Beyond the ‘Bot:  What Really Goes into Cobot Implementation?

    Posted by Todd Stukenberg

    Mar 8, 2019 4:58:00 PM

    Cobots are taking the machining world by storm, with demand growing by more than 40% annually.  The futuristic Cobot “arm” is becoming more widely recognized, but what else really is needed to take a Cobot out of the box and into common applications like machine tending?

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    A solid base/stand system:  While a Cobot can simply be mounted to any robust table, a purpose-designed and built base offers substantial benefits.  Bases and “part movers”, like those offered by Easy Robotics (including its Proofreader System), ensure a higher degree of success with Cobot implementation.  These bases are designed for proper, stable location to the machine tool or work area, eliminating accidental movement that can disrupt operation of the Cobot and its work.  The bases also offer a strong, stable platform for holding raw material in a way that is conducive to efficient Cobot loading.  A properly designed angle table can be paired with the base to take this to the next level of maximum capacity and efficiency.  Base systems like the aforementioned ProFeeder, also accommodate movement of finished parts through robust carts that are perfectly aligned with the Cobot.

     

    End of Arm Tooling:  End effectors and grippers are essentially the “hand” of the Cobot.  While many options exist (some even being universal or generic in nature), getting guidance on this accessory can really enhance the work efficiency.  Since grippers use pneumatic or electro-mechanical force, it is important to choose effectively for the type of payload they will be handling.  Additionally, custom “fingers” can be made for specific high-volume parts to ensure perfect gripping.

     

    Automated work holding: Integrated automatic vices using air or hydraulics are needed for operation with a Cobot.  There are options available on the market that integrate seamlessly with CNC machine tools and their controllers, working “hand in hand” with the Cobot to secure materials for the machining operation, and releasing finished parts back into the “working hand” of the Cobot to move it along.

     

    Effective Setup and Programing:  The best Cobot systems are designed to be collaborative and user-friendly, from setup to operation.  However, getting experienced guidance for initial use will accelerate time to operation and also serve as a training ground for staff.  Since the true essence of Cobot implementation is efficiency, an experience “hand and eye” can identify quickly the best waypoints (path) for the system for that specific part operation.

     

    To learn more about Cobot system implantation or to get assistance for your shop, contact Fusion for a no obligation review or discussion by clicking here.

    Topics: cnc machining, machine shop, Cobots, automation

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