Flexible Production Lines with Robots

FANUC R2000ib 125L R30ia Motoman MA1400 FANUC M710ic 50 Motoman HP6 NX100 FANUC Arcmate 120ic

Flexible production lines have become critical to manufacturing in recent years. In today’s manufacturing, product turnover, high mixes of products, and varying consumer demand have emphasized the need for flexible production lines. Companies are no longer manufacturing the same product year after year as increased competition has consumers looking for the next best option. Fortunately, flexible manufacturing can be achieved with robotic automation.

Industrial robots are a form of flexible automation, meaning they allow for variability. Other types of manufacturing equipment, such as fixed machinery, are inflexible with the ability to only handle one process and one part. Manufacturing robot arms are multipurpose with the ability to automate a variety of production related tasks. The FANUC M-20ia can automate material handling, welding, and material removal, giving manufacturers the capability of several machines within one. The development of tool changers has allowed robot manipulators to automatically switch tooling for the automation of different processes with uninterrupted operation. Multiple processes can be completed within the same workcell or production line. Manufacturing equipment is streamlined with the versatility of factory robots.

Industrial robot arms can also be reprogrammed which is not the case with all forms of manufacturing equipment. The ability to reprogram articulated robots means the ABB IRB 2600 can automate a specific task one day and redeployed for another the next. Programming time has significantly improved for robots. Collaborative robots can be programmed within minutes with hand guidance. Offline programming allows for the development of new programs on a PC while the Yaskawa MH24 and other six axis robots continue to operate on a current application, decreasing downtime. Even pendant programming has become faster with better software and pre-programmed applications.

The multipurpose and programming capabilities of industrial robotic arms means they can be redeployed for multiple projects. Should production processes or the products being manufactured change, industrial robots can easily adapt to meet the new requirements. Equipment does not need to be decommissioned and there is no need to take time to retrain. Robotic manipulators allow for quick changeovers, decreasing the amount of downtime in between projects. For companies with frequent product turnover, automating with industrial robots is crucial. Robots are a long term investment that will ease the cost of production changes by avoiding having to completely overhaul operations. The flexibility of robots also makes it easier for companies to adjust product lines according to consumer demand. If parts need to be changed, the KUKA KR6 R900 can quickly adapt. The integration of robotic vision systems allow robots to recognize part and process changes autonomously without the need for intervention via programming.

Industrial robots are also scaleable, meaning they can adjust to changing product volumes based on customer demand. During times of high consumer demand, they can be scaled up to meet higher production volumes. There is no need to purchase extra equipment or hire additional workers when demand is high. Productivity can be increased with robotic automation. During periods when consumer demand is lower, robots can be scaled back for their productivity requirements.

Creating a flexible production line with industrial robots will create a sustainable, long term manufacturing solution. Companies will be able to improve products, meet production volume needs, and overall will be able to better retain customers.

Robots Done Right is the place to start when it comes to used robots. Contact us if you are interested in buying or selling your used robot.