Adding intelligence to a robot arm enables manufacturers to automate more and to increase their efficiency. However, only a reduced time for robot programming and integration makes these benefits available for small and medium-sized companies as well.
In highly competitive markets, sensitive automation promises decisive advantages for manufacturers. However, although it make companies more productive in the long run, it always starts with an investment:
- On the one hand, there are costs for the physical product itself.
- On the other, any minute that production processes are stalled due to the integration of robotic applications is valuable – and costs money, too.
The more this time expands, the more expensive it gets:
- Paying employees and external service providers is costly.
- The later an application takes up its work, the longer it takes until it generates profit.
- In case that a robot is complicated to handle, cost-intensive staff trainings need to be arranged.
- In the worst case, production losses occur while the product is integrated.
Especially for small and medium-sized companies these issues may turn out problematic.
Therefore, users need end-of-arm tooling that is fast to deploy.
Manufacturing robots: fast integration increases efficiency
The time it takes to program a robot is essential when it comes to determining its profitability. It takes applications that grant fast support and thus provide a quick return on invest, so that companies of all sizes may benefit from automation. The collaborative grippers RG2 and RG6 for instance make this possible: Both can be deployed 30 percent faster than conventional models can.
Besides, if gripping tools are applicable in a plug-and-play-style, they will give companies the flexibility to choose from a wide range of applications. This turns out extremely useful in an environment, where robots are frequently redeployed. In electronics manufacturing, for instance, work orders may change from day to day. Flexible applications help companies to live up to the changing demands.
Regarding flexibility, choosing a manufacturer whose products are compatible with that of others also helps.
- All OnRobot products are compatible with Universal Robots leight weight robots.
- Besides, the nature inspired Gecko Gripper can be mounted on Fanuc and Kawasaki robot arms, for which the Polyskin Tactile Gripper is suitable as well.
- The RG2-FT Gripper as well as the HEX Force/Torque Sensors are compatible with the products of KUKA robotics.
Hence, the gripping technologies can be operated via the robot arm’s interface, benefitting from the intuitive handling their manufacturers offer. KUKA for instance offers a hand-held device that is fairly easy to use and enables workers to create customized programs for robotic applications.
In the end, however, it is the whole application that counts: Both end-effector and robot arm need to be easy to operate in order to guarantee a user-friendly handling.
Simple robot programming makes automation easy
On top of that, pre-programmed software packages help to keep integration time short.
When they are conceptualized in a user-friendly way, they can give integrators all the instructions they need to install the robot themselves. Configurating the robot’s settings thus becomes a matter of minutes. Some manufacturers like Universal Robots or OnRobot even offer software that can easily be updated via USB-sticks.
When robots are programmed in such an intuitive way, workers can conveniently learn to operate them without specific expertise. Expensive staff trainings are no longer necessary and employees can concentrate on more important tasks – while the robots take over strenuous, repetitive work.
This increases the acceptance of automation within the working environment and helps to convince employees of the necessary change. Especially in small, familiarly businesses, easy programming can be crucial for success.
Intuitive installation means quick profits
Moreover, a short integration time and easy use mean fast profits: As soon as the robot is deployed, it improves both productivity as well as product quality.
At the same time, automation quickly reduces production costs, resulting in a measurable benefit for the company.
Thus, short deployment time results in a quick return on invest.
This renders automation an accessible and profitable option even for small and medium-sized companies: Danish gear manufacturer Osvald Jensen for instance increased its productivity remarkably by retrofitting their CNC machines with RG2 Dual Grippers by OnRobot. They were able to reduce waiting times in production by almost 50 percent. Three months after installation, the purchase had already paid off.
Only when they are fast to deploy and easy to use, do manufacturing robots live up to their potential.
It takes user-friendly gripping and sensing systems for manufacturers to get the most out of automation – and to make it available for companies of all sizes.