Robots in Machine Shops
Does it sound terrible to pull a double shift on the job? How about a triple shift? Robots can perform many tasks that are typically done by humans, and they never get tired or have to take a break. Better yet, once they are programmed, they rarely make a mistake. The type of robot that is usually used for shop floor applications is an articulated robot, which has jointed arms.
It is common for a machine shop to begin with machine tending (loading and unloading parts). A robot can handle heavy parts to prevent workers from injuring themselves. After parts handling has been automated, the user can add automatic inspection processes.
The Fanuc LR Mate would be a smart choice for a machine shop’s first robot. It is equivalent to a human arm in size, and it handles a payload of 5 kg. It is lightweight and portable and can be mounted on a stand.
Material handling and robot machine tending applications are made easy when families of similar parts are used. This way, the end-of-arm tool can simply be changed for each part number.
Programming the robot correctly is crucial. After teaching the robot where the first part is, it can figure out the rest from the grid layout entered. A robot’s gripper can automatically center the part when it is grasped. It can then be redeployed for another application in the machine shop if necessary.
Safety in the machine shop is paramount. Since robots aren’t self-aware, they don’t know if they are colliding with or damaging something in their paths. Workers should be protected from robots by guards, fences, and gates.
The investment in a robot is considerable, but usually pays for itself in two years or less. The efficiency a robot provides is astronomical, and throughput increases significantly with a robot on the job.
RobotWorx works with all kinds of machine shops to incorporate the right robot into their facilities. If you would like more information on how to integrate a robot into your machine shop, contact us by calling 877-762-6881 or contact us online.