package does more than save on build time. Simulation provides opportunities to evaluate cell layouts and optimize cycle times. Often, this highlights opportunities to reduce cost, enhance system capabilites, or both.

Reliability

FANUC robots are reliable and boast impressive MTBF statistics, but two innovations are helping further improve cell performance:

  • The Digital Video Monitor allows event recording. If an unplanned event occurs (perhaps a part slips from a gripper), the reasons can be analyzed, understood and corrective action implemented.
  • Zero DownTime (ZDT) is a new initiative for capturing process data to help predict problems. For example, wear in a bearing or solenoid may be detected and the part replaced before failure – preventing unplanned downtime. 

Benefiting integrator and end user

Acieta has deployed thousands of FANUC robots over the last 30 years. FANUC technology speeds robotic system integration, lowers initial costs, and increases flexibility. That benefits Acieta, but more important, it benefits end users. Problems link unplanned downtime are avoided and ROI is maximized.

To discuss known automation opportunities or discover new ones: