Do You Need a Robotic Positioner for Your Application?
When implementing robotic automation, there are a number of components that must be considered in addition to the industrial robot. There are several peripheral equipment devices that go into any robotic system in order for an industrial robot to properly automate an application. There is the end-effector, vision system, sensors, workcell, and positioner among many other peripheral devices that you will need to decide whether or not are necessary for your application.
Robotic positioners are a key component of robot systems and are often implemented as part of a robotic workcell. The main purpose of a positioner is to hold, rotate, and readjust parts as needed during the robot’s operation. There are several different types of positioners and the exact type you select will depend upon the number of additional axes you need, payload capacity, and part size. Most positioners consist of at least two axes to allow for part rotation and repositioning.
When are Positioners Needed?Robotic positioners can be used for a variety of applications including welding, dispensing, painting, inspection, machining, and material removal. Welding automation applications are the most common for utilizing a positioner. A positioner allows the Motoman MA1400 to accurately and effectivity complete welds.
Positioners are needed when a robot is unable to access a specific point of a part in order to complete an application. Six-axis robots are the most common because of their full range of motion. However, parts with complex geometries or parts that are large may fall outside of the range of motion of even a six-axis robot and will require assistance from a positioner. A positioner can readjust and rotate large parts for the FANUC Arcmate 120ic, allowing it full access to the entire workpiece for faster and more accurate robotic welding. Positioners are also recommended for large volume productions since they provide consistency and speed in setting up parts. Manual part positioning is unreliable, inconsistent, and slow. Using a positioner for automated cutting applications ensures each part is correctly set allowing the FANUC Arcmate 100ic to cut each workpiece accurately, resulting in uniform parts.
Why are Positioners Important?Robotic positioners are an important component of a robotic system since they increase the accuracy of a robot’s operation. The high repeatability of positioners means all parts are placed in the same orientation with each cycle. This ensures the part is in the correct position for the robot. When certain points of a part are inaccessible for the articulated robot, a positioner adjusts the part, allowing the robot access to the entire workpiece for the most accurate application execution.
The more accurate a robot’s operation is, the greater the product quality will be. Using a positioner improves the welding quality of the ABB 2600-12 since it can properly access all weld locations and part placement is consistent. Manual loading of parts often causes variations in part orientation which can negatively impact part quality.
Robotic positioners make the automation of tasks involving large, complex parts or high volumes possible. They expand the functionality of industrial robots making them an integral component of robotic automation.