As early as the end of 2016, an auto parts factory in Zhejiang began to consider using robots to replace manual loading and unloading of machine tools. At that time, the factory used manual removal of metal parts from the tray and put them into the machine for processing. After processing, the parts need to be taken out and new materials will be put in. Throughout the entire work process, the action parts completed by the worker are quite simple. All they need to do is to switch between the tray and the equipment and complete the loading and unloading work. From the perspective of the complete production line layout, this station is undoubtedly of low added value, so the factory hopes to realize automation here.
Once the idea of “robot replacing human” was proposed, it won the support of the engineering department. At present, manual operation not only has a certain risk factor as a foolproof design is required to ensure the safety of employees’ bare hands when their hands are contacting the machine tool equipment, In addition, from the perspective of human engineering, workers need to frequently turn around to complete mechanical labor on the tray and machine tool, so they are very vulnerable against emotion fatigue and inefficiency. The factory is gradually realizing that it is becoming increasingly difficult to find people who are willing to do this type of work that does not require thinking. The introduction of robots can solve the above problems, so the next issue we have to solve is how to arrange the robot in a limited space. The existing station can only accommodate one worker. If traditional robots are used to complete the work, the production line layout must be readjusted, which complicates the project. And after the robot is deployed, a safety fence needs to be installed outside this working area.
At an exhibition, the new technology of collaborative robots caught the eye of the factory manager, and the manager reached out to ELITE through the integrator. Collaborative robotic arms can increase the quality and quantity produced by metal and mechanical processing industry manufacturers. The accuracy can reach +/- 0.03mm. When the interface is open, the robot can quickly adapt to various mechanical processes. The robot supports multi-angle installation, including front-mounted, hoisted, and side-mounted. It has a compact structure and only requires 1-1.5 human stations. There is no need to redeploy production lines or install safety fences when the robot is in use. The auto parts factory finally chose ELITE 6kg collaborative robot EC66, and completed the robot introduction in early 2017. So far, no failure has occurred. We are looking forward to the appearance of collaborative robots in more stations in the future.