In order to keep the robots on a shop floor operating smoothly and efficiently, a robot maintenance program should be in place.
On the shop floor, robots are used to take parts out of a mold, sometimes put them back in, assemble components, pack parts into shipping containers and even clean the floor.
Frequently, processors will put in place a preventive maintenance program, which focuses on planned maintenance. This program is designed to prevent unexpected breakdowns and also increase the lifespan of your investment. Often, preventive maintenance will ensure efficient performance of a robot, protecting its reliability.
A typical robot can be a $250,000 investment, on average. It will have operation and maintenance costs that could be up to $10,000 annually.
A preventive maintenance program can include cleaning, adjusting and minor part replacements. Testing, periodic inspections and planned maintenance can correct any issues that may develop through normal use. By doing this, a processor can keep downtime to a minimum.
Most robots breakdown as a result of wear and tear, but preventive maintenance prevents this from happening for several years. Real-time monitoring is key to improve preventive maintenance practices.
The preventive maintenance program will reduce costs by preserving a company’s investment. This also can boost your return on investment. To ensure your preventive maintenance program is effective, a company must stick to it. Monitoring must be conducted without fail.
Operators performing routine maintenance should focus on cleaning, lubrication and correcting any issues detected during inspections.
Employees should be trained in maintenance. This is important because finding technicians can be difficult to schedule, and warranties eventually expire. Having personnel trained to perform maintenance and repairs can minimize downtime.
Some automation manufacturers offer operating training on topics that include programming and maintenance. Courses focus on maintenance and repair procedures from company personnel.
Protecting the investment made in automation with a preventive maintenance program is a wise business decision.
In addition to a regular maintenance program, another key to keeping a robot in good working order is being aware of its normal appearance and sounds. Listen for any unusual noises that could indicate a problem. Make sure the guide rails and wires are in good shape. Inspect the bearings to see if they are properly lubricated. Observe how the gripper or end-of-arm tool generally acts and take note if it seems to be slowing down. Delays can indicate a leak in the vacuum line.
Vibrations in your molding machine can impact the operation of automation. Adjust mold movements to minimize vibrations that may impact robots and other auxiliary equipment.