Cobots Replace Machine Tenders, Box Builders and Assemblers

Universal Robots showed off a trio of collaborative robot applications at this month's Design & Manufacturing Show.

Universal Robots once again impressed with a trio of applications from collaborative robot integrators. The applications shouldn’t be too hard to find now that UR has up to 60 percent of worldwide market share and approximately 31,000 installations.

The first application was a screw driving application from Visumatic. The Kentucky-based company has taken a UR cobot and created the VCM-3X.2 Collaborative Screw Driving Package. Capable of handling multiple screw-driving feeds and routines, the fastening system is designed for machine builders and includes an automatic feeder, a programmable drive system, a skeleton robot program and end effector (the cobot’s hand). Bit position sensors and fastener delivery confirmation also make sure that the operation is repeatable.

Next was XPAK’s ROBOX, a robotic case erecting system. Using a UR10e cobot, the beauty of the ROBOX is that in can put together any size box without changeover. The XPAK uses a multipurpose gripper which picks up the box, takes it to a “flipper” and then a “horn” before it is taped and then dropped. According to William Reilly, technical sales with XPAK, the best part is that the machine could be dropped right in to a manual packline.

The most impressive application was the CNC Communication URCap from Idaho-based VersaBuilt Robotics. The URCap was initially launched to tend Haas CNC machines. It has a pre-packaged interface that can perform any machining program stored on the CNC through the cobot's teach pendant.

According to Truman Lum, regional and OEM sales manager with VersaBuilt, the beauty is that you can essentially automate your Haas at a $400 price point. Lum says that the URCap could help fill the huge need for machine-tending manpower.

Haas has also seen the benefit of swapping out the risk, time and cost associated with the human element. Next, VersaBuilt will develop UR interfaces for other popular CNC machines later this year.

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