Why Automate Sealing Applications with Robots
Sealing is a common joining process used in manufacturing to protect a product from the intrusion of potentially harmful particles or substances that could compromise the product quality or performance. Sealing applications are ideal for robotic automation given the repetitive and hazardous nature of the process. More and more manufacturers are replacing manual labor with sealing robots such as the FANUC M-710ic/50. Sealing robots are those that have fluid handling technologies which allow them to control all aspects of a sealing application. The Yaskawa GP50 is capable of controlling air flow, fluid flow, and speed.
Reasons to Automate Sealing with Robots
- • Better Product Quality - Improving product quality is one of the main reasons to automate sealing with industrial robots. Industrial robots are capable of controlling all aspects of the process making errors and inconsistencies unlikely. With the ABB IRB 6640 sealant is applied precisely and accurately with every part. Errors such as misapplication, under application, and over application of sealant are eliminated with the programmed control of factory robots. The mitigation of sealing errors improves product quality. While the repeatability of sealing robots ensures consistent quality from part to part.
- • Reduced Environmental Footprint - Automating sealing applications with articulated robots will reduce a manufacturer’s environmental footprint. As mentioned above, six axis robots eliminate the majority of errors associated with the process. This means less parts will end up being scrapped, reducing the amount of material taken to landfills. Sealing robots also lower VOC (volatile organic compounds) volumes. Robot manipulators can also reduce the amount of electricity consumed by factories. Industrial robot arms use less kilowatts per hour with their accuracy and ability to seal products with a single pass.
- • Elimination of Hazards for Workers - Sealing applications can be extremely hazardous to the health of workers. Many sealants are comprised of PVCs which contain toxic chemicals including mercury and dioxins. Long term exposure to such chemicals can lead to serious adverse health risks for workers. Not to mention workers are also at risk of suffering musculoskeletal injuries due to repetitive movements. Replacing workers with the FANUC R-2000ib significantly reduces their health risks and allows them to take on safer positions.
- • Less Material Waste - Manual sealing is inconsistent and error prone. Varying amounts of sealant are applied to each part causing issues such as under application and overcompensation. These errors often lead to rework and the use of additional materials. Robotic manipulators prevent these errors with their ability to control sealing parameters. They are programmed to accurately follow application paths ensuring the correct amount and application of sealant occurs with every part. Rework becomes rare saving manufacturers on materials and consumables.
- • Lower Costs - Robotic sealing will lower production costs. The conservation of materials and consumables reduces material costs. The energy efficiency of robots will help lower utility costs of factories. Labor costs will also be reduced as fewer workers will be needed with factory robots. The savings and productivity gains mean manufacturers can quickly capture their ROI and have the potential to expand their profit margins.