Robot Machine Tending Innovations Overcome Obstacles




Machine tending has continued to be a manual procedure since it was thought to be too difficult to automate, despite manufacturers quickly replacing numerous manual tasks with robotic automation to increase efficiency and throughput. However, robotics manufacturers have been working to develop cutting-edge technologies that will help alleviate deployment challenges, making machine tending robots a reality even for small- and mid-sized manufacturers. This is because manual machine tending is a time-consuming, inefficient, repetitive, boring, and often injury-prone task that is usually well suited for automation.

What is Robotic Machine Tending?

The task of loading and unloading manufacturing machinery, or “machine tending,” has historically been done by hand. However, as the manufacturing sector struggles with a labor shortage, it is getting harder to fill machine tending positions because the work is monotonous and frequently causes repetitive motion injuries to employees. Furthermore, manual machine tending causes bottlenecks and is inefficient and sluggish.

For these reasons, an increasing number of manufacturers are showing interest in robotic machine tending—a type of automation that loads and unloads components more quickly and efficiently while also completing several tasks, such opening doors or loading pallets—in a single application. Unlike normal robotic material handling applications, roboticTending Machine involves several tasks being handled by robots that also connect with the process equipment.

4 Innovations to Overcome Difficulties in Robotic Machine Tending

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Robotics makers have lately improved and created a new generation of machine tending robots that get over recognized problems after realizing these hurdles. The development of more affordable cobots with improved capabilities, more user-friendly programming, streamlined machine interfaces, and robotic automation that is simpler to retool, redeploy, and transfer about the plant for more flexibility are four of the most significant developments and advancements.

More affordable, more capable cobotsa

Even for small- to mid-sized manufacturers, today’s collaborative or cobot systems often provide more capabilities at a cheaper cost than traditional robot systems, making them a more cost-effective solution for machine tending duties. While earlier generations of cobots made machine tending tasks easier to program through demonstration, smaller in size, and equipped with safety features to allow them to be used on busy shop floors near human workers, more recent advancements like the capacity to handle larger payloads, increased dexterity, and longer reach enable modern cobots to provide superior efficiency in machine tending tasks.

In order to transport heavier components across two or three separate machines more readily, for instance, today’s more dexterous cobots with bigger payloads and longer reach can reach around, over, and through barriers. This essentially doubles or triples Robot Tending Machine capabilities.  

More Intuitive Programming Software

In the past, it took a lot of effort to train robots to carry out intricate machine tending chores. However, new, more intuitive software packages are making the process simpler. A lot of robot makers provide software programs that provide templates for possible machine tending tasks, including tending mills or lathes. After the operation is chosen, the user is prompted by the software to specify important waypoints, after which the robot’s path is automatically generated using the input.

Additionally, the development of plug-and-play solutions has simplified programming. To make the process of changing components and “teaching” a machine tending robot to use them easier, some robot manufacturers, for instance, offer “ecosystems” that combine compatible components like grippers, vision systems, and safety systems with user-friendly programming software, pre-loaded libraries, and tools.

Simplified Machine Interfaces

One of the most important components of robotic machine tending is the robot’s capacity to “communicate” with the machine. However, for a long time, a significant barrier to the use of robotic machine tending was the complexity of integrating a robot with a CNC machine, for example.

But more recently, standardized and simpler machine interfaces have been introduced, making it easier for robot “language” to interact with the codes needed to program CNC machines. These plug-and-play solutions usually just require a basic cable connection to enable the robot to “talk” to the machine; setup and I/O exchanges are not necessary. With this technique, automating a CNC operation takes a lot less time. Without having to program the robot directly, operators with experience with CNC operation may configure the CNC machine’s settings and program the robot’s motion through it.

Increased Flexibility

A number of advancements have increased the flexibility of machine tending robots on the production line. First, the plug-and-play functionality mentioned above makes it easier for operators to retool and reprogram robots. This allows them to quickly change the robot’s functionality for different parts as needed or to reprogram it for different tasks throughout the facility. This increases the robot’s value for money and supports the growing modularity trend in the form of reconfigurable robotic workcells.

In order to build portable automation, several robot manufacturers are also fusing cobots with mobile platforms, such as autonomous mobile robots (AMRs). These advancements could make it possible for robots to be swiftly changed for a variety of tasks and relocated to different machines. More manufacturers will be able to benefit from automating formerly manual machine tending jobs thanks to these new developments in robotic Tending Machine.

If you are interested in Robot Tending Machine and automation or want to know more about how to improve production efficiency, please contact Robotnext today for advice and cost support. Details via hotline: 0909 914 837.

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