CHARLOTTE, N.C. (March 31, 9:35 a.m. EST) — With a mouse click, a manufacturer can explore how to automate a plastics factory.
Joseph Portelli of Fanuc Robotics America Inc. described computer simulation programs from Fanuc and other robot makers March 24 at Plastics Encounter Southeast in Charlotte.
The user can arrange icons representing robots, injection presses, and auxiliary equipment in different configurations. “You can do a simulation where you click a robot and drag it around. It'll tell you about any problems, like a collision,” said Portelli, plastics industry manager for the Rochester Hills, Mich., company.
Portelli reviewed different types of robots, from parts pickers to complex, six-axis robots with articulating arms. He said the trend in automation is to use a single robot to remove parts from a mold and do secondary operations like stacking, sorting, deflashing and palletizing.
“If you want to add value, you've got to do something besides extraction,” he said.
Six-axis robots can be mounted beside the press or on top of the machine. One articulating robot mounted on a gantry beam above can handle two injection molding machines.