SP Elements – Collaborative Robots

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August 2020

SP Elements – Collaborative Robots – About Us

 

Partnering with companies such as Schunk, On Robot, Olympus Technologies, and of course Universal Robots SP Elements can provide complete cobot solutions, supplying not only collaborative robots but also end of arm tooling.

 

Collaborative robots or cobots have seen a huge growth in terms of unit sales over the past ten years. Companies such as Universal Robots, based in Odense Denmark began to offer these cobots to industry to help remove repetitive tasks in manufacturing. In particular, the Universal range of four cobots the U3e, UR5e, UR10e, and the UR16e, have been designed with simplistic programming in mind and the end-user does not require to have any previous programming or robot knowledge. Programs can even be generated using hand guiding. This generates program end or weigh points which ultimately creates the cobot program.

 

Collaborative Robots – Easily Deployed

The simple programming language allows users to utilise these arms in numerous areas of their production. Being very light in weight, the robot arms can be quickly and simply redeployed to carry out other tasks. Designed to work alongside humans, each joint has a force limiting feedback sensing, and in the event of a collision, the cobot will automatically stop. Once the cause of the collision has been removed, a quick reset is pressed, and the cobot starts again.

 

Collaborative Robots – Limitless Applications

The universal robot itself is a very clever machine but has been designed to be simple in use. With endless applications in material handling applications, the robot arms can be used in a myriad of industries. Although a clever standalone workhorse, to make them useable, end of arm tooling has to be used. Companies such as OnRobot, who is also based in Odense Denmark were established to work closely with the collaborative robot industry.

 

Collaborative Robots

Types of End of Arm Tooling

Deciding on what end of arm tooling you require, will depend on the application and environment that Cobot and end of arm tooling are to be used in. On Robot has been developing and ever-growing range of standard tooling to suit almost any requirement. This year alone (2020), there will be 30+ added to their portfolio. End of arm tooling falls into a number of electric grippers, vacuum, vision systems, and special tooling. The beauty of the On Robot range is the seamless integration with Universal robot arms. All their products are UR+ certified so after some simple configurations, the end of arm tooling will be set up and communicating with the cobot.

 

Electric Grippers

Just as the cobot has inbuilt sensing, the electric grippers have very similar technology built in. Limited to 40N closing force (to comply with collaborative application safety) these can easily be configured to close to predefined positions. This provides end-users with a solution that can grip but also inspect the product if required as position feedback is accurate enough to measure. This can be taken one step further with the RG-2 FT gripper which has inbuilt gripper finger force monitoring cells. This enables true collaboration with human operators, supporting them as a co-worker would. Insertion processes can be achieved faster and more precise. This gripper can easily insert pins, for instance, where humans would struggle. Due to the advanced sensor technology, during assembly, the gripper gives the robot the ability to feel when the part has been mounted correctly. In addition to the two-finger grippers, there are also three-finger options.

Should a larger gripper force be required, then this can be achieved using Schunk Co Act JL1 gripper. This gripper works collaboratively, but during the last 2 mm of stroke, the power is boosted to allow for large gripping forces.

 

Vacuum

Vacuum tooling shares the same simple integration as the grippers. The advantage of the electric vacuum is that it generates its own vacuum, so no need for an external air supply. Traditional vacuum using pneumatic can also easily be installed if the applications require this. The OnRobot VG10 also has dual gripping fictionality, which provides shorter cycle times.

 

Vision Systems

Vision systems have come a long way over the years. For collaborative robots, the On Robot vision system seamlessly integrates with the UR cobot range with fast programming and one picture calibration. These types of vision systems are very simple but may have limitations when it comes to using vision for inspection. This does not limit a cobot application from carrying out a more precise inspection. This can be achieved by integrating vision systems from companies such as Keyence. (see data sheet in cobot inspections system)

In addition to the above end of arm tooling, there are also adapters to allow for mounting multiple grippers on the cobot. This provides the end-user with a solution that will be faster in operation, as loading and unloading can happen simultaneously. Additional sensing devices can also be added, such as the as On Robots Hex Force/Torque sensor which provides.

  • Flexible sensor extends automation possibilities to processes that weren’t previously possible
  • High-accuracy sensor technology provides 95% better quality in insertion and assembly tasks.
  • Easy programming gets even complex polishing tasks up and running in less than a day.

Quick change over mountings is also readily available, which helps speed up changeovers when redeploying the cobot to another operation.

 

Screwdrivers

For assembly applications, you can easily automate assembly processes with the new intelligent OnRobot Screwdriver for light industrial and collaborative robots. Intelligent error detection and multiple screw size handling will ensure consistent results and reduce your cycle time dramatically.

 

Special Tooling

Although the standard devices mentioned above will probably satisfy 90% of users’ needs, there will come a time when special tooling is required. This can either be bespoke tooling, or special adapters to combine the functionality of standard gripping solutions.

 

 

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