Many enterprises are embracing automation solutions to increase the precision, speed, safety, and productivity of their operations. With the technology available today, you can integrate customized robotics to automate even the most complex applications, from assembling parts and packing boxes to dispensing and materials handling. Upgrading existing systems with automation solutions can help optimize costs, increase volume, improve quality and precision, and make operations safer.
Here are six important things to consider when transitioning to robotic automation.
Payload is the maximum weight the robot arm can accommodate. A common misconception is that payload is only determined by the part weight. This is not the case. Weight of tooling like grippers or pneumatic devices and cables need to be considered as well.
What level of precision is required to successfully assemble your parts? How you come up with that number is critical to purchasing the right robot. We recommend identifying the tightest fit for the parts in your process and add buffer to that to determine precision requirement. Tolerance build up from part variations, parts feeding method, tooling and cabling can all impact precision calculation as well.
How many parts do you need per month? Start big picture and then break down what is required by each process. From there you can determine cycle time – the total time from the beginning to the end of your process. Knowing your volume requirements per month and per week will enable you to determine an appropriate PPM (parts per minute) for your automation system.
What is the longest motion required for your application? How much space do you need for the workcell process? This will determine the type of robot required for your application.
Once you’ve identified the core requirements for your process, consider peripheral components that may be required. These include: parts feeder (bowl feeders, flexible feeders etc.), vision, end-of-arm tooling (EOAT), safety equipment, and base.
Resource (Industry Experts)
Robot vendors, System Integrators or in-house resources can also help you determine the right robot for your application. Robot vendors and System Integrators typically offer proof of concept, feasibility or cycle time studies before having to purchase the robot.
Download Automation 101: Getting Started with Robotics for additional guidance on balancing these five characteristics for your organization’s ideal automation solution.