ABB Robotics

IMTS 2012: Robots for High-Performance Manufacturing

Aug. 27, 2012
Fast, accurate multifunction machining tended by a robot Four-robot coordinated production cell Small-footprint, robot-tended turning cell

ABB Robotics will feature a distinctive series of robotic automation demonstrations at IMTS to highlight products, systems and technology designed that will increase manufacturing productivity for operations of varying sizes and needs

Okuma machining cell tended by IRB 2600 —A machining cell featuring an ABB IRB 2600 robot with a Schunk pneumatic, three-finger centric gripper tending an Okuma Genos L200E-M lathe will demonstrate a multifunction machining unit with a horizontal way system suited for a variety of parts up to 7.87 in. in diameter and 14.96 in. in length. The simulation shows the speed and accuracy with which the robot moves a small pre-machined valve body in and out of the machining center.

Enabled by ABB’s IRC5 Controller with QuickMove technology, the IRB 2600 completes the process up to 30% faster than comparable competitive robot models. ABB recently joined the Okuma Partners in THINC, a collaborative network for solving problems and exploring productivity ideas for metalcutting and manufacturing.

ABB and Okuma recently designed a software package to integrate the programming and controls of a robot in combination with a machine tool, delivering a more seamless interface for the system operator. The PC application allows the operator to control the entire system through one common user platform.

Four-robot simulated production cell —A simulated production cell will be comprised of four ABB robots of differing sizes, reaches and payloads, and highlighting the accurate coordination of complex motion patterns the MultiMove function of ABB’s IRC5 controller enables. Using a single controller, the MultiMove standard programming instructions move the robots in fully coordinated motion to collaboratively work on the same part or within the same manufacturing process. MultiMove also allows the robots to move independently of each other or in subgroups of any combination.  The agility and accuracy of the robots is enhanced by ABB’s Absolute Accuracy option which bridges the gap between the virtual robots in system simulation programs like ABB’s RobotStudio and real robots on the factory floor.  Enhanced accuracy is achieved by calibrating the robot arm to compensate for the natural deflection that comes with payload and motion variables. This is especially valuable for high-performance applications like laser cutting or precise movements using vision technology and, multiple robots moving together.

The fully enclosed cell includes the following robots:

•  An IRB 4600 60-kg (payload)/2.05-mm (reach) handling a large part

•  An IRB 120 3-kg/0.6-mm carrying a small subcomponent to the main assembly

•  An IRB 2600 12-kg/1.65-mm with a Binzel welding torch and a Meta vision laser sensorusing Ethernet communication with the robot. Meta manufactures laser vision systems for welding applications.

•  An IRB 140 6-kg/0.8-mm searching for a part with a 1D laser sensor. 1D laser sensing is a next-generation technology designed for fast, accurate and reliable edge, joint and part detection.

Haas CNC cell tended by an IRB 4600 robot —A machining cell with an ABB IRB 4600 tending a Hass SL-10 CNC lathe, a small footprint turning center with a healthy 14-in. length x 14-in. diameter maximum capacity. With an SAS Automation vacuum gripper the IRB 4600 picks raw material from a feeder and loads the lathe after removing a completed aluminum “coin” from the chuck. Compressed air is used to blow off coolant and machining chips during the transfer process. Then, the finished parts are dropped off on a chute for additional processing or packaging. 

The cell, which is also enclosed in ABB Jokab Safety fencing, demonstrates how an ABB robot featuring ABB’s RobotStudio Machine Tending PowerPac software can significantly improve cycle time and product quality.

“Robotic automation is at the forefront of the lean technologies manufacturers have embraced to increase productivity and gain a competitive advantage,” stated John Bubnikovich, executive director, marketing and business development, ABB Robotics. “Our IMTS demos highlight a range of emerging ABB robotic technologies, from entry level, almost turn-key systems for smaller companies to more intricate, highly engineered systems for larger operations.”

About the Author

Robert Brooks | Content Director

Robert Brooks has been a business-to-business reporter, writer, editor, and columnist for more than 20 years, specializing in the primary metal and basic manufacturing industries. His work has covered a wide range of topics, including process technology, resource development, material selection, product design, workforce development, and industrial market strategies, among others. Currently, he specializes in subjects related to metal component and product design, development, and manufacturing — including castings, forgings, machined parts, and fabrications.

Brooks is a graduate of Kenyon College (B.A. English, Political Science) and Emory University (M.A. English.)