Regular preventative maintenance of robotic systems is necessary to ensure proper functionality and to prevent unplanned production downtime. Failure to keep up with maintenance schedules can lead to the malfunction or complete breakdown of a robot, which can be costly to manufacturers for both time and money. Performing routine maintenance extends the life of an industrial robot, such as the FANUC Arcmate 100ic, for many years to even decades. This allows robotic users to get the most out of their investment and to maintain consistency in their operations.
Preventative maintenance schedules for robots vary among each robotic manufacturer. FANUC Robotics recommends its robots like the LR Mate 200ic have maintenance scheduled every 3,850 hours or 12 months depending on which comes first. KUKA robots can go longer in between maintenance checkups with over 10,000 hours of operation before needing a tune-up. While Yaskawa Motoman takes a more customized approach to maintenance with their smart life cycle management and stating routine maintenance is not the same for every user. They are even in the process of developing technology that will report on a robot’s current condition so users will know exactly when maintenance is needed. It is important when purchasing a robot to know the recommended maintenance schedule and to not exceed those hours in order to prevent any major issues in the future.
During a scheduled robotic preventative maintenance checkup, technicians will typically perform the following:
- Back up the controller memory along with the teach pendant programs and application software
- Replace the robot and controller batteries in case of power failure while in operation
- Monitor the robot brake system operation
- Tighten any external bolts that may have become loose
- Check the robot operation to monitor the cable condition, irregular movements, or irregular noise
- Replace the robot’s internal grease according to model specifications
- Clean vents and filters for proper heat transfer
- Inspect and clean the robot mechanical unit, end of arm tooling, and cables
Robots can be a big investment and regular preventative maintenance will help users protect that investment and receive the full value out of it. As mentioned above, scheduled maintenance significantly extends the lifetime of your robotic system, which is the biggest benefit of routine tune-ups. Not only is the robot’s life extended, but preventative maintenance keeps the robot running at optimum performance levels, ensuring high repeatability, consistency, accuracy, and productivity for your operations for many years to come.