In this case, our client located in South China is a leading professional organization providing testing services to manufacturers of bathroom and home appliance components. In recent years, to improve service quality and work efficiency, the client has introduced automated equipment and robots to establish an efficient, flexible and reliable testing process and work mechanism.
Prior to deploying the cobots, the client had already introduced automation equipment to replace manual work in the product life testing section. The original intention of introducing automation equipment was to downsize staff and increase efficiency – fatigue and manual errors can pose a risk to both safety and product yield during the testing process. Therefore, the client has always focused on “using equipment or machine to replace staff” in some low value-added work stations. The goal is to constantly improve the efficiency, flexibility and reliability of inspection and services.
As the level of automation increases, the client found that some processes needed to be automated and upgraded. For example, the client once designed a mechanism for the switch testing station: a three-axis device was built with a motor and a module, which was used with a manipulator to pick, place and test the workpiece. However, the manipulator needed to move the workpiece to a certain position to test the top, but the rotation path of the top handle is a curved arc. Therefore, the structure of a single motor and manipulator cannot solve all these problems, and it is difficult to meet the demands of users in actual use.
Finally, the integrator recommended a cobot with flexible grippers. With flexible joints and compact shape, these products can work with operator without safety fences to separate existing workstations, and can be installed in multi-angle in limited spaces. In particular, compared with traditional industrial robots, cobots can be easily programmed. It is a plus point for the clients – as a professional testing facility, they needed flexible equipment to meet their multi-category testing needs.
Thus, the EC66 (6kg load) cobot solves all three existing problems for the client: first, the problem of curved rotation. Each joint of the 6-joint cobot supports ±360° rotation, which is basically equivalent to working in a spherical space with no dead space. Given this, engineers do not need to bother much about the accessibility when programming. Second, point positions can be quickly edited on the cobot by simple dragging and dropping. The motion trajectory is smooth, so the robot can execute switching fluently like an operator. Third, the robot can be easily programmed, disassembled and flexibly deployed to different locations, so it can satisfy the requirements of small batch, multi-species and quick change. Users can program, debug and operate the robot in a much easier way.
“Conducting one switch test takes 3 seconds, for a single sample, we need to test it for 100,000 times. Such work surely cannot be done by human hands.” says the client. “Machine replaces human” has become a major trend in factory automation upgrades. Only by choosing the right robot solution as per specific scenarios can the advantages of different robots be fully leveraged. As cobots technology continues to develop and cobots are deployed in a wider scenario, automation is no longer just tied to standardized products and mass production. “Automated production lines can also produce and inspect a variety of customized products in small batches. We are very confident for the future of Elite robots.”