Local cobot partner selected by European food detergent giant

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01Background

Due to environmental pollution problems and people’s emphasis on their own health and safety, European food-grade detergent giants have begun to grow their small home appliance business in recent years, continuously expanding the scale of production and manufacturing of kitchen smart appliances including air purifiers, water purifiers and cooking machines. Based on the consistent and strict quality control requirements, the client was extremely concerned about production efficiency and product consistency. Not only were they required to minimize cycle bottlenecks and pauses during the production process, they were also particularly concerned about system efficiency due to the large volume of orders—requiring shortening of the line change time during product switching and production line adjustment, and reducing the waiting time of workers and equipment.

The client has several production lines for driving the screws on the surface of the cabinet, which has been manually done previously. Because this type of work requires a long time to hold the driving gun and complete the single locking action of the small screw, the worker has a heavy labor burden and the task is tedious. In addition, errors and omissions and non-standard parts are unavoidable in manual operation, so the client has been considering introducing robot solutions.

02Pain points

The characteristics of this station are large batches, large varieties, and repetitive work processes, which make the station suitable for introducing robots to improve efficiency. However, the traditional industrial robots and machines are not competent, mainly due to two aspects. First, the positions where the screws need to be tightened are not on the same plane, so the traditional solution can only solve the one-side screw locking but cannot meet the client’s beat requirements of completing screw driving on all sides. Second, the variety of production lines is frequently switched, so a more flexible production method is needed to meet the production requirements of products of different sizes and specifications. Once the traditional industrial robot presets the action, the flexibility of the replacement action is very low, and reprogramming is time-consuming and laborious. Therefore, the client turned to collaborative robots. After a period of trial and error, the client determined that the collaborative robots could meet their requirements and sought out more competitive local brands to meet ROI (return on investment) needs.

03Solutions

In the end, ELITE EC66 collaborative robot won the favor of the clients. With a load of 6kg, a working radius of 914mm, and a repeating positioning accuracy of ± 0.03mm, the EC66 mechanical arm takes a screw gun to suck the screws from the screw arrangement machine, and completes the driving of 4 M4 screws on the front and side of the product with a torque of 1.2Nm. It completes the assembly of 8 products in one minute. 

The ELITE EC66 collaborative robot has obtained ISO 10218 safety certification and can share the working area with people without installing a safety fence, which is very convenient for the transformation of the existing production line, without readjusting the layout of the production line. Coupled with the compact structural design of the collaborative robot, it usually only occupies 1-1.5 stations and supports installation at any angle, thus further reducing the difficulty of robot introduction.

In addition, the open interface of the robot and the interactive programming method of the teaching pendant make deployment and debugging faster. It took only 2 days from deployment to online testing. Afterall, local robots can also meet European production standards!

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