Benefits of High-DOF Robots
High degree of freedom robots are those configured with more than six axes. High-DOF robots typically consist of a single articulated robot arm structure with an extra axis in the arm as is the case with the Motoman Va1400, or they may have a dual arm structure. RTUs are also considered to be high-DOF robots as the track system is considered to be the seventh axis. Mounting the FANUC Arcmate 120ic to an RTU turns it from a six-axis robot to a high-DOF robotic system. While high-DOF robots are still relatively new to robotics they are starting to pique interest with the many benefits they provide including:
- • Reduces Need for Additional Equipment - Automating with a high-DOF robot can eliminate the need for integrating additional equipment with your robotic systems. Equipment such as robotic positioners will likely not be needed as high-DOF robots have the capability to maneuver around parts avoiding repositioning. In the case of dual arm robots, one arm can position and hold parts while the other arm works on them.
- • Simultaneous Multiple Application Automation - High-DOF robots consisting of a dual arm structure can perform multiple applications simultaneously. The arms of dual arm robots can operate together as well as separately on different tasks. One robot arm can transfer parts while the other assembles them. This streamlines operations as one robot can automate several applications.
- • Ideal for General Purpose Use - High-DOF robots make great general purpose robots. They can be used to automate multiple applications, meaning one robot can be used to automate more than one application. A high-DOF robot can be used to automate material removal, welding, and various material handling applications. The idea of a multipurpose robot is starting to gain attention as manufacturers look to automate but may not have one specific application in mind, but instead have several.
- • Decreases Costs - Implementing a high-DOF robot can decrease costs associated with robotic automation. Automating welding with the seven-axis Yaskawa Va1400, may prevent the need to purchase a robotic positioner, lowering the overall cost of the welding system. Since high-DOF robots can automate multiple applications, fewer robots are needed to fully automate a manufacturing facility.
- • Avoids Collisions with Peripherals - High-DOF robots are able to avoid collisions with surrounding peripherals better than those with six axes or less. Seven-axis welding robots are able to bend their arm around peripherals due to the extra axis. Dual arm robots have the advantage of using one arm to reposition the workpiece to avoid interference from surrounding equipment. Collision avoidance allows for greater reliability from high-DOF robots by preventing interference during operation.
- • Better Tooling Positioning - High-DOF robots are able to achieve greater workpiece access since their extra axes allow for better tooling positioning. This is especially beneficial for complex parts. Their enhanced range of motion provides greater maneuverability while also helping them to better stabilize their tooling.
- • Increases Productivity - With benefits including better tooling positioning, increased reliability, and multiple application capabilities, high-DOF robots will have greater uptimes which will translate to increased productivity rates. The more time a robot is in operation the more parts can be moved through the manufacturing process.
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