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Create the worlds strongest Robot! use Solidworks

7/12-2009~Updating this post with some cool links to see these robots in action

That is FANUC Robotics choice when designing there products, and it is hard to argue that choice when you are looking at there latest 2 products.

M-2000iA/1200 could easy be the nickname of the latest terminator, if you are in need of saving the world, or maybe just handling something really heavy on the shop floor this could become your best friend.

The World Strongest 6 axis Robot
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“The M-2000iA/1200 has the highest payload and the strongest wrist compared to all other electric six-axis robots available today,” said Ian Orr, product manager, FANUC Robotics. “It can support a 1350 kg payload with a 0.6 m offset from the faceplate and full articulated motion at the wrist. One M-2000iA/1200 robot can handle a super heavy part, which previously required dual robots, conveyors, lifts and other fixed automation.”
Update : Video of M-2000iA/1200

M-1iA Just to show the diversity of FANUC Robotic product line the 2nd release is called M-1iA, a lightweight robot designed for small part handling, high-speed picking and assembly applications.
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“Assembly customers require higher speeds and accuracy to meet their production goals,” said Nishant Jhaveri, product manager, FANUC Robotics America, Inc. “The M-1iA’s flexibility and speed far exceed the capabilities of other vertically-articulated or SCARA-type robots.”
Update : Video of M-1iA

Feeling the itch of learning more about robots? check out the recent theme week on cadcamstuff.com: When you should make room for robots

#4 Mastercam turns robotic with RobotMaster

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Did you read the so informative post leading up to this one? if not here they are. #1 When you should make room for robots, #2 Fanuc Robotics Your Partner on the shop floor and #3 RobotWorks turns SW into a Robotic remote control

Welcome to RobotMaster, kinda like doubling the power of you CAD/CAM package.

So the talk yesterday was about controlling you robot inside Solidworks with the add-on RobotWorks, a delicious package for you CAD Software.
Today we are talking RobotMaster and Mastercam, the idea is the same, however most likely Mastercam users are going to feel more comfortable with RobotMaster, from the perspective that it is closer to a everyday task of programming a CNC machine.

Update July 15-2009
Check out this cool yourtube skull being done with RobotMaster Robot Skull

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So if you are familiar to Mastercam I dare to say that the above screen shot isn’t scary, it looks like Mastercam, it smells like Mastercam. After the user have created the curves and lines the Robot is to follow, RobotMaster module lets you pull in from a library the robot definition , it is something similar to known “machine group” in the standard Mastercam.
On the right side of the screen shot you see the RobotMaster Simulation control box, this are to check the robot motion, and display it differently, look at different joint angles, collisions etc. When everything is all fine tuned, much as in your normal Mastercam you will run it through a post processor that will give you the necessary code.
Tyler Robertson of In-House Solution, a Mastercam and RoboMaster reseller gave some great pointers in regards to things that should be considered when entering the world of robots and robot software.

*The most important questions will depend on the application of the robot(s), Automation is usually an engineered design for a complete system, designed to accomplish a specific task, and most companies will need to establish their own criteria for success which would then be agreed upon by each party when developing a solution for someone. There are some general questions people might find themselves asking:
– Are they the sole supplier of the system, or are they providing a solution from multiple partners
– Are there other companies currently using this type of Automation?
– What type of training would be required to use the system
– What is the support plan like?
– Can the system grow as business expands? How flexible/reconfigurable is the equipment/process?
– Are there secondary operations the system could be utilized for, should needs change?

For anyone starting fresh with robotics, a great starting reference is Industrial Robots by Andrew Glaser, National Sales manager for robot integrator Ellison Technologies Automation (http://new.industrialpress.com/9780831133580)

If you have read #1 through #4 of this robot theme week, I think you can start dragging the red thread through each advice recieved, and you have to be a little more comfortable entering the world of robots now.

RobotMaster supports all major robotic manufactures and that of course include our friend from post blog #2 Fanuc Robotics Your Partner on the shop floor
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Tyler Robertson had this to add.

*Robotmaster has default post processors to generate code for Fanuc, ABB, Kuka, Motoman and Staubli robots, and we work with our users on an install to has their post processors integrated with their required customizations, and provide access to further customize their code output should need arise. What Robotmaster has to offer is a system built on an industry standard software (Mastercam) that can be used to program robot trajectories for a variety of popular robot brands. Even in small companies, there is often some form of CAD/CAM software, so using Robotmaster can leverage the existing knowledge of people in industry, and provide them with a common interface to manage their robot programming operations. The programs generated using Robotmaster are ready to be loaded straight to the robot control.

The advantage of using robots is clear for many applications, Robotmaster helps you program your robot to do some very complicated task. beneath is a picture of a skateboard being sanded, an application that by human hand never would have same consistency outcome as a robot, do I dare to say the robot does a better job……..yes I do.
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click here to see a skateboard being 6 axis sanded, like a symphony of moves.

What about the support and maintenance?
Tyler Robertson:
*Robotmaster works through a network of resellers and integrators both in the Americas and internationally. We work with our resellers to provide support via phone, internet and local site support. Many of our resellers have been involved in CAD/CAM software and support for decades and have been providing local support for their customer base.

Conclusion
It is fair to say that RobotMaster fits nicely into the Mastercam interface, and with that add-on you just took your work cell to the next level. One of the major Mastercam reseller In-House Solution who also hosts Mastercams forum has a very informative website for you to exploere.
I will like to thank Tyler Robertson of In-House Solution for answering all my questions.

If you are reading this, and are looking for the beginning of Robot Week go here #1 When you should make room for robots

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Robot Theme Week on cadcamstuff.com has ended
3 great companies who seems to be able to get the job done. I again will like to thank Cathy Powell of Fanuc Robotics, Kevin Nelson from Blue Technik, Nathan Naveh of Compucraft, Ltd. and Tyler Robertson of In-House Solution for answering all my questions.
If you have any experience and advice on the field of Robotics I encourage you to leave comments, let the knowledge flow free.

#2 Fanuc Robotics Your Partner on the shop floor

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Did you read the 1st post of the robotic theme week? if not here it is #1 When you should make room for robots

When introducing robotics into your shop your goal is to take full advantage of automation and the repeatability these things can provide. Lets be honest, we want this thing to run “lights out” every day, 7 days a week if possible. To do the job right the most important thing is of course the robot itself.
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Fanuc Robotics is one of the heavyweights that should be among the top on your list of when consider a brand. With over 200,000 installed robots worldwide you know that this is a well established company. The world of robotics is not a field where you foul around, and a lot of the big companies have already done the ground work for you by showing you what brand they use.

So again the question where do you start?
If you are a small shop buying your equipment up to this point, it might just been a path of necessity from a costumer demand, but making the jump to use robotics is about changing a mindset, about taking your shop to the next level. With 33 different robot categories and with some of them containing up to 9 different types you mouth quickly gets dry trying to figure out what you need and how to single out possible candidates for your specific job.

When I asked Cathy Powell from Fanuc Robotics this questions her answer made me realize that as a costumer there is no reason to panic, because there is people out there that can explain and make you understand what fit your situation best.

* As the field of robotics rapidly advances, some manufacturers may not be aware of the value provided by robotics. The following list explains several reasons for companies to consider robots for their manufacturing operations:

1.Loosely located parts can be handled: An increasing number of systems are using 2D vision as an alternative to expensive fixtures. Some robot controllers even have vision systems as a standard option without the need for an external PC.

2.Large parts can be handled: The maximum payload that a robot can handle continues to rise with some robots able to handle over 1300 kg!

3.Large work envelopes are no problem: For many years robots have been placed on linear slides to increase the working range. Now robots can be placed on overhead rails that only require columns every 10 meters. This allows the plant work area to remain largely open while still allowing rail travel of up to 70 meters.

4.ROI measures need to be updated: Many plants still use a “double standard” for capital equipment ROI. Certain capital, like machine tools, use “useful life” calculations while automation and robots still use short paybacks, like one year. This results in the under-utilization of a very reliable piece of equipment with a life of 7 to 10 years, and the flexibility to be re-applied.

5.Bin picking is now possible: The use of 3D vision allows robots to pick parts directly from a bin, particularly parts that have some rough orientation, such as being stacked.

8.Higher cycle times are possible: Each new robot and controller design results in products that have higher speeds. When making expansion plans, check on the cycle times possible with the newest generation of robots.

9.Robots can compete with fixed automation: Robots have the payload and speed to compete with fixed automation and offer two key advantages. The first is increased reliability, which results in higher plant yields. The second is flexibility to handle future products, which protects your investment.

10.Benefits exceed labor savings: While first time robot users typically justify an application on labor savings, there are the added savings of increased productivity and improved quality.

11.Assembly tasks can be performed: The use of six degrees of freedom force sensors means that robots can perform assembly tasks with larger 3D parts that were not previously possible.

Don’t you feel better now? yeah I know………..it is not confusion circulation in you brain right now, but ideas about how you can use this technology.

Now if you made it this far in this article I know that back in your head the $ is spinning, and of course you get what you pay for. Robotic Automation cost money but remember this is a serious industry, companies like Fanuc Robotics will work close with you to streamline and customize to your specific needs. Even the government is willing to do there part Stimulus save on robots in 2009

As a shop floor supervisor one of my big personal concerns are service. You are picturing this thing running like a race car, doing what ever magic it can do, but you also know that at a point the darn thing need maintenance or even a wrench to it, and my machining centers always breaks Friday at 5pm, you know what I talk about!
Again, choosing a well established company like Fanuc gives you a advantage, they got people and when I directed my concern torch Cathy Powell from Fanuc Robotics, she once more made my pulse drop under 120.

FANUC Robotics Support Staff:

* The FANUC Robotics Technical Support Group is available 24/7/365. Our average years of true FANUC Robotics experience is 18.8 years amongst the 12 staffed specialists. So, all customers are serviced by a highly qualified specialist with many years of advanced technical knowledge and experience with every phone call. Along with the years of experience, management carefully reviews the different skill sets of each specialist and compares that to the types of technical calls coming in. We coordinate staffing and training based on the types of technical calls we receive. We have automated call routing to the most skilled Technical Support Specialist based on the customer’s robot type and application use. All specialists are trained and qualified to answer all basic questions across all robot platforms. However, we have dedicated “All Stars” for each robot product type & product application. The “All Stars” are the go-to specialists amongst the group for advanced questions.

Service Locations:

* The FANUC Robotics Service Group is also available 24/7/365. We dispatch the nearest engineer based on product knowledge and troubleshooting skills. We have19 FRA Servicing Engineers with an average of 10+ years experience. We also have 50+ Service Installation Engineers located across the U.S. All Service Engineers can login remotely to assist Technical Support questions when not dispatched. Service utilizes a web-based scheduling system called Workforce Manager to track service calls, engineer progress and, most importantly, availability for the next customer service request. On a continuous basis, management tracks service requests by geographic location to ensure all areas of the U.S. are serviced in a timely and economical manner. There are 13 remote service engineers spread across the U.S. and they are strategically located in the densest areas of our customer base and previous service requests. We also have 16 Servicing Integrator partners with at least 3 qualified service engineers that are certified by FANUC to perform robot service work.
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So its installed, now what?
It has been bolted to the floor or hanging from the ceiling, now we need some movement.
Small shops can have a very hard time justifying sending one of there key team members away on a expensive training trip across country, but luckily Fanuc Robotic is a company with the desire to be part of the modern world and they offer online training. Now the operator can do the training when it best suits the company, and when questioning Cathy Powell about there training program and the difficulty creating something like that, you kinda get the idea the efforts Fanuc Robotics have made.
Fanuc Robotics America has invested a vast amount of hours into developing our eLearn offerings to provide the best possible web based learning experience. Customer feedback about their experience taking our eLearn training indicates that these courses to be a valuable learning tool. We have trained over 1,650 students since beginning the program. Each course contains interactive features developed with the use of our sophisticated 3D offline robot simulation software. This allows us to provide highly technical training to customers that are unable to attend a live class. Courses are self paced and modular in design to allow our customers to be trained at their own convenience. Our customers have found this training to be a great learning tool

My conclusion is that Fanuc Robotic seems like everything you could wish for in regards to shopping for Robots, a company with good solid customer service and know how that would be beneficial to any new robot buyer.
I would like to thank Cathy Powell of Fanuc Robotics for her assistance and patience answering my questions.

Tomorrow we are going to cut that Solidworks screen open and drag RobotWorks out in the light. Hope you are in for the ride.

Tomoeeow is now, RobotWorks, Solidworks and Robots

#1 When you should make room for robots

With a new Star Trek movie out and a lot of talk about “cloud” computing you got to feel that the future is chasing you down a dark alley in a way like only the new Terminator can. The future is about new things, so that is what we also are going to do on cadcamstuff.com
We welcome you to Theme Week!
So hold on to your socks, for the next 4 days you are going to get a doze of robots attacking you from different sides.
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We have all seen the the symphony of industrial robots welding cars on TV, a musical that lately have become very silent.
Saying the phrase “mama and papa shop”, and then throw in the word Robots and some people will lift an eye brow.
There was a time when that kinda shops where for making custom garden gates and welding up exhaust pipes, but more and more of those types of shops turned into high tech manufacturing facilities using the same machines and software as big league companies like Boeing and Ford Motor company.

Should mama and papa consider robots as there next step on the ladder? the answer is absolutely not to eliminate jobs necessarily, but to increase work flow in a high tech world.

So where do you start?
The following 3 days on cadcamstuff.com are dedicated in the name of Robotics, and each day will introduce a kick of robot power.

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Fanuc Robotics
A leading supplier of robotic automation with over 200,000 robots installed worldwide, oh and yes they use Solidworks!

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RobotWorks
Stuffed right inside your Solidworks screen, making your favorite design software into a robot controlling device.

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RobotMaster
To load or handle the product after you programed your CNC monster, no worries with this program Mastercam made full circle.

So when to consider these monsters?
From machining, welding, deburing, moving, loading/unloading, painting, scanning, assembling, anything that have the task of repeatability in it would most likely possible with Robotic power.
Does it sound like something very complicated and expensive adventure, well for a little inspiration check out Fanuc Robotics, Robotworks, RobotMaster. Hey evenebay or maybe read a couple of topics on Robot-Forum and then of course subscribe to this pages RSS feed and follow a long for the theme week on Robots on cadcamstuff.com

So make sure you set that alarm clock for tomorrow, because you will get your cup of coffee served with a bright crunchy piece off yellow Fanuc robot.

If you are awake now click #2 Fanuc Robotics Your Partner on the shop floor