IP67 Rated Industrial Robots
The Ingress Protection scale is used to rate machines and devices on the level of protection they have from certain environmental conditions, mainly humidity, water, dust, and grease. Ingress Protection ratings are often referred to as IP followed by a two-digit number. Each digit of the two-digit number has its own meaning. The first digit references the equipment’s durability to solids while the second references its liquid protection level. The scale for solids ranges from 0 to 6 with 6 being the most protected. The liquids scale starts at 0 as well but goes up to 8 designating the highest protection level. Many different devices and machines are given IP ratings, including industrial robots.
The scope of industrial robots has expanded considerably since their inception. Today articulated robots are being installed in a variety of environments, which means users need to pay attention to robot IP ratings. Ensuring a robot has an appropriate IP rating for your work environment or application will allow for proper functionality and prevent failures for optimal operation.
It is quite common for industrial robots to have an IP67 rating. An IP67 rating is one of the highest ratings a six axis robot can have. An IP67 rated industrial robot means it has the highest level of protection from solids and the second highest for liquids. IP67 robots are fully protected against dust intrusion and can withstand temporary water immersion of up to 1 meter for a maximum time of thirty minutes. The water protection rating is important for production environments, but also for settings in which the robot may have to undergo routine washing for cleaning purposes.
IP67 rated robots are incredibly durable and well-suited for harsh work environments. Many robots may not come standard with an IP67 rating but have the option to be upgraded to this protection level. FANUC offers this option for several of their robots including the R-2000ib/165F and the R-2000ic/210F. It is important to note that some robots may only have certain sections that are IP67 protected and not the entire robot. For instance, the FANUC M-710iC/50 features an IP67 rated arm but its body is rated IP54. This is a suitable configuration if only the robot’s manipulator arm will be exposed to hazardous conditions, but if the entire robot will be exposed to harsh elements you will need a robot that is fully IP67 rated. Applications that benefit from an IP67 rated robot are those that involve high dust. These may include grinding, deburring, buffing, and polishing.
IP67 rated robots are not just for typical industrial settings that involve dirty, humid work conditions. IP67 rated robots can be used in settings in which cleanliness is a top concern. Since IP67 robots are sealed to prevent the intrusion of dust, the expulsion of contaminants from the robot is also prevented due to the airtight seal. This is important for industries that require cleanroom environments such as the electronics, food, and pharmaceutical industries. IP67 rated robots can also be completely washed for cleaning purposes which is common in food manufacturing.