First introduction of collaborative robots? Recommend “loading and unloading” station

01Background

Founded in 1991, the client company is an electronic equipment processing plant with complete technology research and development and manufacturing capabilities. The end users are all over the well-known home appliance companies from the United States, Europe, Japan, South Korea and China. As a professional OME factory, the client produces products for many well-known brands, including white goods, small appliances and smart devices. Since entering the automotive electronics industry in 2008, it has further provided products including sensors, variable frequency drives, and automotive power supplies to mainstream manufacturers in the industry. As an established player in the industry, the client attaches great importance to product consistency and delivery commitment. In recent years, with the expansion of business scope and the influence of large quantities and many varieties in the terminal market, factories have increasingly felt the pressure of personnel management from the production side. In addition to the disappearance of demographic dividend advantage, and due to the fact that some tasks require simple and boring jobs with single actions, difficulty in employment has always been a headache for the factories.

02Pain points

Client’s plant is located in a plant in southern China with intensive labor force. The product undergoes multiple processes and needs to be loaded and unloaded frequently when it is transferred between the stations. For some old factories, the production line used to use manual labor for material transfer, but now these types of stations became the most “unpopular” — for employers, the waiting time when picking materials is undoubtedly a waste of manpower; For workers, this type of work is both boring and repetitive, and requires frequent turning and moving. It can also cause physical fatigue. The client initially considered replacing the manual labor with traditional industrial robots for loading and unloading, which means that a safety fence must be installed at this location. Obviously, the client could not accept another location for the robot in such a small space and was even more reluctant to change the layout of the existing production line. In the end, they turned their attention to the collaborative robot, which was most suitable for this kind of scenario.

03Solutions

After discussion with the integrator, the client chose the ELITE EC66 collaborative robot, with a load of 6 kg, a working radius of 914 mm, and a repeated positioning accuracy of ± 0.03 mm. With the vacuum chuck, the robot sucks 3 circuit boards at a time according to the beat of the conveyor belt, moves to the unloading position, and feeds one by one in the tray. After the tray is full, the workers on the other side of the production line label the circuit board and push the tray to the next station — a shared working area between man and robot, without installing a safety fence. The collaborative robot did it!

In addition, in this application, the advantage of the compact structure of the collaborative robot is fully reflected. The robotic arm only needs to sit on the side of the production line, and after loading the material, it unloads with 180 degrees. The whole set of effort is effortless. Imagine that if it is changed to manual, the worker will inevitably need to turn around frequently during the working time of up to 8 hours. The emotional labor and fatigue can bring potential risks. All of these restraints collaborative robots are comfortable to deal with. The 6 joints support ± 360 ° rotation and can work in a spherical space almost without dead angles!

What surprises customers even more is that the unique drag-move teaching and interactive teaching programming of the collaborative robot, which make the deployment of the robot very easy. In just one day, the entire debugging of actions was completed.

“The first attempt, the ELITE collaborative robot made us very satisfied! The automation transformation is simpler than expected, which makes us more confident to try to use the collaborative robot to perform other tasks.” The good experience of the client’s first introduction canceled the doubts over the competence of collaborative robots. It’s really not that hard to take a big step in automation transformation!

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