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Innovative Thinking

Learning about Mechanical Guarding

 

For a robot to safely operate in an industrial setting, it needs appropriate guarding to protect both the operators from the equipment in the cell. It also protects the equipment from external forces that can damage it, or move devices from the taught positions they need to be in. These cells are not a barrier to keep the inside separated from the outside. Items that need worked on must enter the cell, get worked on, then exit in a safe manner to ensure operator safety, and efficiency of the process. To do this, both mechanical and electrical guarding components are designed and implemented together.

SUCCESS STORY: Premier Automation gets Robotic Workcell up and Running

What is the Problem?

Harmony Castings is a job shop for cast aluminum parts. Several secondary operations are required after the casting process: gate and sprue cutting, heavy flash grinding, and surface finish grinding. Each operation is performed by an operator using hand-held equipment. This leads to strain from repetitive tasks, and increased labor.

SUCCESS STORY: Premier Automation Engineers Get Robotic Cell Up and Running!

Recently, one of Premier Automation’s Senior Automation Engineers visited a customer in Ridgway, PA to assist them with their A2 robotic cell machine. The machine was brought into the U.S. from an OEM in Germany that is no longer in business. Traditionally, German code writing can be complex, which led to subsequent challenges for the customer. 


In addition, the system has a Siemens PLC with an FM357-2 module in it that was not functioning and needed to be replaced. These modules are not readily available—only from Siemens as a spare repaired unit. Once the module was replaced, it still needed to be configured, which not many people know how to do.

In conjunction with Siemens’ Hotline support, two of Premier Automation’s Senior Automation Engineers were able to determine the issues and get the machine back up and running. After several days of debugging and working through the code, Premier Automation was able to get the machine back into production.


To learn more, please visit premierautomation.com.

Predictive Maintenance in Robotic Systems

As Industry 4.0 is revolutionizing the manufacturing industry, robotics and automation are becoming more and more popular. 

The factory of tomorrow is here today, and it’s here to stay. Robotic systems are typically able to work more effectively and efficiently than a fully human workforce. And if they can’t replace the standard workers entirely, bringing in a collaborative robot (cobot) can help a worker perform their job more effectively.

No matter how we look at it, robotic systems and automation in the factory are the way of the future. But what about maintenance? All these new robotic systems will need constant attention to ensure the system is working correctly and no parts are failing, right?

Of course they will! 

Except... that process is also becoming automated itself, thanks to the advent of predictive maintenance in robotic systems.

Automation in the Factory

With the advancements of robotics and automation in recent years, entire manufacturing systems and processes can be automated these days. A manufacturing process that’s able to monitor itself and run efficiently is something that you would’ve only seen in science fiction movies just a short few years ago.

But that dream is now a reality, with robots today able to handle more complex tasks than ever before. No matter what people’s thoughts about automating the workforce are, it is the way of the future. Automation in the factory is going to happen, it’s just a matter of whether or not factories and companies take that in stride and use it to their advantage or not. 

While we could go on for days about the advantages of automation in the factory and how it will help transform the world, let’s take a look at a few of the biggest benefits that it provides.

FANUC CRX10iA Cobot

Adoption of robotic automation in both manufacturing and e-commerce has been on a steady rise over the past ten years, as robots can typically do many things more efficiently, more reliably, and consistently while saving operators from difficult, dangerous and demanding tasks. But there are many operations that still need the human element for directing the automation, loading materials and adapting to the ever-changing production environment. So it made sense for automation companies to come up with a way for humans and robots to work together.


Trends in Industrial Automation

The world we live in is ever-changing and fast-paced through the advancements of technology. With tremendous strides and continuous progress that occurs monthly, industrial automation puts technology to full use. Automation can entail many things, from a simple start-stop conveyor system to a full production line with safety systems, data collection, and more. Swift progress in automation and technology has led us to IoT 4.0, also known as the industrial internet of things 4.0.

Combining Industry 4.0 and Sustainable Energy

The advent of sustainable energy systems and introduction of digital transformation within the industry is substantially altering the way of life for people all across the globe. The way people consume, live, produce and trade are all being affected and changing, for the better.

Automating High Mix Manufacturing Plants

The manufacturing process for a single product can be modified much easier in order to improve its efficiency and productivity, compared to a plant floor where several different products are being produced. Higher Return on Investment is the prime motivation for automation, and improving the parameter becomes more complex as the production capacity increases in difficulty.

Challenges of Implementing Robotic Process Automation

Robots aren’t plug & play devices, especially not in an industrial setting. They require considerable prep-work, ranging from the initial design stage, to implementation, to regressive testing & troubleshooting. Things can get even more complicated when you are trying to achieve a great degree of automation through robots that work in conjunction, not just from the technical point of view, but from the financial side as well.