Video - Industrial Robot Technology: Evolving Faster than Ever
James Anderton posted on December 11, 2018 |

Flexible automation is becoming more and more capable, usable and affordable. We spoke with Claude Dinsmoor, general manager of industry and automotive robotics division at FANUC America, about the latest progress in the industrial robots market.

In the past decades, we’ve seen flexible robotic automation evolve and become more and more competitive with custom-built process automation, and with human workers, for general-purpose tasks.

One such general purpose application is machine tending. A CNC milling machine is a piece of automation in itself, but by loading and unloading it with a robotic arm, the productivity and spindle time of that machine can be greatly enhanced.

As robots become more ubiquitous in manufacturing operations, the skills required to program and operate robots will have to grow, too. According to Dinsmoor, today’s robots are an order of magnitude simpler than programming Gcode for machining. “In ten minutes, I can have you programming a robot,” Dinsmoor told Jim Anderton in this video.

Much of the USA manufacturing workforce is employed at small companies. Robots have historically required a large capital investment and required special training, making the ROI difficult to see for many owner-operators. However, Dinsmoor pointed out that adding robotic machine tending can help pull additional value out of your existing equipment by increasing OEE. Therefore, it’s not enough to calculate robot ROI in a silo, by examining the value it directly adds. The OEE of the entire process touched by the robot should be considered. For example, parts deburred by a robot may be output from that deburring process more consistently, making the next process, such as QC or painting, faster and more efficient.

For more information on industrial robots, check out How to Pick, Pitch and Purchase Your First Industrial Robot here on engineering.com.


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