Robotic handling, automated handling or robotic material handling consists of using an industrial robot to move materials short distances, typically inside of a building. The use of automated handling in the workplace can generally replace or limit the use of manual labor. Robotic handling is optimal in a situation that requires the same application or process to be repeated over and over. Material handling subcategories include:
- injection molding
- machine loading
- machine tending
- part transfer
- pick and place
- press tending
When a material handling process requires flexibility or differentiation, automated handling might not be the best fit. Some industrial robots such as the Motoman MH6 with the Motoman DX100 controller are specifically designed for material handling applications. Many industrial material handling robots, such as the FANUC M-710ic 50 can be equipped with a 3d vision system providing it with more flexibility in picking up materials. The following are several advantages of robotic material handling:
- Increased safety to workers – Injuries in the workplace happen all the time for various reasons, including faulty products, negligence, poor oversight, labor limited labor training. Automating a material handling process can reduce injuries in the workplace by taking the most dangerous jobs out of the hands of manual labor. A perfect example of this would a palletizing operation that is currently being handled by a worker. The worker is taking 80 pound bags and arranging them on a pallet. The worker could easily drop one of those bags on their foot or injure their back during the lift. Replacing that worker with a FANUC R2000ia 165F with a FANUC RJ3IB would prevent those injuries in totality.
- Increased accuracy – Used industrial robots are far more accurate than human workers, even in larger applications. The FANUC M710ic 70 has a repeatability of .07 MM, meaning it places its respective material in the programmed spot every time with less than a millimeter of difference. When loading material by hand or using a manual machine such as a forklift, obtaining that type of accuracy on a consistent basis is simply not possible for a human worker.
- Increased consistency– Used Motoman robots such as the Motoman UP6 with Motoman XRC controller only needs to be programmed once. Manual labor consistently needs training in order to make sure the application is done correctly.
- Decreased human error – Even the best workers make errors from time to time. A used FANUC robot like the FANUC M20ia can perform tasks over and over without a single error.
- Return on investment - Once used industrial robot purchased, they will produce the same result for years. Purchasing a Used FANUC material handling robot such as an used FANUC M10ia with a FANUC R30ia controller can realize a significant return on investment versus manual material handling. Depending on the integration needed, the payback period on a used robot can be less than a year
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