The automotive industry is the most typical industry with high requirements for robot flexibility, especially auto parts. For example, car lamp manufacturers face more and more pressure of production of small batches of multiple types of products. The auto parts manufacturer located in North China has a history of more than 20 years. Its auto lamp products are mainly suitable for various vehicle models, including SUV, trucks, small passenger car and medium and large vehicles. In addition to domestic mainstream models, the manufacturer also takes a large number of export orders, therefore it has high requirements of the timeliness of delivery and consistent quality, hoping to maintain product consistency and to fully inspect products by introducing automation to the productions lines on one hand, and on the other hand hoping to shorten the time it takes to frequently switch to different types of products.
The lamp manufacturer has the annual production capacity of 5 million lamps. Based on different models, the lamp categories are very complicated and the specifications are diverse. The products have 17 series and more than 300 varieties. Before the introduction of collaborative robots, the inspections of vehicle lights are mostly done manually by human workers. With the increase of production capacity and labor cost, the customer has been looking for a suitable non-standard automation solution to replace the workers.
Given that the lamp is an irregular shaped part, the robot is required to move along a complex track during the inspection process, and to complete the inspection of multiple positions with a visual camera. When the batch of products is changed, the robot is required to execute instructions in accordance with the new program to complete the inspection tasks of different workpieces. So robots that are easy to program and easy to use are needed for this type of workstation.
These constraints did not baffle the collaborative robot. Instead, the advantages of these robots are fully realized. ELITE EC66(6kg) collaborative robot is installed on a desktop, and the integrated camera takes photos and inspects the car lights according to the given trajectory. Collaborative robot programming is very simple, can support drag-and-record instruction, or teach pendant interactive programming, so it has a inherent advantage for applications that require a large number of points and complicated trajectories. In addition, ELITE’s 6-joint cooperative robot can achieve ±360° rotation for every single joint. Taking the 6kg cooperative robot as an example, the robot can work in a spherical space with a radius of 914mm, and each inspection surface of the workpiece can be flexibly reached. Engineers do not need to worry about how to avoid the unreachable angles of robot when programming.
In addition, collaborative robots are also capable of flexible production — for the small-batch and multi-variety production modes concerned by customers, collaborative robots can preset programs. When the product batch is changed, the new program can be quickly invoked and the robot can be adjusted quickly to engage in new tasks, which can greatly reduce the time of line change for users. What’s more, cost-effective collaboration robots lower the barriers to automation for users while delivering a return on investment of only 12 months.