There are many potential benefits of incorporating a robot into production. A robot can help with cost savings, improve quality, alleviate safety concerns, and increase throughput. Throughput can be increased in two different ways. First, with a robot, you don’t rely on the operator to drive the work rate of the cell. With a robot, it runs at the same pace day in and day out. This eliminates the variability the can sometimes exist with human operators. Second, you can shorten the cycle time. But there could potentially be some challenges with this.
The Two-Hand Advantage
Let’s take the most common application we see for the Universal Robot as an example, machine tending. The advantage that a human operator has in a machine tending environment is that they have two arms that can easily maneuver into tight locations. With two arms, a human can remove a part from the machine with one hand and place the next part into the machine with the other all without leaving the work area.
With a typical robot solution, the robot would have to go into the machine to unload the finished part, exit the machine to drop the part on either a staging location or the outgoing drop location, pick up a new part, enter the machine, and drop the unfinished part into the machine. Carrying out the process in this way could potentially lead to an increase in cycle time. The most effective way to remedy this is by utilizing a dual end effector.
Dual End Effectors And Collaborative Robots
A dual end effector, as seen in the image above, allows the robot to carry out the process as a human would. Using “Gripper A,” the robot could remove the finished part from the machine, rotate, and use “Gripper B” to place an unfinished part into the machine. When the robot exits the machine, the machine could begin operation. While the machine is working, the robot would drop off the finished part, pick up another unfinished part, and be waiting at the door for the machine cycle to complete and the process could repeat again and again. In this configuration, gripper fingers could be designed specifically for both the finished and unfinished parts ensuring proper handling of the parts.
If you have any questions about dual end effectors or how they could potentially help at your facility, please contact us and we will be happy to answer any questions you may have.