April 22nd, 2016
Since we became a Universal Robots distributor 3 years ago, that has all changed.
Here are a few examples of what’s changed that come to mind (including video quality!):
- The first UR video we ever made, where I taught our new marketing guy how to program a pick and place application on the fly after only having learned how to program the robot minutes earlier from our Application Specialist.
- Or when we had the opportunity to set up a UR10 on the floor of the NASDAQ minutes before we were scheduled to “Push the Button” and ring the floor bell celebrating the launch of the RoboStox ETF.
- Or when one of our Account Manager’s show up at a customer to do a demo, but end up showing the customer how the robot will automate their process by actually doing it right then.
The game has changed in a significant way and we do this on a regular basis now, including improved videography!
So why should this matter to anyone other than the Automation Account Manager? The same reasons that make doing a custom demo on the fly possible are the same key selling points for anyone looking to implement new automation.
The Universal Robots System Is Easy to Learn
One the most frustrating experiences for someone who is given a new motion or robotic solution to master is how long it can take just to get from setup and configuration to being able to see motion, much less have the application running. UR’s polyscope interface makes it so virtually anyone can program a precision pick and place application within minutes (with logic and I/O interaction). Although we encourage our customers to get official training on the solution, it isn’t unusual for many with basic applications to have their solution up and running within hours of unpacking the robot without any more than brief introduction to the technology.
Universal Robots Are Safer To Use
Yes, you absolutely have to do a risk assessment with Universal Robots, just like any other Force Limited Robot, and the new ISO/TX15066 presents some very good guidelines that should be followed. However, for the right application, you can use a Force Limited Robot cage free and that is truly a beautiful thing (for an engineer at least). The implications of this for many manufacturers is huge. Imagine being able to add robotic automation to an existing process without moving or changing the production line. Or not taking up additional floor space with empty Safety Cages! Or allowing operators to interact with industrial automation, so it can improve their productivity and value. All of these scenarios are freedoms rarely experienced before now.
Universal Robots Provide Flexibility In Their Implementation
True automation flexibility is being able to retask a robot on fly. Just pick it up and move it. Not only is this a game changer for adding new automation to a production line, but making modifications to the process as needed – as many times as needed – without having to have an Automation Engineer on call…certainly wasn’t possible in the past.
It has almost become a cliche in the automation world how often a robotic solution is mothballed due to small changes in product being produced (ever noticed how many times the packaging changes on your favorite snack?). Walk through 10 manufacturing facilities that have used traditional industrial robots and I bet that if you look close enough, you will find at least five of those facilities have a robot stuck in a corner because the production requirement went away or the cost to maintain the solution became too much of burden.
With Universal Robots’ solution, changing a waypoint or logic statement can be done in minutes – many times seconds – and even if the production goes away, or you find yourself in a low volume/high mix situation, you can easily split the robots use between a number of locations. Just pick it up and move it. Imagine leveraging your automation assets exactly where it will give you the highest return on investment at any given time, not just based on where it is bolted to the floor. That’s powerful.
So yes, technology like Universal Robots Six Axis robot solutions have made the life of an Automation Account manager easier, but the real benefit is for the user of this technology. It benefits the SME who has simple machine tending applications, where they can let the robot run parts at night vs the owner staying after hours. Or it can benefit a major automotive manufacturer that has numerous places where a robot can be used to perform ergonomically challenging applications, while the operator focuses on quality control and throughput.
The true benefit of ease of programming, safe operation, and flexibility of a collaborative robotic (cobot) solution is to our customers who use them.