With processors under pressure to reduce cycle times, automation must be quicker and more efficient than ever before.
To meet customers’ demands, high-speed robots are becoming a common sight on the shop floor. Robots have been developed to achieve fast part removal times and allow mold open at times of less than a second. In addition to quick cycle times, these automation options can feature high accuracy and repeatability.
On today’s shop floor, robots move at a high rate of speed, easily passing their human counterparts in several different applications. This makes high-speed robots the preference for companies that need to ensure fast production lines, such as processors serving the packaging, electronics, and food and beverage industries. The increased speeds help companies produce parts more rapidly and accurately.
High-speed robots also can reduce injuries that can be suffered by staff, the result of repetitive motions required by the job.
One of the most successful early designs was the SCARA, which was prevalent more than three decades ago. As high-speed robot technology has advanced, applications have increased to include picking, packing, assembly, sorting, and labeling.
Advances in three-axis Cartesian robots are bringing new capabilities to plastics processing plants. Molders can expect these linear robots to deliver higher speeds and bigger payloads. As the use of multi-cavity molds has increased, the need for high speeds also has increased.
Some high-speed full servo robots have take-out times that are a fraction of a second, trimming cycle times even further. Robots also perform unloading operations within a minimum amount of time and space. For years, servos have long been used to drive the main X, Y and Z axes. The newest innovations are servo-driven wrist motions at the rotational axis at the end of the main axes, essentially adding a fourth, fifth or sixth axis to traditional three-axis linear robots.
High-speed robots can enhance processes at the foot of the process, including flaming of parts, control, preform die cutting and deburring as well as assembly. High-speed robots can have flexible installation orientation and a variety of axis options.
Current options for picking and placing include systems that combine robots, conveyors, workstations, sensors and vision systems. This ensures the most efficient process.
High-speed robots also can ensure efficient high-precision of thin-walled products.
Adding high-speed applications to a facility brings increased flexibility and productivity to production lines. The lower cost and size of these systems means that many times companies will see payback in as little as one year.