Application of Cobots: Machine Tending
Published on : Friday 13-01-2023
Machine tending with cobots help in reducing the cost of production process, says Sougandh K M.
Cobots are collaborative robots that have an extended arm and operate in close proximity to humans in a shared space. Cobots are adaptable, functional, and simple-to-use robots. They are small and outfitted with cutting-edge technology like AI and ML to give workers the highest level of safety.
Collaborative robots have made work easier for humans as they share the workload by taking the repetitive tasks from humans so that they can focus on work that requires skill and cognitive thinking. Cobots can help in performing tedious and monotonous tasks like pick and place, sanding and polishing, palletising and depalletising, machine tending, welding and spot welding, screwing, bin picking and soldering.
One of the most popular applications of cobots is machine tending. According to the Global forecast forum, the market for machine-tending robots is anticipated to expand at a CAGR of 7.5% between 2022 to 2030. Automation in manufacturing and industrial applications is the cause of the enormous rising demand for machine-tending robots. Demand is also increasing as a result of the advancing industry 4.0 trends.
What is machine tending?
Machine tending involves loading or unloading a specific machine component with parts or materials. These jobs used to be done by human labourers. The introduction of Computer numerical control (CNC) machines because of technological improvements required people to load and unload the machines by putting raw materials there and taking them away. Since this is a very laborious procedure that demands competence, it is difficult to obtain skilled labour, which raises the entire cost of the operation. The business has begun using robots to carry out these jobs.
Robots that work in robotic machine tending, carry out activities including regularly receiving raw materials and ensuring that the machine generates high-quality parts. These activities of loading and unloading are now performed by robots. These robots contribute to a reduction in process cycle time and an improvement in work efficiency. They enhance the product's quality and carry out their responsibilities precisely.
Machine tending by cobots
Machine tending is often a very tedious and dull process and is considered the most suited job for collaborative robots. Traditional robots are larger in size and require fencing to perform. Whereas cobots have a small footprint and human employees can work very comfortably around cobots without safety concerns.
There are many tasks that fall under the category of machine tending where a worker is required to pick and place the product at a certain place for the machine to work. Machine tending with cobots is used for tasks such as welding, laser cutting, grinding, milling, and turning, injection moulding and compression moulding.
As CNC machines are expensive and must operate continuously, cobots are particularly effective for these procedures. For example, they can load and unload material quickly and effectively without becoming tired. Additionally, cobots are capable of carrying out all or portions of the standard CNC tool process tending tasks such as loading material into the machine, locking the door once it has been activated, opening it when the machining is done, and removing the finished machined item.
Advantages of machine tending
Automating machine tending tasks with cobots also provides important benefits to workers and businesses:
• After risk evaluation, the built-in safety features of cobots obviate the need for caging. Furthermore, cobots reduce the danger of unintentional and repeated accidents by separating people from moving machine components and pinch points.
• As cobots only need to be taught once for each product, process, and machine, they lower the cost of training employees and the overall cost of completed goods. This results in better throughput and more reliable product quality. Lower finished product costs follow from increased throughput.
• Improved speed and processed quality while reducing the risk of injury associated with working in close proximity to heavy machinery as cobots have laser cameras and sensors embedded in them which make them safe.
• Cobots reduce waste since they operate precisely and consistently. Consequently, the likelihood of rejection also declines.
• Reducing labour costs and increasing employee satisfaction are two key advantages of using cobots for machine tending since they relieve workers of tiresome and boring jobs.
Machine tending with cobots helps in reducing the cost of production process as well as improves efficiency and output.
Sougandh K M is Country Manager for India at Universal Robots. With a background in sales and marketing, Sougandh has played a significant role in business development and management. Ranging from automation and robotics to retail and fashion, he has had the opportunity to work in a diverse range of sectors, each significantly contributing to his overall growth and development as a sales and marketing professional. His current role as Sales Development and Support Manager, South Asia involves supporting sales opportunities for the South Asian market of collaborative robots, a unique space which encourages automation that involves Human Robot Collaboration (HRC).