Automation & Robotics Exhibition 2019

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September 2019

What are your takeaway expectations for the Robotics and Automation show?

 

“So another exhibition is coming along. Should I register and what are the real motives for attending?”

 

SP Technology exhibited last year at the Robotics and Automation show in Milton Keynes and left feeling that we had benefited from a well-organised event with a vetted audience and meeting an array of companies highlighting what still amazing about British manufacturing as a whole. 

 

As a company, SP Technology hasn’t exhibited a lot over its 35 years history, the main reason behind this is what do we show? We are a bespoke machine builder that concepts, designs and installs all types of automation solutions for all types of industries. Medical device assembly, food processing, packaging machines, robotics, test systems, and many combinations of the above in solutions that have ranged in value from £10000, up to £3million, so as you can imagine a lot of variety.

 

With confidentiality agreements in place, it is very difficult for us to showcase our finished machines, and even if we were allowed, the chances are that this would not coincide with exhibition dates, and let’s face it, every manufacturer wants their automated machines to be on site as soon as possible.

 

For the very reason, we decided to build a demo machine, which can showcase, not necessarily relevant solutions, but a machine that can showcase integrated, up to date technology, and approaches that can be cross-fertilised over many industries. It’s these technologies that as a company we rely on to ensure our concepts can become reality, and allow us to meet expectations. When you visit our stand, you’ll see a machine, automatically loading cups, cleverly dropping stress balls into the cups, capping them and them offloading. Hardly rocket science I hear you say.  

 

As you walk around a show, there will be many vision experts, Industrial and collaborative robots, along with company stands with Ind 4.0, IOT and many of today’s industrial acronyms. All of these will be industry leaders, in their field, but as elements, they need to be integrated into final solutions and as a possible user, it’s always good to be able to relate this to the practicality of your production process.

 

Collaborations 

If you visit us at stand 620, you’ll see us sharing with Beckhoff Automation, and you’ll see the branding of both companies on the machine. SP Technology and Beckhoff are in no way commercially connected or tied to one another. SP Technology uses numerous control platforms, robotics and are not legally tied with anyone, just as Beckhoff supply to another machine builders, and customers across a spectrum of industries probably even vaster than SP Technology. So why collaborate? The importance of collaboration within our industry is so important, to allow companies such as SP Technology and Beckhoff to listen to and react to the need of customers. The demo machine brings together many aspects of most up to date offerings for the acronyms previously mentioned. Customers are looking for more than just a machine, they are now looking for data and conditioning monitoring, for performance as well as energy savings, they’re looking for predictive maintenance as opposed preventative. Another key area in manufacturing is the ability to have a flexible system, which can minimise downtime, and almost have the functionality of a vending machine. All these features are part of the demo machine.

 

 

Collaborative robots (Cobots)

Collaborative robots are designed to work safely next to humans, and in many applications, this is the case. In the instances where there are concerns over safety, devices can be integrated to overcome this. The machine has a Keyence safety scanner, which allows the Universal Robot to slow down and enter a safe speed mode, when this area is entered, but move to an industrial speed when the area is clear. Applications such as machine tending, palletising amongst others are all areas that can be related to this.

 

Types of robots

Traditional Automation

 Combining traditional mechanical indexing, clever mechanical parts handling and pneumatics, our thought process behind this, is don’t add “new technology” for the sake of it. Old tried and tested methods, if suited, should be considered. The pneumatics on the system brings in more up to date technology utilising wireless valve technology, to highlight the possibilities of simpler machine wiring. Supplied by SMC, these valves can simplify machine wiring on machines and especially on robot arms. Another benefit is the ability to monitor these valves in real-time so again bringing Industry 4,0 and IoT into reality. 

 

 

Clever motion control

Showcasing how it is possible to use servo positioning to create clever movements and positioning of tooling. The machine will demonstrate fast controlled movements, in addition to accurate final positioning.

 

Flexible Automation

A new feature of the demo machine is being able to select products from a menu. This feature can relate to small-batch manufacturing where it is possible to select various assembly or test methods at different times, to allow similar products, with variations to be manufactured on a single machine with no-tool changeovers. Recipe driven features show what’s possible in new automation where a family of assemblies can be manufactured on one machine.

 

 

Conditioning Monitoring 

The system will prove the advantages of being able to monitor devices in a production machine to show wear, vibration, and other parameters. This approach gives the advantage of allowing the customer to then turn to predictive maintenance as opposed to preventative maintenance. 

 

 

Summary

If you are considering Robotics or Automation in the future, then this is certainly the show to attend. An amazing array of technology, that can help you on your process of automating for the future. Register here.

 

 

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