Benefits of Robotic Machine Tending
Labor shortages, high productivity demands, and rising production costs have many companies looking to improve their manufacturing processes. One way to improve manufacturing is through robotic machine tending. Robotic machine tending involves automating the loading, unloading, and operation of machinery with the FANUC M-20ia or other industrial robots. Automating the tending of CNC machines and other forms of machinery brings a number of benefits that can help significantly improve manufacturing.
With manual machine tending productivity is limited by the person who is operating the machine. The pace at which they can load and unload parts along with limited work hours, breaks, and distractions can hinder the productivity of the machine. With robotic machine tending, machine productivity is not limited. The ABB 2600-20 can tend machines twenty-four hours a day, doubling the operation time of manual labor. Articulated robots do not require breaks, they are programmed for continuous operation. With higher uptime, throughput increases for major productivity gains.
Decreased Production Costs
Automating machine tending with robots will reduce production costs. Six axis robotsremove the chance of human error which drastically reduces material waste and rework. This lowers the per-unit cost of each cycle. The reliability and consistency of robots allows for more accurate material estimates reducing the likelihood of going over budget. Robots also do not have the same expenses as employees, lowering labor costs. They also do not need human oversight allowing companies to increase productivity without increasing labor. Utility costs can also be saved with robots.
Machine tending can pose safety risks to workers. Feeding parts into a machine can potentially cause an injury to workers or expose them to hazardous chemicals. Automating machine tending with the Yaskawa Motoman MH12 significantly reduces safety risks to workers. Robots are designed to take on dangerous tasks or operate in hazardous environments. Employees can be moved to more productive and valuable positions. Creating a safer work environment through automated machine tending reduces liability expenses for employers.
Faster Cycle Times
When manual labor is used to tend to machinery, cycle times are hindered by the pace of the worker. Automating machine tending will speed up cycle times. Robots can operate at very high speeds allowing for significant time to be saved with each cycle. They are also programmed to immediately load and unload parts, so times between batches remain short and consistent, further helping to reduce cycle times through automation.
Streamlines Production Lines
Floorspace can be a precious commodity in manufacturing. Some may think adding a robot for machine tending will only take up more space, but robots can actually streamline production lines. Robots do not have to be floor mounted, there are many options that allow for overhead, wall, or tabletop mounting. Mounting the FANUC M-10ia overhead saves more space than using a worker for machine tending. One robot can also tend multiple machines reducing the equipment and personnel on the production floor.
Automating Secondary Processes
Robots can also be used to automate secondary processes in addition to machine tending. Most workpieces require additional finishing steps post fabrication. Finishing processes such as sanding, polishing, or deburring can be automated by the machine tending robot.
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