Machine tending, typically to load and unload, is a common application that is becoming increasingly difficult for manufacturers to staff economically. As a result, it has become a prime candidate for robotic automation.Robots excel in heavy, repetitive and high-speed tasks, far surpassing humans in their repeatable, reliable performance. They also offer far-reaching opportunities to develop Industry 4.0, 24/7, batch-driven processes that are more flexible and adaptable in future.Seamless integrationAs these opportunities develop, so does the need for robots, machines and other devices like operator controls, door interlocks or laser scanners, to talk to each other seamlessly. At the same time, the consequent system must fully integrate with safety circuits to meet the required industrial standards. That’s simple enough to say, but in practice, it can be difficult to achieve.The collaboration between SICK and FANUC has charted a route to upgrade robot machine tending for injection moulding machines. The challenge presented itself when FANUC looked to develop a side tending robot solution for its ROBOSHOT precision electric injection moulding machine. Surprisingly, from SICK’s perspective, this story is not really about sensors. Instead, SICK has applied its Flexi-Soft safety controller and EFI-PRO module for CIP Safety over EtherNet/IP to chart the way to more streamlined robot integration.
Read the full article in the July issue of PBSI
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