Maintaining Your ABB Robot

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ABB robots are considered to be amongst the top industrial robots in the world. ABB robots have been deployed across numerous industries to automate a variety of applications. Automating with a ABB 4600-40 or any other ABB robot significantly improves a manufacturing process through intelligent, accurate, and precise operation. However, in order to consistently maximize the benefits of ABB robots they must remain in optimal condition. How do you keep ABB robots in top condition when they operate daily for several hours at a time and can be exposed to hazardous work environments? The answer is through regular maintenance.

Maintenance for ABB robots can be in the form of the more traditional method known as preventative maintenance or the newer method of predictive maintenance. Preventative maintenance is the most common method used to care and maintain an industrial robot. Preventative maintenance involves using a set of predetermined tasks that take place at scheduled times based upon either robot hours or a calendar time. Preventative maintenance is typically recommended every 3,840 hours of robot run time or at least once a year. Conducting maintenance at regular intervals ensures an ABB robot continues running like new and will extend its lifespan.

When conducting a preventative maintenance routine on the ABB 6640 or any other ABB robot, the following tasks are recommended:
  • Teach pendant programs and the controller memory should be backed up
  • The articulated robot and controller batteries should be replaced (at least once a year)
  • The robot’s brake system should be tested
  • External belts on the robot should be tightened
  • Observe the robot in operation and note the cable condition along with any irregular noise or irregular movements
  • Replace the robot’s internal grease
  • Inspect and clean the mechanical unit, EOAT, cables, vents, and filters
Recently ABB introduced their CBM (Condition-Based Maintenance) program which incorporates predictive maintenance methodology. Predictive maintenance occurs based upon real time conditions of a six axis robot on an as needed basis. Instead of conducting a generalized maintenance routine, specific issues are addressed based upon data collected on the robot’s operation and condition. ABB’s CBM uses real time robot operational data to flag any potential issues. The CBM program is able to calculate the likelihood of a potential failure and the timeframe so users can address the issue before a major repair is needed. This plan maximizes productivity while significantly reducing downtime. Maintenance only occurs when needed and users can plan ahead when parts will need to be replaced.

Regardless of which maintenance method users employ it is important to ensure maintenance is routinely conducted. Failure to maintain your ABB robot can lead to major operational issues. Robots that are not maintained may experience position deviation in which they operate outside of their programmed parameters. Robot repeatability will begin to decline. Cable damage may occur more frequently, and users run the risk of losing the robot’s software programs. Lastly safety issues can arise from a malfunctioning robot, putting floor workers at risk. Properly maintaining your ABB robot will help avoid costly repairs, disruptions to productions, and operation inconsistencies.

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