Using Common Robots Is Better Even If They Are Not The Best Fit
When companies both large and small begin searching for the correct industrial robot model to best automate their operation it is common for them to choose the a robot model that is optimal in payload, motion speed, reach, and application. This may be a long term strategic mistake depending on articulated robot model that is chosen. In example, a company is attempting to automate a material handling operation using the FANUC M10ia 12S industrial robot with a FANUC R-30ib controller. The FANUC M-10ia/12S is a much less commonly integrated robot than the FANUC M10ia. This six axis robot was chosen over the FANUC M10ia because it has a little better speed and fit within the work envelope for the required application. While using a more specialized robot such as the M-10ia/12S with FANUC R-30ia controller might appear to correct choice, the following are reasons why that might not be the case:
- Availability of replacement - Industrial robots that are mass produced for use in the medical, automotive, and manufacturing sectors often become available in large quantities when lines are taken down, product lines are discontinued, or they have been fully depreciated on a company books. For example, many automotive suppliers and manufacturers use the FANUC Arcmate 100iC and the FANUC Arc Mate 120iC for their welding automation. A single production line could contain 100 used FANUC robots dedicated to arc welding. Larger production lines tend to use the same factory robots whenever possible as they can keep a few spares of the same kind in the event one robot goes down. Utilizing different robots would require keeping different spares on hand in the event of a failure. As a direct result, the used industrial robot market contains a lot more used FANUC Arc mate 100ic and used FANUC 120ic than other more specialized robots. Also, using an older model such as a FANUC Arc mate 100ib or FANUC Arc mate 120ib , both using a FANUC R-J3ib controller, can be a most cost efficient option for automation.
- Availability of parts - In most cases it is more cost effective and less time consuming to replace a faulty part on a robot rather than replacing the entire robot. For instance, if a company is utilizing a FANUC R2000ib 210F robot in a robotic palletizing application and the wrist of the robot cracks, it would be much easier and more cost effective to locate the wrist of the robot rather than replacing the entire robot. The FANUC R-2000ib 125L, R-2000ib 165F, and R-2000ib 210F are all common robots utilized in automotive spot welding lines. Therefore locating a used R2000ib in either payload as opposed to a FANUC M410ib/450 with a R-30ia controller would be significantly easier.
- Brand Availability- Similar to replacement and parts availability, it is also important to consider the brand of robot when selecting which type of robot to automate the operation with. The most popular robot manufactures in the US are FANUC robots, Yaskawa Motoman robots, ABB robots, and KUKA robots. There are a large amount of used FANUC robots for sale in the US. While other brands might offer better pricing, locating a replacement in the event of a failure or reselling the robot could be a challenge.
- Resale Value - At some point, the operation in which the robot was utilized for might be rendered unprofitable or be discontinued. Whatever the case may be obtaining more salvage value for the robot is beneficial to any company. The more popular and mainstream the industrial robot is, the more successful the company will have in obtaining a better resale value for it. The FANUC M20ia robot, which has the same structure and build as the FANUC Arcmate 120ic, is a common robot currently being put into production. Therefore integrating a FANUC M20ia into a robotic assembly application would help future resale value, as opposed to a less common model. This point ties both into the model and brand of the robot. The more demand there is for the specific model, the more value the seller will be able to obtain for it.