In this video, we’ll show just how easy it is to configure a Universal Robot for inverted mounting. The 4-hole bolt pattern on the Universal Robot makes mechanical installation extremely simple. You only need a matching hole pattern of threaded holes on a surface stable enough to support the robot/robot movement and your robot is ready to be installed. From a software standpoint, it takes just a few clicks and the robot is up and running. Once you have installed the robot mechanically and configured mounting in the software, simply program the robot as you normally would with the easy to use interface that Universal Robots provides.
Reasons for Inverted Mounting
Probably the most common reason to consider invert mounting is for maximizing the reach of the robot. Invert mounting can be a very effective way to make the most out of your robot’s reach. With a robot mounted traditionally on a pedestal, you can outstretch the arm in one direction to pick parts. But you are limited to only positive or negative X and Y (relative to robot base) unless you intend to stage parts on multiple sides of the robot. This mounting configuration is the most common method used in the industry and if it fits the reach requirement, then it is a great solution.
But by invert mounting the robot over the pick location, oftentimes you drastically increase your reach by allowing the robot to work in (+/-) X and Y. This also allows for easier use of picking from layers of parts as you now have more freedom in the z-axis. However, there are some cons to utilizing this method. The first of which is that sometimes it becomes difficult to design a mounting structure that fits in the work environment and allows for invert mounting. When designing any mounting platform, one must consider not only the weight of the robot but the moment load that will be created by the robot movement.
Additionally, if you attempt to perform a linear move that passes the tool plate directly under the robot base, the robot will likely pass through a ‘singularity” which will cause a fault. However, this challenge is usually overcome by incorporating a joint move to position the robot into a new configuration.
Mounting Inside a Machine or On a Machine
Another option that we see quite often is for a robot to be mounted either inside or on the outside of a machine. This usually means the robot is mounted on a 90-degree angle. Potentially the most important reason to consider this option is that it saves floor space.
In today’s manufacturing environment floor space is limited. Companies look to be as effective as possible in plant layout to make room for more equipment that can increase productivity, keep aisleways clear for pedestrian or forklift traffic, and have enough room for WIP components. By mounting the robot on a machine, you reduce the floor space of the overall solution as there is no longer the need for a pedestal or other mounting structure.
The floor space savings usually do not show up on a Return on Investment calculation, but should definitely play into the decision making process. Mounting onto a machine or work surface also offers another potentially valuable benefit. It effectively increases the reach of the robot. When mounted on a pedestal there is always some sort of standoff distance from the machine. By mounting directly to or in the machine, you can reduce the reach required for the application. In some cases, this has allowed companies to go with a smaller and less expensive unit.
There are some considerations to keep in mind, primarily the structure that you are mounting to. In many cases, the desired mounting location does not have the structural support required to support the robot. This will not eliminate machine mounting as an option but should be taken into consideration as reinforcements may be required to pursue this mounting configuration.
If you intend to mount the robot in the machine, the environment of the machine must also be taken into consideration. Temperature, fluid, etc can impact the longevity of the robot. A Universal Robot is IP54 rated so it does offer some level of protection, but an IP54 rating will not allow it to work in all internal machine environments. In this case, robot sleeves should be evaluated and considered as a potential solution. There are many different varieties and protection levels offered, and if you need help selecting which one would be right for you the team at Cross Company is well versed and will be more than happy to help.
These are just a few of the considerations to keep in mind when evaluating the mounting configuration you would like to implement. If you have any questions about what would fit best for your application or would like to learn more we are here to help. Please feel free to contact us anytime.