Fanuc Provides Tactile Intelligence With Force Control and Vision Technologies

Dec 12, 2018

Force control and Vision technologies with Fanuc robotics will help to increase the productivity and precision on the production line. These technologies have roboust hardware and intelligent software to help provide reduced cycle times, easy integration, and also reduced maintenance with fewer parts. If you are interested in adding tactile intelligence to your Fanuc robotic production line, contact experts today.


Indus­tri­al robots now com­bine force sens­ing and robot­ic vision to cre­ate tac­tile intel­li­gence. These two tech­niques have been intro­duced into the indus­try to increase the proven effec­tive­ness of robots in man­u­fac­tur­ing. As we charge on in the automa­tion world, indus­tri­al robots are con­tin­u­al­ly receiv­ing upgrades and enhance­ments as tech­nol­o­gy is expo­nen­tial­ly improving. 

As a result, man­u­fac­tur­ing is becom­ing more sophis­ti­cat­ed by the day as robots are con­quer­ing more pre­cise, flaw­less, and effi­cient appli­ca­tions with these advance­ments. Man­u­fac­tur­ers are con­tin­u­ous­ly improv­ing these process­es, increas­ing the pro­duc­tion qual­i­ty, all while achiev­ing low­er costs.

Fanuc’s Force Sensors

Fanuc’s force sen­sors enable an almost human-like sense of touch, giv­ing them the abil­i­ty to detect force and torque applied to the EOAT in all 6‑degrees of free­dom. They pro­vide crafts­man-like pre­ci­sion and enable robots with a sense of feel” to help with the most demand­ing mechan­i­cal assem­bly or mate­r­i­al removal oper­a­tions, such as con­tour­ing, mea­sur­ing, or sand­ing. Addi­tion­al­ly, robot­ic sanders can per­form with­in 2% accu­ra­cy as the the direct mea­sure­ments of tol­er­ances can be set to cre­ate a con­sis­tent and repeat­able environment.

These force sen­sors tru­ly help improve prod­uct qual­i­ty and process integri­ty as they aid in the con­trol of veloc­i­ty and force when objects are fit, aligned, buffed, trimmed, or assem­bled. As men­tioned, they can detect force and moment (x, y, z, yaw, pitch, and roll) applied to it from exter­nal sources.

Appli­ca­tions that Ben­e­fit from Force Con­trol and Vision

There are a vari­ety of appli­ca­tions that work with the force con­trol sen­sors and vision by Fanuc. These are as fol­lows: pre­cise fit­ting of machine parts, gear teeth engage­ment, push under con­stant force and prod­uct life cycle tests (auto­mo­tive door oper­a­tion, switch­ing oper­a­tions, appli­ca­tions requir­ing con­stant force), align­ment of flat sur­face of one work­piece with a flat sur­face of anoth­er work­piece, grind­ing, or flex­i­ble part feeding. 

Force Sen­sor Options

The force sen­sor by Fanuc robot­ics is made up of a sen­sor head, sen­sor adapter, and sen­sor cable. There are two dif­fer­ent options for set-up of the force sen­sors: a Remote or Fix­ture-Mount­ed sen­sor and a Face­plate-Mount­ed sensor.

  • The Face­plate Mount­ed sen­sor is mount­ed to the robot face­plate where the robot holds the sen­sor and presents it to the part.
  • The Remote/­Fix­ture-Mount­ed sen­sor is mount­ed on a fix­ture or in a loca­tion away from the robot. The robot then holds the part and presents it to the Force Sen­sor. Mount­ing the sen­sor on anoth­er loca­tion also reduces the weight of the end effec­tor and enables the robot to car­ry dif­fer­ent tools. Addi­tion­al­ly, to help pro­vide solu­tions for a vari­ety of jobs and appli­ca­tions, there are five dif­fer­ent sen­sor sizes are suit­able for 6‑axis robots to sup­port pay­load class­es up to 250 kg (15, 40, 100 and 250 kg). In order to fur­ther enhance the force sens­ing, there are sev­er­al algo­rithms and intel­li­gent fea­tures avail­able, increas­ing the over­all performance. 
  • Con­stant Push enables the robot to give a soft, con­stant push of force in one direc­tion for a spec­i­fied time.
  • Face Match pro­vides the robot with the abil­i­ty to align and match the face of the work­piece held in the robot hand with the face of the object. This pro­vides uni­form align­ment between a robot held com­po­nent and con­tact sur­face of a sub-assembly.
  • Shaft Insert/​Bearing, Insert/​Groove, Insert/​Square, Insert/​Clutch Insert allows loose fit­ting by align­ing the angle and posi­tion of a shaft with a hotel for the inser­tion of vary­ing shapes.
  • Phase Match Insert per­forms phase match­ing of teeth, such as key shaft inser­tion and gear engage­ment, by rotat­ing and mesh­ing them before final insertion.
  • Hole Search gives the robot the abil­i­ty search for a hole by mov­ing the shaft or object to be insert­ed at right angles to the hole, fol­low­ing by an insertion.
  • Con­tour­ing Func­tion traces the sur­face of a work­piece while apply­ing a con­stant force with a tool such as a grinder. When sand­ing, grind­ing, and pol­ish­ing oper­a­tions are work­ing with uneven or irreg­u­lar sur­faces, this fea­ture mea­sures and is able to apply con­stant force to the tool and sur­face and fol­low the uneven sur­face even if it is dif­fer­ent than the orig­i­nal­ly taught line. If the work­piece to be machined is too heavy or large, then it will be secured onto a table and the grinder will be attached to the robot. If the work­piece is too small, the tool is secured onto a table and the robot holds the work­piece. Either case is per­formed while a set force is applied.
  • TP Pro­gram Auto Gen­er­a­tion On is for process­es requir­ing accu­rate con­toured edges, this fea­ture records the path of the work­piece and auto­mat­i­cal­ly gen­er­ates a TP program.
  • Two-Direc­tion Push On- enables the robot to push down and in at the same time.
  • Search Func­tion is designed to help min­i­mize the posi­tion and ori­en­ta­tion error of the approach posi­tion pri­or to an inser­tion operation.

iRvi­sion with Force Control 

iRVi­sion is also inte­grat­ed to fur­ther enhance part loca­tion and eval­u­a­tion. Inter­grat­ed Robot Machine Vision is the inte­gra­tion of a cam­era inter­face built into the robot con­troller. Cam­eras can be attached to the robot or places in remote loca­tions. iRvi­sion is designed to elim­i­nate the need to place every work­piece in the same way, every time. It is a visu­al sen­sor sys­tem that can mea­sure the posi­tion of each work­piece by using the cam­eras and then adjust the robot motion to adjust the work­piece accordingly. 

iRVi­sion is a great addi­tion to any auto­mat­ed process. Some oth­er ben­e­fits include: han­dling mul­ti­ple parts at one time, reduc­ing the floor space, mak­ing part changeovers a breeze, iden­ti­fy­ing parts in mul­ti­ple ori­en­ta­tions, locat­ing parts in 2D or 3D, error proof­ing parts as they enter assem­bly, increas­ing through­put, and reduc­ing or elim­i­nat­ing fix­tur­ing costs.

Addi­tion­al Fea­tures Available 

In order to be sure all sen­sors are in good, work­ing con­di­tion, Fanuc has a built-in force sen­sor diag­no­sis that uses instruc­tions to ver­i­fy each force sen­sor. Also avail­able are sev­er­al soft­ware fea­tures that coor­di­nate with force sens­ing to deter­mine the force con­trol per­for­mance. The force sen­sor data dis­play in real time is a clear indi­ca­tor of the per­for­mance impact for force con­trol para­me­ters adjust­ment. This helps to reduce the over­all teach­ing time while also pro­vid­ing instan­ta­neous feed­back for pro­duc­tion runs, mak­ing issues easy to diagnose.

There is a Teach Pen­dant Pro­gram Auto Gen­er­a­tion” to play back the mon­i­tored edges of the work­piece in the con­tour­ing process with force con­trol. This pro­gram is impor­tant to help keep speeds and the push force con­sis­tent when trav­el speeds are low or when the robot revers­es. This gen­er­ates an auto­mat­ed TP pro­gram with posi­tion­al infor­ma­tion with Fanuc iRVision’s Image to Points fea­ture. The iPen­dant user inter­face device enables the con­stant dis­play of actu­al force vari­a­tions dur­ing the force con­trol operation.

ROBOGU­IDE, Fanuc Robot­ics’ off-line pro­gram­ming soft­ware, can help in the devel­op­ment of your appli­ca­tion as it uses 3D mod­els of actu­al tool­ing, robots, and work­cell parts to help prove every­thing accu­rate and save mon­ey and time.

Robots Rec­om­mend­ed for Force Control

The major­i­ty of force sen­sors have an IP67 rat­ing and can be used on a vari­ety of robot mod­els such as the LR Mate 200iC, M‑10iA, M‑20iA, M‑710iC, and R‑2000iB.

Get Fanuc Force Sen­sors and iRvi­sion, today!

It is easy to see why force sen­sors and iRVi­sion are now imper­a­tive on the pro­duc­tion line. Whether it be for assem­bly or sand­ing, the com­bi­na­tion will pro­vide an increase in pro­duc­tiv­i­ty and high pre­ci­sion. Equal­ly ben­e­fi­cial are the facts that there is com­plete inte­gra­tion into the robot for faster pro­cess­ing, the sup­port of prac­tice-proven stan­dard func­tions, and robust hard­ware and intel­li­gent soft­ware for reduced cycle times. Addi­tion­al­ly, the setups are fast and easy, thanks to easy inte­gra­tion and few­er parts to help main­tain max­i­mum up-time. 

For more infor­ma­tion, con­tact Robots​.com rep­re­sen­ta­tives today online or at 8777626881.

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