Benefits of pick-and-place robots for manufacturers

Pick-and-place robots have become a commonplace robotic application in today's facilities and are designed to provide advantages for manufacturers and relieve workers of monotonous, repetitive work.

03/15/2018


Pick-and-place robots have become commonplace in today's manufacturing environment. Typically relegated to simple, repetitive and monotonous tasks that robots naturally excel at, pick-and-place robots bring a number of benefits for manufacturers.

Pick-and-place robots are usually mounted on a stable stand, strategically positioned to reach their entire work envelope. Advanced vision systems enable them to grasp and move objects on a conveyor belt, which can be used in a variety of different ways.

Pick-and-place robot applications

Pick-and-place robots are used in many ways, depending on the product being handled and the manufacturer's need for automation. There are four main ways that pick-and-place robots are used:

  1. Assembly: Pick-and-place robots, during assembly processes, grab an incoming part from a conveyor belt and then place this part onto another work piece, which is then typically carried away by another conveyor belt.
  2. Packaging: Similar to assembly processes, a pick and place robot grabs a part on an incoming conveyor belt and, rather than assemble the part, the robot places it in a packaging container at a high speed.
  3. Bin picking: Pick-and-place robots equipped with advanced vision systems can grab a part out of a bin, sometimes even when parts are randomly mixed together in a bin, and place this part on a conveyor for production.
  4. Inspection: Vision systems can monitor products moving on an incoming conveyor belt and detect defective products, and then a pick and place robot can remove the defective product before it reaches the final phases of production.

While pick-and-place robots are used in a number of different ways, the four types of applications listed above are some of the most common in today's manufacturing facilities.

Benefits of pick-and-place robots

Courtesy: Bob Vavra, CFE MediaThe two main benefits of pick-and-place robots are speed and consistency. For pick and place robots, throughput can often reach up to 200 products per minute, while vision systems can identify 100 products per second on a moving conveyor. Additionally, placement errors can be as small as 0 mm in a properly integrated system.

The consistency at which a pick-and-place robot is able to complete assembly, quality control, packaging and other material handling processes improves the overall quality of production and reduces downtime due to errors. Speed contributes significantly to productivity, as pick and place robots move products through the manufacturing process much quicker than manual options.

Overall, pick-and-place robots can provide great return on investment (ROI) for manufacturers because of the productivity benefits they can provide. Pick-and-place robots help production operations around the world increase their output in a profitable way.

Pick-and-place robots have become a commonplace robotic application in today's facilities. These robots deliver proven advantages for manufacturers, and relieve workers of monotonous, repetitive work.

This article originally appeared on the Robotics Online Blog. Robotic Industries Association (RIA) is a part of the Association for Advancing Automation (A3), a CFE Media content partner. Edited by Chris Vavra, production editor, Control Engineering, CFE Media, cvavra@cfemedia.com.



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