Benefits of General Purpose Robots
General purpose robots are those that can be used to automate a variety of manufacturing processes. The push for more robotic automation has increased the demand for general purpose robots as users look to automate multiple applications instead of just one task. The following are some of the key benefits of general purpose robots.
- • Application Flexibility - General purpose robots can also be referred to as multipurpose robots since they can automate a variety of different types of applications. Investing in a general purpose robot gives users flexibility when it comes to automating production related tasks. The FANUC M-20ia is a general purpose robot capable of performing material handling and welding automation applications. Integrating the M-20ia with a tool changer allows it to automatically switch between part handling and robotic arc welding tasks. Users can program general purpose robots for a specific task each day or to complete a sequence of applications within a production cycle.
- • Can be used for Multiple Projects - With general purpose robots users are able to capitalize on their investment with the ability to use the same six axis robot for multiple projects. Their ability to automate a variety of applications, work with different types of workpieces, and adaptability to process changes allow users to continue to use general purpose robots even when projects change. Fixed automation such special purpose machines are inflexible and cannot adapt to project changes but automating with a FANUC M-10ia allows manufacturers to use the articulated robot on all current and future projects.
- • Reduces Manufacturing Equipment - Since a single general purpose robot can complete multiple applications, the number of industrial robots and manufacturing equipment needed is reduced for a streamlined operation. Instead of using a robot for each application of a manufacturing process, one or two robots may be all that is needed for automation. Manufacturers invest in only what is needed and streamlining operations opens up floorspace. Automating with a high-DOF robot such as a seven-axis robot can eliminate some peripheral equipment as well. With the seven-axis Motoman VA1400 robotic positioners may be able to be avoided since it can maneuver its arm around objects.
- • Lowers Costs - Since a general purpose robot can be used to automate a variety of applications, work on multiple projects, and streamline manufacturing equipment, costs will be reduced. The multipurpose capabilities of industrial robots allow for them to be redeployed when projects change, preventing manufacturers from having to reinvest in new equipment. Using the same robot for multiple applications saves money as opposed to purchasing a robot for each application. With fewer robots, maintenance costs are kept to a minimum as there will be less upkeep than if there were several different machines.
- • Allows for Lights-Out Manufacturing - Companies looking to fully automate their factories can do so by investing in general purpose robots. Since these robots can automate multiple production tasks, the need for human interaction is avoided. They can select parts, transfer them, assemble, and package finished workpieces, fully automating an entire production sequence. Integrating general purpose robots with vision systems, force sensors, and tool changers provides the intelligence and autonomy needed for a lights-out manufacturing approach.