Have you ever wanted to try some new ideas to improve your robot cell efficiency? Many people think of testing robot arm paths when they think of ROBOGUIDE simulation software, but there are a number of other changes and ideas that can be virtually tested with the program as well.
Recently, Quincy Washington, Electrical Engineer at Patti Engineering, created a few simulations in the software to highlight basic improvements that can be completed and tested.
Our original process has a PLC which was mainly used for safety and communication along with a FANUC robot. Parts exit the cell via the pick and place robot path to move the parts from one conveyor to another. With no validation or testing in this cell, we are leaving it all up to the operator to distinguish if the part is good or a reject.
The improved process gives the PLC much more control and use in the cell. First, we added in a camera to determine if the part was machined correctly. The PLC can be programmed to read tolerances provided by the technician to make sure the parts are within specifications. Since we are now able to determine pass/fail at the PLC level we are able to use the PLC to send the robot different signals and/or different routines based on the status of an individual part. By adding a reject bin into the cell we can tell the robot to place passing (green) parts onto the conveyor and failing (red) parts into the bin.
The changes made to our cell enabled us to have higher quality reassurance. We reduced the human error, automated our visual inspection, and placed our failed bin to improve cycle time and efficiency.
These virtual changes – and failed virtual changes, not shown 🙂 – were completed with no harm or aggravation to the actual human operator. Not a single bolt was moved as Quincy played around with different configurations to find the most efficient methods.
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