Advice for a successful robotic installation:
Start with easy and simple pick-and-place operation vs. one requiring force control and complex logic.
Safety: Robots are inherently safe, but the actual safety depends on what tasks are performed by the robot such as having it using objects or tooling that is sharp. “Conduct a risk assessment,” he emphasized.
One idea he shared that meshes the need for productivity with safety is to surround the cobot with a light curtain to detect the presence of humans. The programming would reduce, but not stop, the speed of the robot in the space until the human leaves the work envelope before it returns to normal.
He noted that specific safety standards depend on your industry and location.
[Ed. Note: This article is helpful in that regard: Robots and humans can work together with new ISO guidance]
Parts 1: Having limited number of regular shapes vs. wide range of irregular or fragile items.
Parts 2: Known parts are easy vs. those requiring precision or force control.
Presentation: Random infeed requires vision system.
Programming: Repetitive tasks are easier vs. complex logic requiring sensor input.
A cobotic Q&A
As is usually the case, the Question & Answer session is often as illuminating as the formal presentation. Samson addressed these questions among others at the conclusion of his presentation, which included several questions posed by Packaging Digest.
What level of employee is the ideal cobot team champion?
Any interested person with a technical background, though you don’t have to be an engineer. However, the classic champion is an engineer with an industrial background who knows what to do and how to do it. A background in automation is less important than for the classic industrial robot.
What’s the cost of a basic installation? $50,000.
Can end tooling be changed by a robot? Yes, using a tool changer.
What determines the end-of-arm tolling or gripper? Hydraulics/pneumatics are the classic methods for applications needing strong, fast operations with limited motion.
Electric grippers are more flexible and easy to teach.
What’s a common misconception about cobots? That cobots are always safe. Yes, cobots are safe on their own, but it depends on what it does such, for example, having an unsafe payload.
Safety depends on the overall risk assessment for the application, not only for the robot.
Can a cobot be wall mounted? Yes. For example, some robots from Universal Robots can be mounted on a wall or reoriented and reprogrammed to operate from a different orientation.
The webinar can be viewed on-demand and the webinar slide decks is available for those who register.
Ed. Note: More information on how cobots affect the workforce from rethink robotics can be found here.
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