|SAS Automation end-of-arm press tooling |
North American robotics companies reported that new orders sold to North American manufacturers fell 17 percent in the first quarter of 2008 from the same quarter in 2007, while revenue rose 5 percent. Orders to non-automotive companies surged, an encouraging sign for future robotics growth, the Robotics Industries Association (RIA ) said. The association is the industry’s trade group.
North American-based robotics companies sold 3,828 robots valued at $288.1 million in the first quarter of this year, the Robotics Industries Association reported. With sales to companies outside North America included, the totals are 4,281 robots valued at $311.3 million, a decline of 15 percent in units but a 6 percent gain in revenue.
“Assembly and material handling applications showed gains because many of these application are extensively used in non-automotive industries,” Jeffrey Burnstein, executive vice president of the Robotics Industries Association, said.
Precise Automation Inc. (www.preciseautomation.com), an automation products developer, has been awarded U.S. Patent 7,343,684 for its traction drive.
This zero-backlash drive, currently used in the company’s 3-axis and 4-axis PrecisePlace Cartesian robots, provides linear motor repeatability and smoothness at a fraction of the cost.
The traction drive system lets PrecisePlace robots operate more quietly than with ballscrews and with much greater repeatability than with belt drives but at a comparable cost. Combined with Precise Automation’s motion controller and machine vision software, PrecisePlace robots require no external controller cabinets and are designed to be easy to set up.
End-of-arm press tooling
The importance of robotic end-of-arm tooling (EOAT ) cannot be overstated when it comes to metal handling. The tool plays a significant role to ensure exact repeatable blank transfer and placement inand- out of a press.
The slim design of SAS Automation’s (www.sasautomation.com) Metal Press Tending end-of-arm tooling offers a heavyduty, quick-change chuck to accommodate minimal daylight in presses, while eliminating down time and adjusting to handle multiple size blanks. The tooling can use heavy-duty vacuum grippers, mechanical grippers and magnetic grippers.
U-joints accommodate misalignment
Curtis Universal (www.curtisuniversal.com) designed its block-and-pin universal joints to handle misalignment as high as 35 degrees while safely accommodating gross overloads for applications such as pumps, conveyors, compactors, power screws and orbital motion devices. In addition, by incorporating a movable shaft into the joint’s design, Curtis has produced a joint that enables freedom of movement for either the load or drive along the shaft.
Mack Corp. (www.mackcorp.com) offers a comprehensive line of hydraulic and pneumatic linear actuators that the company customizes to fit specific applications in modern jigs, fixtures, general-purpose tooling and other forms of dedicated automation.