ELITE ROBOTS EC66 Collaborative Robot Suitable for Upgrading of Compact Work Station

The ever-changing market demands and constantly rising labor costs require enterprises to improve their production capacity and efficiency, so as to maintain competitiveness in the market. However, for some companies, some specific products are highly demanded by the market and given short time for delivery. Therefore, while carrying out automation upgrading, clients want to reduce the loss of production line stopping caused by the introduction of new equipment. Also, clients pay special attention to the difficulty and stability of operation and maintenance after the deployment of new equipment. 

01 Background

An OEM client, who is located in East China, has highly customized products. And the number of products of each order ranges from 2 to 3 million pieces. Therefore, this medium-volume and multi-variety plant has higher requirements for the flexibility and scalability of the solution. After learning about different robot solutions, the client turned to the cobot technology. They tried to introduce cobots into the injection molding device of the plastic end cap of the motor for loading and unloading.

02 Pain points

There was only one machine in this station, which was guarded by one worker. The machine needed to put the finished products neatly in a box. Since the processing cycle time is not fast, a lot of waiting time is inevitably generated when the worker waits for the processing equipment. The client initially considered using industrial robots to transfer materials. After all, this mechanically repetitive action is not complicated and can be completed by the robots. However, the production line has been completed for a long time. Besides, with the upgrading of process and the increase of user demands, more devices have been added one after another, causing the space of the production line to be limited, and it is difficult to add new devices. In particular, safety fences must be installed around the traditional industrial robots, which puts forward a higher challenge to the place.

03 Solution

It is not complicated to fit the loading and unloading of the injection molding machine with EC66. After on-site assessments, ELITE Robot application engineers and integrators determined the whole action flow of the robot. There is a large drop between the outlet of the injection molding machine and the place where the materials are placed. Therefore, a small conveyor belt is set under the outlet of the injection molding machine. The linear module takes out the materials and places them on the conveyor belt, and then cobots carry the materials and pile them up on the left and right sides to complete the packing. In this application, one worker originally operated one robot, which generated a large number of idle time. If one worker takes care of two or more machines, this worker has to go to and from each device, causing a heavy workload. Now, after the use of cobots, one worker can take care of four machines, and the main work of this worker is to manually collect materials when the turnover box is full. If there are other types of production tasks of injection molding parts on this production line, the cobot can immediately call the corresponding program, and the new work can quickly start after simple debugging, which is very convenient. Considering the cost advantage of Chinese robots, the client can recover their investment after 8 months!

Voice of the client

We have heard about cobots, but we haven’t thought about deploying them. Because we had some concerns about the reliability of cobots, and we were worried that follow-up maintenance would be more troublesome and increase the workload. The whole process of actual deployment and use is very smooth. Operating robots is not as difficult as we imagined, and the programming of cobots is relatively simple. The speed of integration, in particular, really surprised us. As long as you are willing to start trying, it is never too late.

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