Intelligent Robotic Handling, Degating, and Deflashing, too

June 22, 2005
The F-200iB parallel-link robot is engineered for applications requiring extreme rigidity and exceptional repeatablity.

Among the notable attractions at Cast Expo in St. Louis in April was a demonstration of “intelligent” material handling, degating, and deflashing of castings by FANUC Robotics America Inc. The exhibit featured the company’s new M-900iA/350 robot transferring automotive engine blocks from an overhead conveyor into finishing operations.

The robot was equipped with the V-500iA/3DL 3-D vision technology, and optional IP66/67 harsh-environment protection package. FANUC presented the casting to a floor-mounted chisel to simulate hole chiseling and rough deflashing. The robot then transferred the part to two F-200iB pedestal robots that simulated final deflashing.

FANUC Robotics America, Inc. a subsidiary of FANUC Ltd in Japan, designs, engineers, and manufactures industrial robots and robotic systems.

The new M-900iA series is available in three payload categories: 260 kg long arm, 350 kg and 600 kg. The F-200iB is a parallel link, servo-driven robot with six degrees of freedom and a 100-kg payload. FANUC machine vision systems are available in 2-D, 3-D, 2-D tracking, and 3-D laser assisted configurations.

“Capital equipment utilization is key to a company’s productivity,” said Nishant Jhaveri, FANUC Robotics’ product manager, load/unload segment. “The M-900iA’s reach and lifting power make it an ideal solution for companies looking to maximize their competitive position by increasing productivity and reducing manufacturing costs.”

According to FANUC officials, the M-900iA/350 and M-900iA/260 Long Arm offer substantial improvements over previous models. Since the robots do not require spring or weight counterbalance, they can be mounted on the floor or inverted from the ceiling. A small footprint helps reduce floor space and ceiling height requirements, a significant advantage for tight production areas.

The six-axes, articulated M-900iA/350 robot provides a 2.65-meter horizontal reach and 350-kg payload capacity. The six-axes, articulated M-900iA/260 Long Arm provides a 3.1-meter horizontal reach and a 260-kg payload. Both robots are said to offer “best in class” wrist capacity and axis speeds, which translate into more flexibility for tooling design and material handling of large and heavy castings.

A companion model is the new M-900iA/600, an ultra-heavy-duty material handling robot with a 2.83-meter horizontal reach and 600-kg payload capacity. It is capable of handling very large and heavy parts, such as sand core packages, engine blocks, and cast powertrain components in applications like machine tending, part transfer, and other handling tasks.

“The impressive 600-kg payload of the M-900iA/600 creates opportunities in application areas where robots have never been applied,” claimed Jhaveri. “The M-900iA/600 will help reduce manual labor costs and diminish the need for expensive fixed and custom automation equipment like gantries, hydraulics, chains and saddle devices.”

“The bottom line is enhanced productivity with significant cost savings,” Jhaveri added.

All three robots use the latest R-J3iB Controller, which features fast processing speeds, a high level of memory, I/O handshaking and communication, remote diagnostics and user-friendly integration of other peripherals, vision, and factory floor networking.

Parallel-Link Robot — The F-200iB parallel-link robot is engineered for applications requiring extreme rigidity and exceptional repeatability. The superior rigidity and payload of the F-200iB makes it well suited for the rigors of heavy-duty deflashing, drilling and hole cutting. It is capable of significantly higher feed rates versus a serial-link robot, with up to 200 mm/second for deflashing aluminum castings and up to 35 mm/second for hole cutting of 3 mm thick cold-rolled sheet steel. The increased accuracy is due to less robot deflection versus a serial link robot, increased tool life due to less vibration and tool chatter, and can include semiautomatic or fully automatic tool change.

Machine Vision — FANUC Robotics’ V-500iA series of PC-based machine vision products provides “intelligence” to robotic systems that require a high degree of adaptability and flexibility. For example, they provide precise object location and orientation data to accommodate a wide range of 2-D and 3-D robot guidance applications. The vision software also provides a variety of part identification, inspection, and measurement tools that handle many other common machine vision tasks. A graphical user interface is standard in each package, which simplifies system setup and operation. High-speed, built-in Ethernet communication is included.