What should you consider when planning robotic operations for your company? There are many, many aspects, issues, and perspectives that may pertain to your specific situation. This is a list of eleven considerations that nearly everyone in your position should weigh before a purchase order is made. Oftentimes, if you don’t consider these things, you can’t even make it to the purchase stage. If you find this list helpful, peruse our blog and website for more important information. You’ll also find that consulting with our experts about your automation upgrade will pay dividends in both the short- and long-run. Without further ado, onward to the most exciting eleven-point list on choosing industrial robots!
- But Mama, what is a robot?
Robots aren’t all Decepticons and Autobots. Business people need to stop envisioning robots as anthropomorphic, emoting characters. Robots are machines of myriad physical dimensions that can move, assemble, and measure materials and be reprogrammable for different tasks. Robots on YouTube that look like dogs or a Terminator nemesis are rare incarnations in manufacturing.
- No one is above the law, especially those of physics.
Robots can only do what they can do, which is a lot, but not everything. They can add zeros to your bottom line, but don’t let your imagination diverge into science fiction.
- Safety first! And second, and third, and…
Insufficient safety measures can lead to problems you don’t want to deal with. An employee’s preventable injury or death on the job isn’t just a massive financial liability, it also flies in the face of common sense and what can only be called “the right thing to do.” This is a component of business ethics that just isn’t optional. To ensure the longevity of your employees and your business’ success, think about the location of cells from the operator’s viewpoint. The area around the robot should be enclosed so that an operator can’t reach inside while the machine is moving. Plan in safety features like interlocks on cell doors and curtains as appropriate. A robot needs to be programmed with an awareness of safety features so that it can perform seamlessly. Safety should be considered first during the design of both the cell and the robot’s programming. This topic is becoming more and more critical to think about as regulations on these machines become more robust.
- High-tech is a pro, complexity is its con.
The technology is getting more and more advanced, and there are a lot of bells and whistles available on new models. These features have their benefits, but they can also curtail your savings.
- Appropriate tooling.
Your application needs to have the right end effector to prevent tooling from causing a mishap with production parts. Another benefit of choosing the end effector well is a reduction in teach time to operate the robot at its top production rate.
- Maintenance is inevitable.
As you can imagine, your new machines will need routine and other maintenance over the course of their lifetime. But in addition to that, over the course of your installations’ lifetimes, you’ll need to upgrade as your business grows. Plan for upgrades while designing the layout from the beginning. This will reduce downtime, loss, cortisol, and other stress hormones.
- Your workers are your best critics.
Aim for an in-depth simulation of your new system as soon as possible. This needs to include the staff involved in operations so that they can give golden feedback on possible issues. Resolving these issues before full-swing production begins instead of after multi-million dollar orders come in will reduce your levels of aforementioned stress hormones.
- Product dimension zones are a boon.
A common robotic system is one with a pick-and-place function used with thermoformed packaging trays. These systems are well-paired with zoned suction cups capable of insulation and maybe on/off switch functionality to accommodate different sizes of tray.
- Think about the interchangeability of your robots’ programs.
One outstanding feature of robots is their ability to do different jobs depending on what programs they’re loaded with, and a change of the end-of-arm tool. You can reduce your cost footprint by thinking about the electronic changeovers between programs and preparing for these changeovers.
- Enjoy the luxury of choosing your own error codes.
Nothing excites a computer scientist like error codes. That excitement may not be of a positive nature, but, much to the chagrin of computer scientists, it is a form of excitement nonetheless. Programs governing a robot’s behavior involve many lines of code. Identifying problems unique to your operation’s coding and creating your own error codes for those problems is a form of convenience fit for the finest computer scientist. As your engineers produce more programs and more lines of code, new errors will be discovered. You can add more customized error messages as these come up. Consider a monument in your company’s atrium dedicated to the error code.
- Each robot’s cell needs a location datum point.
Inside the robot’s work envelope, but outside the main work area, design an independent datum point. This will pave the way for schnell remastering of a robot and/or its axis after maintenance. In short, doing this can save heaps of time.
These are eleven points out of many that may come up in your firm’s advancement into the world of automated production. If you’ve read this far, then you’re probably already aware of the blessings that can emanate from automation. As you progress towards those glories, there are many other points that may be pertinent depending on your specific situation. To make sure you get exactly what you need and that your production starts quickly and successfully, give us a call and schedule a consultation with one of our experts. We’ve been in the business of finding the right combination of machinery for years, and our experience can be transformed into higher profits and possibly promotions. Keep an eye on this blog for more great insights into the industry!