The Right Positioner for your Application

May 14, 2017 offers a wide range of positioners to help manuever a workpiece into the perfect position in the work cell. Choosing the right positioner will help to optimize the production process. Contact representatives today to get started with your integration process.

Workcell robot positioner

Under­stand­ing the avail­able posi­tion­er fea­tures and options can help facil­i­tate the deci­sion-mak­ing process to fur­ther improve qual­i­ty, decrease cycle times, and pro­vide excel­lence on the weld­ing line. Here we dis­cuss impor­tant posi­tion­er infor­ma­tion to help bring a bet­ter under­stand­ing of all the options and fea­tures avail­able to manufacturers.

What is a positioner? 

A posi­tion­er allows for 360 degrees of rota­tion and access to a part through the rota­tion and rota­tors. The use of a posi­tion­er can accel­er­ate pro­duc­tion and improve weld quality. 

When design­ing a robot­ic work­cell, it is impor­tant to under­stand the way you manuev­er the work­piece into posi­tion for the robot to work on. Choos­ing the right type of posi­tion­er will depend on the type of prod­uct, the appli­ca­tion and how the part needs to be moved to opti­mize production. 

Posi­tion­er capac­i­ty can vary in style, size, and capac­i­ty and each is unique­ly designed for spe­cif­ic appli­ca­tion require­ments, as seen below. 

Sta­tion­ary Table 

A robot­ic work­cell sta­tion­ary table posi­tion­er is pret­ty basic. This is a fixed table where a work piece can be placed. Once the work piece is placed on the table, the work­cell robot manip­u­lates the piece, and then the piece is moved to the next area. 

Sin­gle Axis Posi­tion­er

The sin­gle axis posi­tion­er is the most afford­able and basic type avail­able. It can be mount­ed as a head­stock on a floor or table top to help accom­mo­date sim­ple and small part weld­ing. A head­stock and a tail­stock can be com­bined to sup­port long part spans and the load or two head­stocks can be used in con­junc­tion with a sin­gle tailstock. 

Inno­v­a­tive Fix­ture Mount­ing Technology

Moto­Mount has com­pli­ant bear­ings on the head and tail­stock which helps to reduce the stress on the posi­tion­er and sub­se­quent tool­ing by allow­ing up to two degrees mis­align­ment in any plane. This tech­nol­o­gy also improves the repeata­bil­i­ty of the fix­ture by up to 75 percent. 

Fer­ris Wheel Positioner

This is a two-sta­tion design that offers the best floor space effi­cien­cy. It is ide­al for medi­um-to large-sized parts that are 3 to 5 m long and they are gen­er­al­ly rat­ed by capac­i­ty. The auto­mo­tive indus­try uses these posi­tion­ers a lot due to the size capac­i­ties, small foot­print, and excel­lent cycle time. 

Fer­ris Wheel Posi­tion­ers was named so as it will turn in an over-under fash­ion. There are two trun­nion axes on each side of a major sweep” axis that are ser­vo-dri­ven. This helps to reduce cycle time by allow­ing parts to turn into posi­tion while the trun­nion sta­tions rotate over or under the sweep axis. The two sta­tions allow the oper­a­tor to be unload­ing and load­ing one side while the part on the oth­er side is being weld­ed. A cen­tral arc screen divides the two sides keep­ing the oper­a­tor safe from spat­ter and arc flash exposure. 

Turntable Posi­tion­er

Turntable posi­tion­ers rotate in a lazy Susan” motion to move parts from the operator’s loading/​unloading sta­tion to the inside of a work­cell. They use a base with axis mount­ed to the floor and a table top where sta­tion­ary tool­ing can be added. An arc screen is used to divide the two work­sta­tions. Small to medi­um sized parts are ide­al for this positioner. 

H‑Frame Posi­tion­er

H‑Frames include an addi­tion­al head­stock and tail­stock on each side in lieu of a table. Anoth­er axis can be added where the head and tail­stock attach to the floor-mount­ed base allow­ing for a part to be turned end-over-end as well as spun with the head­stock while being weld­ed. This can weld medi­um parts with com­plex, mul­ti-sided weldments. 

Mul­ti-Axis Positioner

Oth­er ser­vo axes, head­stocks, and bases can be com­bined to make a vari­ety of spe­cial­ty posi­tion­ers such as tilt-rotate” or sky­hook” posi­tion­ers. This increas­es the flex­i­bil­i­ty to accom­mo­date parts and tool­ing of dif­fer­ent sizes and com­plex­i­ties. These posi­tion­ers can be mount­ed to walls, tracks, or oth­er sur­faces for increased access or agili­ty. A six-axis robot can also be used as a jig-less” solu­tion. Parts that are large, boxy, or tubu­lar are well-suit­ed for these types of positioners.

Fur­ther Recommendations 

  • Stan­dard coor­di­nat­ed motion pro­vides fast and con­sis­tent trav­el speeds while ensur­ing reli­able motion between posi­tion­er axes and the weld­ing robot.
  • Inte­grat­ed tool­ing pow­er, air, and com­mu­ni­ca­tions helps to eas­i­ly trou­bleshoot and pre­vent cable damage.
  • Be sure that the posi­tion­ers in place are designed specif­i­cal­ly for your appli­ca­tion and com­ply with cur­rent specs.
  • Option­al Func­tion­al Safe­ty Unit helps to ensure work­er safety.

Robots​.com inte­grates pre-engi­neered robot­ic work­cells from Motoman, Fanuc, ABB, KUKA, and our very own Robots​.com brand. Our own line of work­cells allows for more cus­tomiza­tion and bud­get options. We can inte­grate a new or recon­di­tioned robot into our work­cells, giv­ing a more cost effec­tive solution. 

For more infor­ma­tion about automat­ing with a cus­tomized robot­ic work cell from Robots​.com, con­tact us today at 8777626881.

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