Design for Robotic Assembly

Nov 16, 2023

Goods of all shapes and sizes, across the globe, are being manufactured by assembly robots. Assembly robots haven't met any application they cannot conquer, all you need to do is choose your assembly robot, software, and EOAT and you will be well on your way to increasing your production speeds.


Cars, stove-tops, med­ical devices, and com­put­er parts… What do they all have in com­mon? Assem­bly robots are build­ing them as we speak. Robot­ic assem­bly is gain­ing speed in the man­u­fac­tur­ing of goods used every day across the globe. The only way to make assem­bly process­es cost-effec­tive for North Amer­i­can man­u­fac­tur­ing is with robot­ics and automa­tion,” says Chris Blanchette, Nation­al Account Man­ag­er Assem­bly and Aero­space for Fanuc Amer­i­ca Cor­po­ra­tion in Rochester Hills, Michi­gan. Proof is in the pud­ding as the Robot­ic Indus­tries Asso­ci­a­tion showed Assem­bly orders up by 96% com­pared with the same quar­ter last year; this made for record-break­ing sales for the first half of 2014!

You may think that it is risky or dif­fi­cult to design a robot­ic assem­bly sys­tem that works per­fect­ly for you. Don’t fear; that is why Robots​.com is here! We have put the fol­low­ing resources togeth­er to help you design your next assem­bly automa­tion system.

Iden­ti­fy the Assem­bly Application: 

Click here to view all of the appli­ca­tions we cov­er at Robots​.com.

Assem­bly robots haven’t met many appli­ca­tions they can’t han­dle. Whether it is weld­ing auto­mo­tive com­po­nents, pal­letiz­ing, dis­pens­ing, mov­ing and hold­ing a part in place for attach­ment, paint­ing, or build­ing a solar pan­el, there is a per­fect assem­bly design for you.

Choose Your Assem­bly Robot: 

Click here to view our entire robot­ic assem­bly offer­ings.

There are many robot­ic con­fig­u­ra­tions avail­able for assem­bly robots. 

1. Six-Axis Robots pro­vide opti­mal strength, flex­i­bil­i­ty, and reach to com­plete the desired task. They are com­pact, high­ly dex­ter­ous, nim­ble robots to engage assem­blies from all angles. They are play­ing an ever-increas­ing role in the assem­bly space. We rec­om­mend the Fanuc R‑2000iA/​165F or the Motoman HP6.

2. SCARA Robots stand for Selec­tive Com­pli­ant Assem­bly Robot Arm.” They are 4‑Axis robots that are ide­al for high-speed assem­bly. It gets its name as the arm is selec­tiv­i­ty com­pli­ant in the X‑Y direc­tion but rigid in the Z” direc­tion to help with many types of assem­bly oper­a­tions, such as insert­ing a round pin in a round hole with­out bind­ing. Robots​.com rec­om­mends the Motoman HM-20 – 1000 or the KUKA KR 10.

3. Delta Robots have small­er pay­loads, but unpar­al­leled accel­er­a­tion and speed. They resem­ble a ceil­ing-mount­ed spi­der as motors in the base move the three linked arms. Its major mechan­i­cal axes act on the robot face-plate in par­al­lel rather than in series which allows it to be quick and pre­cise. Speeds of 10 mil­lime­ters per sec­ond are typ­i­cal while also accom­mo­dat­ing improved repeata­bil­i­ty at the tool tip which means it is per­fect for small part assem­bly. One of our top Delta robots is the Fanuc M3iA/​6s or the Motoman MPP3.

4. Dual Arm robots have helped to ease com­plex assem­bly appli­ca­tions by doing tasks such as hold­ing one part and insert­ing anoth­er part into it. For flex­i­ble parts or com­po­nents, such as tub­ing and hoses, dual arms can work togeth­er to sim­pli­fy the tool­ing and enable the appli­ca­tion to be done in a sim­pler way. A Dual Arm we rec­om­mend is the Motoman DIA10.

5. Col­lab­o­ra­tive robots are a rapid­ly emerg­ing area of indus­tri­al robot­ics also enter­ing assem­bly space. They are spe­cial­ly designed to oper­ate along­side human cowork­ers on an assem­bly line with­out the need for safe­ty guard­ing. Take a look at the Fanuc CR-7iA or the Uni­ver­sal Robot col­lab­o­ra­tive robots that we offer.

Choose Your Assem­bly Software

Click here to view the soft­ware that Robots​.com rec­om­mends.

The machine vision soft­ware avail­able these days is incred­i­bly ben­e­fi­cial in guid­ing robots to pre­cise part loca­tion, and inspec­tion. In addi­tion, force sens­ing equips assem­bly robots with the sense of touch in all 6 degrees of free­dom. It mea­sures the forces and torque applied at the EOAT and offers the robot con­trol sys­tem feed­back for hybrid force-com­pli­ance move­ment con­trol of the end-of-arm tool. These options are trans­form­ing assem­bly lines and clean rooms.

Con­sid­er elec­tron­ics whose assem­bly tol­er­ances are get­ting tighter as the parts and pieces are get­ting small­er. The nec­es­sary pre­ci­sion, con­sis­ten­cy, and min­i­mal cost required all make robot­ics assem­bly a crit­i­cal part of the pro­duc­tion process.

Peo­ple can’t do the real­ly fine tasks that are called upon for assem­bling next-gen­er­a­tion mobile devices or wear­ables,” says Rush LaSelle, Direc­tor of Automa­tion at Jabil Cir­cuit Inc. The prod­uct life cycles aren’t long enough to sup­port cus­tomized machine tools.”

In our world, in elec­tron­ics man­u­fac­tur­ing, there are robot­ic solu­tions and flex­i­ble automa­tion that’s capa­ble of get­ting to the lev­el of pre­ci­sion that we can now take advan­tage of the tech­nol­o­gy,” says Rush LaSelle, Direc­tor of Automa­tion at Jabil Cir­cuit Inc. Labor rates in Chi­na and oth­er parts of the world are ris­ing, and so every­body is look­ing for a low­er cost alternative.”

For­tu­nate­ly, the com­plex assem­blies and sen­sor-based tech­nolo­gies are get­ting bet­ter, cheap­er, and more user-friend­ly. The user inter­face is now advanced enough so a high­ly skilled work­er is no longer nec­es­sary. Visu­al ser­vo­ing has enabled the robot world to achieve pre­ci­sion assem­bly bet­ter than 10 microns.

Choose Your EOAT

Click here to read more about the EOAT options.

End of arm tool­ing can be pur­chased stan­dard or cus­tomized for each assem­bly robot to cater to the man­u­fac­tur­ing require­ments. They can range from grip­pers, vac­u­um cups, 3‑jaw chucks, high-speed spin­dles, cylin­ders, or drills.

A stan­dard EOAT is mass pro­duced and can eas­i­ly be ordered as we work with sev­er­al dif­fer­ent sup­pli­ers to ensure that cus­tomers get the best avail­able. A stan­dard EOAT can be eas­i­ly accessed and will not length­en the build time for your robot, how­ev­er it is designed to fit a num­ber of prod­ucts, and may not be the per­fect fit for your spe­cif­ic needs.

If you choose the cus­tomized route, engi­neers design­ing the sys­tem decide which end effec­tors would be best for the appli­ca­tion and then fab­ri­cate and build to the spec­i­fi­ca­tion. This will add time to the build but ulti­mate­ly a cus­tom EOAT can pro­duce bet­ter func­tion­al­i­ty dur­ing pro­duc­tion. Robots​.com can con­tract com­pa­nies to build cus­tom end effec­tors that can poten­tial­ly be done EOAT in-house.

Choos­ing the right EOAT can ensure grop­ing is done cor­rect­ly. This is a key fea­ture where the robot moves the EOAT close to the loca­tion of assem­bly and tran­si­tions into grop­ing where the robot makes a pat­tern around the part where it’s sup­posed to be assem­bled. It moves slow­ly and pro­gres­sive­ly, in dif­fer­ent pre-pro­grammed pat­terns, to make con­tact and sense the forces, motion, and direc­tion, and then act accord­ing to dri­ve the parts together. 

The impor­tant thing is to spend the mon­ey on the cor­rect EOAT for the job since sens­ing and con­trol capa­bil­i­ty are the key.

Choose Your Workspace

Assem­bly is able shrink the foot­print of work cells by cre­at­ing com­plex sys­tems that com­bine mul­ti­ple oper­a­tions by using dif­fer­ent tool­ing. Ulti­mate­ly, a part pro­duced in this type of sys­tem gets assem­bled and checked, all at once.

A robot work­cell is nec­es­sary to com­plete a sys­tem that includes the robot, con­troller, and oth­er periph­er­als such as a part posi­tion­er and safe­ty envi­ron­ment. Cus­tom cells are built to cus­tomer spec­i­fi­ca­tions and allow for the lim­i­ta­tions and chal­lenges often found in an indus­tri­al set­ting. They are ide­al for appli­ca­tions a stan­dard work­cell would not be able to perform.

Assem­bly Robot Example

Robots are cur­rent­ly suc­cess­ful at tack­ling many com­plex assem­bly appli­ca­tions such as assem­bling gear box­es for Kawasa­ki motor­cy­cles. Flex­i­bil­i­ty to build dif­fer­ent gear box­es is key with Kawasa­ki with their many dif­fer­ent types of motor­cy­cles. Orig­i­nal­ly, the task was com­plet­ed by fix­ing a bear­ing case on a sur­face and a hand press­ing to dri­ve the bear­ing into the bore. 

Robot­ic assem­bly enabled a flex­i­ble cell to be cre­at­ed with fix­tures for dif­fer­ent gear box­es. The design allowed it to car­ry the crankcase and move it over the fix­ture where the bear­ings are mount­ed, and hold it there while the press comes down and dri­ves the case into the bear­ing. This enabled the robot to use posi­tion con­trol to tran­si­tion to a soft absorb mode as it holds the crankcase over the bear­ing, and then return to posi­tion con­trol mode and car­ry on with the job.

Choose Robots​.com for help on your next Assem­bly Design

Agile robots aug­ment­ed with force sen­sors and vision are unstop­pable. Watch­ing coor­di­nat­ed assem­bly robots work tire­less­ly, accu­rate­ly, quick­ly, and pre­cise­ly is the reflec­tion of a very promis­ing future for automation.

Robots​.com, a cer­ti­fied inte­gra­tor for Fanuc, Motoman, ABB, Uni­ver­sal Robots, and KUKA robot­ics, and works with cus­tomers to build these robot­ic assem­blers on a reg­u­lar basis. Our team of engi­neers, tech­ni­cians and sales­men will work with you to select the right assem­bly robot, end effec­tor, con­troller and safe­ty pack­age to fit your application’s needs and your facility’s space requirements.

For more infor­ma­tion about what Robots​.com experts can do for you, con­tact us today at 8777626881.

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