It’s not always easy for managers and engineers to find a common language. Industrial solutions are a complicated topic and it is only natural to feel lost if this subject is new to you. The communication has a crucial role in the cooperation between engineers and their clients, which is why we always strive to inform and educate our clients, in order for them to make the right choice. This is particularly important if you are about to invest in some kind of robotic equipment, whether it is a robotic palletizer or some other modular robotic add-on for your packaging line. Since we want to help you make the right choice, we decided to post this short guide on defining parameters of industrial robots, so that you can gain a better understanding of technical descriptions and specifications of each robotic arm. There are a lot of parameters used to describe the features and possibilities of a robot and here are the most important ones.
- Number of axes or Degrees of freedom: Two axes are needed for a robotic arm to reach any point in a plane. To reach any point in space – three axes are a must. To have the full control of the orientation of the end of the arm, and to enable the wrist rotation, three more axes are required. These additional axes are called yaw, pitch, and roll, and these terms were originally used in aviation. Sometimes, engineers chose to trade the number of axes in exchange for accuracy, speed, and cost. The SCARA robot with 4 axes is an example of that.
- The working envelope refers to the region of space a robot can reach.
- Kinematics refers to the way rigid parts and joints in the robot are put together. This determines the robot’s possible motions. According to kinematics, robots can be classified as articulated, Cartesian, parallel and SCARA robots.
- Carrying capacity or payload refers to how much weight can be lifted by a robot.
- Speed refers to how fast the robot can position the end of its arm. This may be determined in terms of the linear or angular speed of each axis or as the speed of the end of the arm when all axes are in motion.
- Acceleration is a measure connected to how quickly an axis can accelerate. Acceleration can be limited by distance and movement pattern: a robot may not be able to reach its maximum speed on short distances or on complex paths that require frequent changes of direction.
- Accuracy refers to how closely a robot can reach a specified position. This measure is calculated by comparing the actual position of the robot with the commanded position. The error between these two is a measure of accuracy. A vision system, Infra Red, or other external sensors can improve accuracy. The working envelope and a payload can also affect accuracy.
- Repeatability is a measure that refers to how well will the robot return to a programmed position. This is not the same as accuracy. When the robot is told to go to a certain X-Y-Z position, and the robot gets to a position that is one 1 mm away from the required position – that one-millimeter error is the measure of accuracy which can be improved by calibration. But if that position is stored in a robot’s memory and each time when the robot is sent there it returns to within 0.1mm of the required position – then the repeatability will be within 0.1mm.
Repeatability is the main criterion for a robot and it is not the same in different parts of the working envelope. It also changes with the speed and payload. ISO 9283 demands that accuracy and repeatability should be measured at highest speed and at heaviest payload, but these results aren’t the best indicators of robot’s possibilities since the robot could be much more accurate and repeatable at lighter loads and smaller speeds.
- Motion control refers to the level of control required for some tasks. Simple pick-and-place assembly, typical for robotic palletizing, requires for the robot to merely return repeatedly to a limited number of pre-taught positions. For more complex applications, like welding and spray painting, the motion must be constantly controlled.
- Power source: Some robots utilize electric motors, some utilize hydraulic actuators. Electric robots are better in the terms of speed, hydraulic robots are better in term of strength and precision in more complex applications such as spray painting.
- Drive: some robots connect electric motors to the joints via gears; others connect the motor to the joint directly (direct drive). Using gears causes measurable ‘backlash’ (loss of motion in a mechanism caused by gaps between the parts). Smaller robotic arms often work at high speed, low torque DC motors. These motors generally require high gearing ratios which have the disadvantage of backlash. In such cases, the harmonic drive is often used.
- Compliance is a parameter linked to an angle or distance at what robot axis will move when a force is applied to it. Compliance causes that when a robot goes to a position carrying its maximum payload, it’s final position will be slightly lower than the position when it is carrying no payload. Compliance can also be responsible for overshoot when carrying high payloads in which case acceleration would need to be reduced.
We hope you got to know our mechanical friends better. Wisely chosen robotic packaging equipment, acquired from the right manufacturers and integrated by the right experts can bring significant efficiency improvements. To learn more about the way we utilize robots, check out our Tetristack Robotic Palletizers, available in 6 different variations created to respond to your particular needs.
Do you know how much of the electricity you pay on monthly basis is actually utilized to power your industrial and packaging lines? What would you say if we told you it could be less than half? Actually, a great deal of energy is wasted because of the majority of energy escaping through air compressors, old equipment, and other energy hogs.
Sadly, our country wastes more electricity than any other, including China. In 2013, USA had an energy efficiency of just 42 percent, which means that 58 percent of all the energy we produce is wasted.
We at Nortech Packaging are devoted to efficiency, but we are also aware that a good packaging line is just a starting point in increasing efficiency through power savings.
We have prepared six tips to reduce industrial energy expenses in order to make your manufacturing facility and packaging line less expensive to run and more energy efficient.
- Develop an Energy Management Team
Most of the energy and cost-saving initiatives fail because it’s not clear who is responsible to manage power saving activities. To avoid this, try developing a power management team with representatives of each department. You can also offer a bonus for the best energy-saving team. This way, your employees will be motivated to work together, monitor energy usage in the facility and discover ways to reduce waste.
- Strategically Schedule Packaging and Manufacturing Machinery Use
Do you know which packaging machinery uses the most energy to operate? When you find out which one it is, schedule operation of this machine outside of peak hours. Peak hours may be an explanation for up to 30 percent of a manufacturing facilities monthly utility bill.
- Schedule Shut-Downs and Start-Ups
Scheduling shutdowns can be a good way to lower industrial energy cost. During these shutdowns, all machinery is powered off for a length of time (during the weekend or off-shift periods). Before creating a shutdown schedule, you should acquire an insight into peak operational hours. This way you can make a decision on what is the best time for the shutdown. Production floors should also try to stagger manufacturing and packaging equipment start-up because powering up all machinery at once makes a large spike in your energy demand.
- Optimize Air Compressors
Huge amounts of energy waste are caused by industrial air compressors. Is it the poor design? Or maybe improper maintenance? Whatever it is, air compressors account for up to $3.2 billion in wasted energy on yearly basis. Just one leak can cost you $500 annually, or even more. In case of multiple leaks, your air compressors are practically sucking money right out of your operations budget.
- Optimize your HVAC System
HVAC systems are used for maintaining air quality and comfort on a production floor. They also use almost 52 percent of their total energy used in a building. In order to make your HVAC system more efficient, try installing a programmable thermostat: it can reduce consumption by as much as 15%. Another way is to invest in a demand-controlled ventilation (DCV) system, which regulates outdoor air intake based on a facility’s concentration of carbon dioxide due to the number of staff inside. In the end, even the simple repair and insulation of ducting are enough to reduce HVAC energy consumption by 30-percent.
One way to keep your power bills lower is to invest in energy efficient lighting. Consider the location, conditions, and lighting quality you need when installing or replacing commercial lights. Do your research and choose appropriate energy-efficient controls, lamp technology, and other components for a high-performance lighting system.
By increasing energy efficiency you are saving money and taking care of the environment. Good management and the right equipment are crucial for cutting down energy costs. If you think your outdated packaging equipment consumes way too much power, consider investing in a new one. Start here, by checking out Nortech Packaging palletizers, pre-made pouch fill & seal machine, and robotic automation solutions.
We are proud to announce that Nortech Packaging will exhibit at this year’s WestPack show that will take place in Anaheim, CA, from 6th to 8th of February.
As a company devoted to innovations, we are always happy to introduce our latest accomplishments in the field of packaging equipment. You will get the chance to learn more about the utilization of robotics in the packaging industry, but that’s not all. This year we are bringing a special guest: The ROO -100– the world’s new champion in flexible packaging! We believe that this pre-made pouch fill & seal machine will continue to gain a lot of interest, for several reasons: with one touch changeovers, a wide range of bag sizes, decreased downtime and increased efficiency, the patent-pending ROO-100 is set to dominate the space. Not to mention the very competitive price and small footprint.
Changeover for some pouch machines can take hours. With the ROO-100 you can change between pouch sizes in 30 seconds! Besides that, the ROO-100 is the smallest pouch machine on the market and also the most affordable pouch packaging solution. It can be built and integrated with a variety of options and systems according to your specific needs. We invested our knowledge, expertise and years of packaging machine manufacturing experience to build this solution and solve the three most important issues in the packaging industry: time, money and space.
With outdated packaging equipment, every second of downtime and every inch of wasted floor space cost our clients money. Our solution helps solve that and we are coming to West Pack to show it. So, whether you represent a large company, or you are a small start-up manufacturer, visit us at our stand number 5266 and let’s increase your efficiency!