The need to address labor shortages and time-to-market pressures is driving increased utilization of robotic automation. More affordable and capable robots are fueling a level of intensity within the manufacturing sector for buying robots, causing robotic automation growth to soar, especially for non-automotive related industries such as life sciences, plastics and metals1.
Furthermore, technical advancements are enabling better quality and improved consistency for mid- to high-volume manufacturing, especially for automotive component production. This, along with innovations for the implementation of gas metal arc welding (GMAW) during the fabrication process, are causing widespread utilization of robotic welding.
With an estimated 250,000 robots installed, the United States is the third highest user of robots in the world2, setting several trends that will be addressed next week from the Yaskawa Motoman booth (C-11414) at FABTECH, November 6-8 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, Georgia.
Growing Use of Affordable Standard Workcells
Job shops to Tier 1 automotive suppliers are moving into the robotic welding space with the implementation of standard robotic workcells. These pre-engineered and cost-effective solutions are proven to produce quality parts with greater speed and efficiency, maximizing uptime and accelerating ROI.
- Come see the highly reliable, simple to customize and easy to install ArcWorld® 1200 welding workcell. Engineered to perfection with a customer-driven design, new standard options and a complete safety environment, this workcell will feature a Motoman® AR1440 arc welding robot, AccuFast™ laser-based seam finding, ComArc LV (low voltage) seam tracking, and a Miller Auto-Continuum™ power source with Insight Centerpoint™ arc data monitoring software. A high-speed turntable (with 355 kg payload capacity per side) offers a dual-station configuration for easy loading and unloading of parts.
Traditional Manual Welding to Robotic Welding Automation
The application of robotics can reduce the manual welding required at many fabricating shops. While many robotic arc welding applications travel at approximately the same speed as a manual welder, a robot can get from one weld to the next at a much faster rate, providing increased arc efficiency and boosting production output.
- Designed specifically for arc welding, Yaskawa’s new AR-series six axis robots will be represented by the Motoman® AR1440 arc welding robot. Featured with the pre-engineered ArcWorld® 1200 welding workcell, the AR1440 offers a slim profile for high-density layouts, a contoured arm for easy access to parts, and optimized acceleration/deceleration control for all robot axes. This robot will be featured with the powerful and compact YRC1000 robot controller with a standard lightweight teach pendant.
Improved Technology for Weld Joint Finding and Tracking
Technology today is more robust and easier to use than ever, and it is enabling the completion of diverse tasks required for difficult weldments. From improved welding process capabilities to enhanced laser sensing, advanced robotic welding solutions are helping manufacturers tackle difficult, dangerous and dirty tasks.
- At the show, the AR1440 robot will be equipped with AccuFast™ laser-based seam finding and ComArc LV (low voltage) seam tracking capability.
Greater Use of Arc Monitoring
Robotic welding consistently applies welds in the same location with the same parameters on every part, making it highly popular in the automotive industry. With automotive OEMs directing suppliers to increase their efforts to document safety critical weld results on a per part basis (for weld failure detection), there is a greater use of arc monitoring data as part of a quality system with robotic welding workcells.
- The ArcWorld® 1200 workcell will feature a fully integrated weld package, including a Miller Auto-Continuum™ power source with Insight Centerpoint™ arc data monitoring software to effectively improve and track weld quality.
Optimized Spot Guns and Spot Welding Robots
As customer demands grow and become more sophisticated, the precision of spot welding technology will continue to play an important role on production output and product quality. Improvements in robot control software are enabling the optimization of servo motor control parameters, and servo motors are now being used to actuate spots guns. A majority of spot gun designs are more lightweight, falling under 100 kg. This has led to a generation of 80 – 110 kg class spot welding robots with smaller footprints and faster speeds.
- A scalable, integrated spot welding system, featuring two robots with different payloads, will demonstrate how multiple robots can be synchronized with a part positioner for high production in a compact footprint. Yaskawa’s new SP-series spot welding robots with exceptionally fast axis speeds and acceleration will be highlighted.
Easier Robot Control
The growing skills gap is contributing to a greater need for industrial and collaborative robots. In turn, this lack of skilled labor is driving manufacturers to find more user-friendly methods of robot control for novice robot programmers.
- Featured with the MotoMini robot, the tablet-style Smart Pendant will be available for a hands-on programming experience. Providing a simple learning curve, the Smart Pendant possesses patented built-in Smart Frame technology, allowing the robot to adapt to the position of the programmer. This eliminates the use of conventional coordinate (X, Y, Z) frames for simplified robot jogging.
Fast, Space Saving Robots and Robot Controllers
From robotic welding to product handling, manufacturers are looking for technologies to simplify processes and optimize production.
- Offering the highest acceleration speeds in a small-size robot, the new lightweight (7 kg) MotoMini is the smallest and lightest six-axis robot in the industry. Ideal for tabletop-, floor-, ceiling- or wall-mount installations, this robot saves valuable floorspace, and it can be mounted close to workpieces and other machinery in existing lines or cells. Extremely agile, the MotoMini can perform a wide variety of applications, like machine tending and small component assembly.
- Building on the success of the powerful YRC1000 controller, the new ultra-compact and lightweight YRC1000micro is the smallest robot controller in its class. Featured with the MotoMini, the YRC1000micro has a space-saving design; it can be installed in a horizontal or vertical position, or within a 19-inch equipment rack.
Shift from Centralized to Distributed Manufacturing
To deal with greater product individualization and shorter product life cycles in an effort to gain competitive edge, companies are rethinking manufacturing strategies to maintain flexible, safe and efficient operations. The shift to using human-robot collaboration (HRC) in Distributed Manufacturing Systems is gaining in popularity, helping companies experience greater flexibility of production processes and lowering supply chain costs.
- The HC10, featuring power and force limiting (PFL) technology, is affordable, safe and easy to use. Its 10-kg payload capacity and 1,200 mm reach enable the HC10 to perform a broad range of tasks. Precision hand-guided teaching allows for fast deployment or redeployment on demand.
Implementation of Data-Driven Optimized Planning
To visualize operations and system health for maximized production, more companies are moving toward data-driven optimized planning, where operational data is delivered in real time for networked production environments.
- All robots on display will be connected to Yaskawa Cockpit™, a new data collection and visualization tool for displaying the status and health of factory devices. This state-of-the-art software architecture helps to increase productivity and assist with life cycle maintenance for robots (and other devices through the extended enterprise), enabling companies to implement data-driven optimized planning for maximum efficiency and throughput.
Growing Need for Vision Guided Robotics (VGR)
Advancements in camera resolution and software tools are prompting decision makers to take a second look at high-quality imaging technologies to deal with unique application requirements. Moreover, VGR utilization helps robots recognize, process and handle parts more efficiently in unpredictable environments, helping to reduce defects and increase yields.
- Come see the next generation of vision technology for bin picking applications with MotoSight™ 3D BinPick. The system on display will use a single 3D camera with integrated lighting to quickly and easily recognize and pick parts randomly placed in bins. 3D CAD matching provides simplified, accurate part registration, allowing the identification of the most complicated parts.
Advancement of Additive Technologies for 3D Printing
As the use of additive manufacturing grows, so does the need for tool sets to overcome machining issues for mainstream production. Fabricators that combine motion control technologies with industrial robotic automation are experiencing the flexibility needed to create factories capable of producing unique products that fulfill complex demands.
- Our sister Division - Yaskawa America, Inc., Drives & Motion - will feature a 3D printer developed in cooperative effort with Titan Robotics. Designed with a strong, rigid framework and Yaskawa servo control, this new printer delivers 3D printing at 350 millimeters per second, setting a dramatically higher standard for additive manufacturing speed. A Yaskawa MP3300iec machine controller achieves the productivity with standard G-code, using an open source GUI for easy customizing of user controls.
Meet Your Advanced Manufacturing Needs!
Our Yaskawa Motoman experts are ready to help you tackle your fabricating and production challenges. Come learn how these powerful robots and innovative technologies can optimize operations, improve quality and reduce costs.
Visitors should also plan to attend Session 11 (Applied Technology) of the 2018 AWS Professional Program (November 7th from 2:20pm – 2:40 pm, in the C101 Auditorium), where Yaskawa Motoman’s Director of Thermal Business Development, Zane Michael, will be speaking about “A New Twist to Financial Payback for a Robotic Welding System.”
To learn more about FABTECH or to register, go here.
1, 2: North American Robotics Market Sets New First Quarter Shipments Record, Robotics Industries Association (RIA), 2018