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Robotic Technology

Lights, Camera, Automation

By Russ Olexa

June 2009 - ABB Robotics, Auburn Hills, Mich., hosted an open house for its customers, vendors and the general public April 21-23. On April 22, the company had a full day of seminars that covered just about every imaginable robotic application, including roles in the new "Terminator" movie.

ABB robots had unique visibility May 21, when Warner Bros. released "Terminator Salvation." In the fourth of the "Terminator" film franchise, 18 ABB robots are seen in an almost endless manufacturing line, mass-producing a growing army of Terminators.

At the open house, three areas were discussed for the use of robots: welding, press tending for stamping and leaner systems that might involve part movement such as press brake tending.

For robotic welding, there's always one key issue keeping most shops from introducing it: cost justification. However, Scott Mazzulla, West Coast territory manager for ABB, held a seminar on how a company could justify the costs that average roughly $150,000 per welding cell.

One thing Mazzulla pointed out was that a welding cell is more flexible than most people think. If a shop is doing only single parts, such as prototypes, then it's better to have a welder do them. But if multiple parts are involved, the efficiency and quality of a robot welding cell can easily pay for itself within several years.

Mazzulla says that if you have five welders each making $50,000 per year, the yearly cost will be $250,000. You should be able to eliminate two welders with a robotic welding cell, saving $100,000 per year, allowing a payback in about two years.

He also says that companies will often gain additional work because of their quality welds and speed using robotic cells, which will allow the displaced welders to do other welding and not be laid off. But he also says there's a large shortfall of people going into welding and companies often can't find qualified welders--another justification for robotic cells.

Robotic stamping press tending
Robots can be used two ways when introduced into a stamping area: They can move stamped parts between presses, and they can remove parts or scrap from presses. Although these robot processes have been used for years in stamping, ABB has developed a unique device that rotates a part when pulled from a press to place it in the next press in the proper orientation. This device is attached to the robot's arm and extends the robot's reach. With it, the robot acts more like a three-axis, in-press transfer system, moving the part in front rather than around it saving floor space and increasing the area of part movement.

Robot introduced
At the event, ABB Robotics also unveiled its fastest, most accurate, lowest-weight, medium-sized robot for general industrial applications. The IRB 4600 features twice the working range, half the weight and a 25 percent faster cycle time than competitive models, says Daniel McGillis, global business development manager at ABB.

The IRB 4600 supports lean manufacturing initiatives, as well as general robotic needs. It has a wide working range and optimal path performance but few cycle times. It weighs 880 lbs., and it can be floor- or shelf-mounted, tilted or inverted. The robot's applications vary in range from deburring to arc welding to machine tending.

For payloads of 60 kg or 45 kg, the IRB 4600 comes in a 2.05-m, short-arm version. For payloads of 40 kg or 20 kg, it comes in two long-arm versions (2.50 m and 2.55 m). Additionally, it has optimal reach below the base because of its semi-shelf capability, and it can be put on top of machines. FFJ

Sources

  • ABB Robotics
    Auburn Hills, Mich.
    phone: 248/391-9000
    www.abb.com

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Company Profiles

AIR FILTRATION

HYDRAULIC PRESSES

NESTING SOFTWARE

SERVICE CENTERS

Camfil APC - Equipment Beckwood Press Co. Metamation Inc. Admiral Steel
Camfil APC - Replacement Filters Triform

PLASMA TECHNOLOGY

Alliance Steel
Donaldson Company Inc.

LASER TECHNOLOGY

Messer Cutting Systems Inc.

SOFTWARE

BENDING/FOLDING

AMADA AMERICA, INC.

PLATE

Enmark Systems Inc.
MetalForming Inc. Mazak Optonics Corp. Peddinghaus Lantek Systems Inc.
RAS Systems LLC MC Machinery Systems Inc.

PLATE & ANGLE ROLLS

SigmaTEK Systems LLC

BEVELING

Murata Machinery, USA, Inc. Davi Inc. Striker Systems
Steelmax Tools LLC TRUMPF Inc.

PRESS BRAKE TOOLING

STAMPING/PRESSES

COIL PROCESSING

LINEAR POSITION SENSORS

Mate Precision Tooling AIDA-America Corp.
Bradbury Group MTS Sensors Rolleri USA

STEEL

Burghardt + Schmidt Group

MATERIAL HANDLING

PRESS BRAKES

Alliance Steel
Butech Bliss Fehr Warehouse Solutions Inc. AMADA AMERICA, INC.

TUBE & PIPE

Red Bud Industries UFP Industrial Automec Inc. BLM Group
Tishken

MEASUREMENT & QUALITY CONTROL

MC Machinery Systems Inc. Prudential Stainless & Alloys

CONVEYOR SYSTEMS

Advanced Gauging Technologies SafanDarley

WATERJET

Mayfran International

METAL FABRICATION MACHINERY

PUNCHING

Barton International

DEBURRING/FINISHING

Cincinnati Inc. Hougen Manufacturing Flow International Corporation
ATI Industrial Automation LVD Strippit

SAWING

Jet Edge Waterjet Systems
Lissmac Corp. Scotchman Industries Inc. Behringer Saws Inc.

WELDING

Osborn Trilogy Machinery Inc. DoALL Sawing American Weldquip
SuperMax Tools

METAL FORMING

HE&M Saw Strong Hand Tools
Timesavers FAGOR Arrasate USA Inc. Savage Saws T. J. Snow Company

 

MetalForming Inc.

 

 

 

MICROFINISHING TOOLS

 

 

 

Titan Tool Supply Inc.

 

 


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