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What is Robotic Machinery?
Industrial robotic machinery is a term used for any robotic mechanism that controls a manufacturing or industrial process. They can be autonomous or semi-autonomous and are typically multi-functional as they work in conjunction with other robotic machinery.
In this article, robotic machinery refers to machines that have been automated through the use of robotic automation equipment, such as those robotic arms used for robotic welding, robotic spot-welding, robotic material handling, and robotic assembly automation.
The Function of an Automated Robotic Machine:
An automated robotic machine is defined as a robot that performs a manufacturing or industrial process via robotic equipment. Robotic machinery automation allows us to perform processes that would be unsafe or inefficient for a human worker to complete.
Automating robotic machinery requires both hardware and software solutions, resulting in an industrial robotic system. The robotic equipment for this system includes the robotic arms themselves (manipulators), fixtures used by the robotic arms to hold materials, robotic vision systems used to locate robotic arm positions, robotic end-of-arm tooling, robotic machine control systems, robotic sensors for safety and feedback control, robotic material handling equipment (feeders), robotic inspection equipment for verification of part quality, and robotic programming software.
A robotic arm is actuated by robotic control software, robotic sensors, and robotic vision systems to achieve robotic accuracy and precision when working with robotic parts. These robotic arms typically work in conjunction with other robotic machinery to complete an automated process. Automated processes can be controlled automatically or manually using operator consoles.
Automation and robotics applications in production:
In this section, we discuss industrial machine automation and robotics applications in production.
Workstations on an automated production line are connected by a transfer system that moves parts between them. These automated workstations often feature robots and conveyors. The transfer system of an automated production line is the mechanism that moves parts between the various workstations of the automated or semi-automated manufacturing process or assembly line. The transfer system can be either manual or robotic in operation.
Manufacturing with robots:
Any manipulator that can be programmed to perform a variety of tasks, be it the movement of objects or the use of tools or specialized devices, is considered a robot. In most applications, robots require both hardware and software to meet their functional requirements.
In the 1980s, it became clear that rigid robots were too inflexible to perform the range of tasks that modern manufacturing requires. The solution was found in robots consisting of a floating or articulated head mounted on an unmoving, rigid backbone.
With the development of new control strategies for these newer types of robots and their increasing use in automotive production lines, remarkable improvements have been made in flexibility and programming.
Numbers (and other symbols) encoded on punched paper tape or a substitute storage medium are used to control a machine in a numerical control system. The control may be numerical, in which case a device reads each punched hole in the tape and acts accordingly. In computer numerical control (CNC) systems, numbers are interpreted as instructions for the position, speed, or other parameters of machine actions with machines such as lathes, milling machines, and machining centers. In modern CNC systems, computers carry out most of the functions that were previously carried out by control panels.
Flexible manufacturing methods:
Flexible manufacturing methods (FMM) is a production planning and control strategy in which the demand for products can be satisfied by an appropriate combination of any of several technically feasible production processes. This contrasts with fixed manufacturing methods (FMM), in which a product design or type determines the most appropriate factory configuration or layout and, therefore, how it is to be manufactured. FMM emerged as a formal strategy in the 1960s and 1970s through pioneering work by Robert Muther at MIT, as well as many others. In practice, FMM has been limited to specific areas of manufacturing, such as automotive manufacturing, where models for design are developed concurrently with those for production planning.
Assembling machines are automatic machines that are used to put together sub-assemblies of products. They are the most common type of automated industrial machine and have largely replaced human spot-welders in many industries. The assembly line was developed by Henry Ford in the era of mass production to meet market demand for affordable cars.
Process control on a computer:
In an industrial control loop, sensors are attached to the process equipment. The output of these sensors is transmitted via communications links to a programmable logic controller (PLC). Process variables in the PLC are compared to set points, and adjustments are made by output devices such as throttling valves or cooling fans accordingly. This closed loop is often referred to as a control “loop.” Basic process control strategies such as PID, fuzzy logic, and neural networks are implemented in the PLC.
The Benefits of an Automated Robotic Machine:
An automated robotic machine can do tasks that are too expensive, dangerous, or tedious for workers. For example, an automated machine can produce many parts in a factory without requiring breaks or pay while eliminating the need for some people to work there at all, which ensures the safety and cost of the process. Here are a few advantages:
- Minimalist Solution - As a result of the limited amount of floor space available in most manufacturing plants, many machine-tending robots are compact in design and must be capable of reaching the point on a machine where its tooling is to be changed. Many of these robots rely on human-provided or vision-based information such as barcodes, target markers, color recognition, reflective tape over the part site, etc., to locate and index to the correct location on machines for material handling.
- Molding by Injection - With regards to injection molding, robots are an absolute necessity. Injection molding is a manufacturing process used to create plastic parts. In its most basic form, a hydraulic ram injects molten polymer into a closed mold at high pressures and temperatures, then opens the cavity to eject the part—an amazingly efficient way to produce injection molded parts cost-effectively, with minimal waste, and without the need for human intervention.
- It's cheaper than you think - Looking at the cost of robots compared to their price, it might seem that you would need to run a business for many years in order to recoup the initial investment. The truth is not so bleak—the recovery time required by industrial robots is shortening every day. You would be surprised at how affordable and simple they are to use, even for small production runs.
How can Metal Ready assist you?
With Metal Ready, you'll have the option to choose the perfect machine for your application. We can help you determine which model is best suited to your needs and budget. We service our machines before they leave our factory, so there's no waiting time if maintenance or repair work is needed on-site. Any parts requiring replacement are always in stock, and we offer a 24-hour service response. When you buy from Metal Ready, you know you have chosen to work with people who are dedicated to your complete satisfaction.
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