Robot Assembly: Things You Need To Know
Robot assembly or assembly by use of robots has been essential in increasing the speed of production as well as quality. Processes such as screw driving, nut driving, fitting parts and insertion are considered repetitive and an ergonomic threat to people due to the high risk injury. However, through the implementation of assembly robots, these tasks can now be accomplished in the fastest speed and precision within the shortest time.
Uses of Robot Assembly
Robot assembly is ideal for activities that require high speed and precision such as screw driving which requires putting together parts that are too tiny and delicate for human assembly. Through automation of such processes, assembling can be done at a faster speed and with no mistakes which would be impossible for people who get tired and are prone to making mistakes. In addition, there is little uniformity in human assembly processes while robots work without making mistakes.
For most industries, shortening the product lifecycle is a priority where implementing robot assembly not only achieves this but also offers monetary advantages over other forms of automation. Businesses that invest in robot assembly are able to reconfigure their lines with ease and deploy them to other tasks which is not possible with equipment dedicated to assembly which losses value once production is complete.
Common Types of Robot Assembly
There are three main forms of assembly robots, classified according to the type of configuration they use. These are:
- Delta Configuration Robot – mainly used for picking and assembly of parts in production and are known for their high speed and ability to perform monotonous tasks with speed and precision.
- SCARA or four-axis robots – unlike the delta, this assembly robot can move in four degrees and is also used to perform pick and drop tasks.
- Six axis articulated arms – With two more axis compared to the SCARA, this robot allows for six degrees freedom which offers higher advantage compared to those with fewer axis since they can perform more tasks.
How They Work
With vision incorporated to their systems, robot assembly can be guided through programming to pick out objects from a conveyer belt or rotate a piece to fit in with another in processes that require screwing. Another feature incorporated to the systems is force sensing which is useful for robot assembly tasks such as insertion which require the robot to use specific amounts of force for the parts to fit in together. Both features help ensure that robot assembly is cost, quality and time efficient.
Picking the Right Assembly Robot
While it may seem like the best idea to pick an assembly robot with the most axis, it is best to consider what tasks the robot shall be given depending on the industry. Some of the robots are limited by the optimum load they can manage or by their range. For example, SCARA robots are ideal for cheap and simple structures where the only reason to pick an articulated robot would be if the tasks require more axis to provide flexibility.
Budgets also have a huge influence on the type of robot assembly applied in production with the articulated robots attracting higher costs compared to the SCARA. Unless tasks really need the added benefit of additional axis, it is best to use the cheaper robots if the budget is limited.
The number of axis needed per process is directly proportional to the task at hand. However, the higher the number of axis the lower the accuracy of the assembly robot.
Robot Assembly vs. Human Assembly
While it may appear like robot assembly is equal to human assembly, the two cannot be matched since some activities that are easy for humans are harder for robots to accomplish and vice versa. Robot assembly in the recent past has grown friendlier to human interaction with developers programming robot software to recognize human presence and reduce their intensity, only resuming full speed after the person leaves.
Robot assembly is definitely beneficial to a number of industrial processes which is why it is important to understand what it is about and assess which robot works best for the tasks within the business.