Steps for Implementing Robotic Automation
Robotic automation involves converting a manual process into an automatic one using industrial robots. The trend of robotic automation has accelerated over the past few years as companies seek higher productivity, better product quality, lower costs, and more efficient operations. More and more production lines are being filled with the FANUC R-2000ib or the Yaskawa Motoman MA1400 among many other types of robots. Robotic automation allows companies to expand and achieve their goals. Implementing robotic automation does take some planning. Below is a guide of some of the steps to take when implementing robotic automation.
- • Analyze your production process - You may already know which application you want to automate with robots, or you may have no idea. In either scenario it is a good idea to analyze your productions to ensure the application you have in mind will be a good candidate for automation or to identify a process that will benefit from robots. Applications that are repetitive, hazardous, or time consuming usually are best for automation.
- • Define Application - Once you have identified an application for automation you should define and document it. This will help identify materials, workpieces, and any additional equipment involved. This will help when it comes to selecting a robot.
- • Determine robot requirements - Defining your application will help you identify the type of robot you will need, the maximum payload capacity, axes, reach requirements, etc. It will also help you determine what options will be needed for your robot. For instance, if your application involves some degree of variability then your robot will need to be integrated with a vision system.
- • Conduct a risk assessment - A risk assessment is required by most robotic safety standards prior to robot installation. Risk assessments are used to ensure a safe work environment by identifying potential hazards and actions that can be taken to prevent them.
- • Set budget - Determining your budget will likely determine if you will be purchasing a new or used robot. Setting your budget also ensures you do not exceed what is financially feasible for your company.
- • Find a reputable robot seller - Once you have determined your budget the next step is deciding where to buy. There are many different options for buying robots including directly from the manufacturer, a robotic equipment company, a robotic integrator, or through an auction.
- • Install robot - Once you have purchased your industrial robot it will need to be installed on your production floor. Depending on where you purchased your articulated robot and your technical training with robots you may need assistance form a third party, either a robotic engineer or technician.
- • Train employees - It is important to properly train any employees that will be operating or working around the robot. They should have an understanding of programming, operating, and the safety features of the robotic system. This will help ensure a safe work environment and successful automation.
- • Program and test - Prior to going live with your six axis robot you will need to program it and test the program. The main programming methods for robots are teach pendants, offline software, and hand guidance. You will want a programming method that matches your level of expertise and also ensures efficiency. Testing the program allows for any bugs or inefficacies to be worked out for the most optimal operation.