Five ways to increase the implementation of collaborative robotics in automation

Collaborative robots have received increased awareness in recent years and implementing them on the factory floor can be done more quickly when using the five tips highlighted below.


Collaborative robots have received increased awareness in recent years and implementing them on the factory floor can be done more quickly when using the five tips highlighted below. Courtesy: RobotiqSince the introduction of collaborative robots and the wave of the open source approach to technology where a lot of information and help can be found online on the Internet—technology has become much more accessible. In today's fast-paced environment, demand for fast implementation to automated production systems is important, but the equipment and programming must also be easy and fast to install and use. These five ways will speed up the implementation of collaborative robotics in automation.

1. Use lightweight and flexible single-phase collaborative robots and end effectors.

As more production moves towards "high mix/low volume" production, because of the frequent changes in demand in consumer products, it becomes important for the production facility to be able to change fast. Lightweight equipment that has fewer requirements to run (structure, air supply, etc.) and at the same time has incorporated safety features, easy to program, and fast to implement is important.

2. Use a teach mode programming method via a touch screen.

In the past, programming a robot arm could be a tedious task that required a specially educated program engineer writing code line by line. Such robot programming could take a long time to complete and later even more time and expense to change the functions. With modern robots, the programming has become faster and easier to perform. In some cases, the programming task has shifted over to the operator, who can immediately make changes on the spot if necessary. By using a touch screen, the programming becomes a task that is done right in front of the machine and robot cell. In some cases, this takes only a few minutes if the right equipment is chosen.

3. Use flexible adaptive lightweight electrical grippers. 

Aside from using an easy, accessible, robot arm as described above - it is also important to choose a versatile and adaptive gripper that is fast to implement and fast to program. When a gripper is An electrically driven has some advantages such as fast connectivity because it doesn't have an air supply and it has more available positions for opening and closing.

4. Use compact force torque sensors.

While grippers have force limiting capabilities for closing and opening, if an application requires measuring force that is applied to the Gripper itself then a torque force sensor is needed. Torque force sensors are designed to sense force in directions (up, down) as well as rotational force. 

5. Gain knowledge by sourcing information online at forums and message boards.

A key factor for engineers and users who work with automation and robotics is to be able to get support and to acquire knowledge about using robot arms and end effectors. On the internet this information is easily accessible and it is a good place to look for hints and tips on automation. 

Because the programming is easily available and designed for easy to incorporation, this makes the collaborative robot both collaborative in terms of working alongside humans, but also collaborative in that you have a community of robot users, who are willing to share problems and solutions online.


- Edited by Chris Vavra, production editor, Control Engineering, CFE Media, See more Control Engineering robotics stories.

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