Some robots make the news, like Honda's Asimo or Sony's Aibo. Many others simply do their job. At the National Plastics Exposition (NPE 2003) show recently held in Chicago, a bunch of new robots, faster and smarter, has been introduced, according to Plastics Technology Magazine. Here is the introduction.
If one theme could characterize the robot exhibits at the NPE show in Chicago, it is that molders want more from their automation investment. They want more speed and precision, more flexibility, and more ease of programming. "Molders would like to do more than pick and place, more than just take parts out of the machine," says Wittmann president David Preusse.
Robot vendors at the show said they are responding to growing demand for greater value-added functions -- from vision systems for parts inspection and identification to downstream operations like degating, trimming, assembly, and packing. Suppliers addressed these demands with a breathtaking array of new jointed-arm, traversing, and hybrid styles with higher levels of programming and control. More suppliers are opting for PC-based Windows software and icon-based graphical interfaces to make robot programming easier. Also new is PC-based simulation software that gives users a new way to program robot sequencing and spot trouble without building a prototype cell.
Please read the original 8-page article for complete information. You also can read this other article from Injection Molding Magazine. But here, let's look at some of these new robots.
Here is an example of a six-axis, jointed-arm robot, the new M-16iB/20T, from FANUC Robotics, which can carry 20 kilograms and is suited to injection machines up to about 800 tons (Image credit: FANUC Robotics America).
Other hybrid six-axis robots were shown by Stäubli Robotics. Its line of RXplastics has 15 models, carrying up to 60 kilograms and designed for presses up to 1,000 tons. Here is one of them, the RXplastics170 L (Image credit: Stäubli Robotics America).
Husky Injection Molding Systems Ltd. showed a new line of Tracer servo robots, able to carry up to 60 kilograms and suitable for machines up to 6,000 tons (Image credit: Husky).
Remak introduced its new RX 32 three-axis servo robot which fits machines up to 300 tons (Image credit: Remak).
Automated Assemblies Corp. showed its new Raptor line of robots which "can be scaled from a simple parts removal device to a multifunction workcell system" (Image credit: Injection Molding Magazine).
Motoman Inc. presented its new Scara robot which can "work with an integrated vision system to detect specific parts in a moving conveyor belt for selection and transfer" (Image credit: Injection Molding Magazine).
There were other visual control systems, like the one introduced in the Conairís newest Generation IV beam robots which "offers simplified setup options for unskilled operators" (Image credit: Injection Molding Magazine).
There were also fast robots, like the new W625H side-entry robot from Wittmann. "It can get in and out of a mold in 0.3 to 0.4 sec. It can be used for fast-cycle demolding or as a label inserter for in-mold decorating (Image credit: Injection Molding Magazine).
Sources: Mikell Knights, Plastics Technology Magazine, October 2, 2003; Injection Molding Magazine
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