Automated Assemblies Corp. is marketing its Raptor as more than a robot - it's a central controller for a beside-the-press work cell, armed with multiple cameras for visual inspection.
Separately, Automated Assemblies has announced an alliance with StÃ¤ubli Corp., which makes six-axis articulating-arm robots under the brand name of RXplastics.
StÃ¤ubli, based in Duncan, S.C., and Clinton, Mass.-based Automated Assemblies will offer complete work-cell automation packages. Automated Assemblies does not make articulated robots, although it has integrated them into full systems, said Norton Kaplan, director of product marketing for Automated.
Both companies are experienced robot manufacturers. Automated Assemblies sold its first robots to injection molders in 1971. StÃ¤ubli entered the robot market in 1982. StÃ¤ubli also makes quick-connect systems for mold changes, both mechanical units and magnetic mold clamping systems.
The companies announced their alliance March 29. Earlier, Kaplan visited Plastics News' offices in Akron to discuss the Raptor servo-robot.
Automated Assemblies is marketing Raptor's personal-computer-based controller as the heart of a manufacturing cell. ``The screen is used for controlling everything in the work cell - the robot, the vision system and everything,'' Kaplan said. The company introduced the Raptor at NPE 2003, then rolled out the Raptor Vision System in January.
It can use any number of cameras, at a price of $7,200 for each camera. That price includes the camera, lighting, an interface to the controller and user software.
Automated Assemblies said the vision system is easy to set up and operate.
The cameras can automatically check and verify things like critical part dimensions, surface finish, gate vestige and flash, mold cavity inspection, contaminants, positioning of pre-printed logos or in-mold labels and the presence and positioning of inserts. The vision system is compatible with compliance standards set by the Food and Drug Administration.
Results appear on the Raptor control screen.
An intuitive ``Wizard''-based vision feature allows drag-and-drop sequence programming. The user selects an icon that represents a desired function and moves on the screen.
Another feature, InteliMotion, enables the robot to select the best performance characteristics, without operator interaction.
``You teach it where you want it to go and it optimizes the performance of that move, automatically,'' Kaplan said.
The system is Ethernet-ready for local, plantwide and Internet compatibility. It also can feed information to the injection press controller
The icon-based Raptor controller uses the Linux operating system. Automated Assemblies owns the version of the software used, so there are no third-party revisions to deal with, such as when Windows-based systems get upgraded, Kaplan said. Also, with Linux, there are no separate software license fees that have to be absorbed by the end user, he said.
With molders facing very high demands for quality, Kaplan said vision systems are becoming popular. The technology allows you to check every single part, right at the point of manufacture.