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Tuesday, February 20, 2024

10 cobots assure ‘simply in time’ manufacture gearboxes

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Gearbox producer SEAT Componentes wanted to automate the unloading of 18,000 machined gears a day at its plant in Spain to ensure the standard of the elements. The corporate built-in 10 collaborative robots from Common Robots utilizing solely inside assets.

This formulation made it potential for SEAT to maintain know-how on cobot configuration in-house, eliminating additional programming and upkeep prices. The do-it-yourself set up was executed with out altering the present manufacturing facility structure, permitting new purposes to be configured in lower than 1 hour.

Because of this, the firm has lowered errors, improved employee security, and now has a workforce ready to tackle new automation tasks.

The enterprise problem

SEAT is a producer of gearboxes for the Volkswagen Group vegetation in Europe, Asia, and America. It provides them for quite a lot of vehicles made by each Volkswagen, Audi, SEAT S.A., and Skoda.

At its plant in Barcelona, Spain, SEAT manufactures gearboxes, starting from the casting of the aluminum to the meeting of the housing, which comprises gears, shafts, synchronizer, and the differential gearbox.

The corporate additionally performs the following high quality management. It’s a very specialised and complicated course of through which high quality and precision are essential to ensure right operation and noise discount of the gearbox.

Unloading the elements and making them out there for the gearbox meeting course of was carried out fully by hand with operators unloading and transporting the elements on trolleys. A course of SEAT wished to automate to cut back errors and enhance security.

“The goal is to make sure that from the machining course of to meeting, the operator touches the half as little as potential,” defined Fonseca, senior supervisor of technical providers at SEAT.

Cobots to the rescue

SEAT’s upkeep workforce primarily based its automation strategy on expertise gained from an earlier venture from 2015 through which it put in UR cobots at its shotblasting and washing stations. The corporate realized that cobots had been simple to put in, keep, and combine with no need security measures resembling fencing primarily based on carried out threat assessments.

Since utilizing cobots simplified and streamlined the shotblasting and washing course of, the workforce beneficial integrating cobots once more to unload elements within the manufacture of gearboxes.

SEAT determined to combine 10 UR10e collaborative robots to hold out the unloading. The corporate might undertake that process with out the providers of an exterior integrator due to its earlier expertise with the cobots. This assured value financial savings each on the time of set up and in future upkeep duties.

Performing the combination of the UR cobots with SEAT’s assets concerned two levels of coaching and preparation. First, the SEAT Componentes Upkeep workforce skilled throughout the firm, beginning with the free UR Academy on-line coaching modules.

Second, the workforce carried out a pilot venture through which it built-in an preliminary cobot.

SEAT Componentes UR cobots
UR collaborative robots at SEAT Componentes. Supply: Common Robots

Cobots provide small footprint and ease of use

Throughout this pilot check, SEAT studied the prices and implementation intervals of a collaborative robotic, the protection necessities that the expertise required, and the technical feasibility of the operation.

The cobots handed the check.

“We determined to make use of robots from Common Robots attributable to their simple programming and integration within the line, and above all due to their low footprint,” stated Francisco Pérez of the SEAT Componentes Upkeep Technical Workplace. “We had been capable of set up them with out altering the present layouts, permitting the robots to work alongside the operator.

Cobots aid in the gearbox manufacturing process. Source: Universal Robots
Cobots support within the gearbox manufacturing course of. Supply: Common Robots

No fastened installations

The UR10e cobots presently serve 10 totally different machining strains. They aren’t fastened installations, however they will simply be tailored to mannequin adjustments.

“In lower than 10 minutes, we are able to adapt a cobot to switch from unloading one half to a totally totally different part,” Francisco Pérez identified.

UR robot arms transfer parts.
UR robotic arms switch elements. Supply: Common Robots

Elevated machine uptime

Utilizing the PROFINET protocol, the cobot communicates with the PLC and receives directions as to when there are already machined items in order that it may well carry out the associated operation. When that’s the case, the cobot unloads the elements onto trays.

As soon as the tray is full, the PLC communicates with the autonomous cell robots (AMRs) to take away the total tray and insert a brand new one, thereby minimizing machine stoppages.

The programmable logic controller communicates with AMRs. Source: Universal Robots
The programmable logic controller communicates with AMRs. Supply: Common Robots

Simply-in-time manufacturing eliminates surplus inventory

The AMR transports the elements to a warehouse that’s stuffed simply in time based on manufacturing wants, avoiding surplus inventory and the prices these entail. Having reached this level, all the pieces is now prepared for the gearbox meeting line: The gears are positioned on a particular meeting tray, and thru a sequence of automated operations, the remaining gearbox elements are hooked up.

Inside this synchronized course of, the cobot complies with SEAT’s cycle instances to realize the plant’s each day manufacturing objectives.

The UR cobot positions gears on a special tray. Source: Universal Robot
The UR cobot positions SEAT gears on a particular tray. Supply: Common Robots

Cobot No. 11 used for testing and validation

A further eleventh UR10e has joined the cobot fleet on the SEAT plant. This robotic arm is meant for in-house coaching and is mounted on a cell platform to get near machines and work facilities.

The UR10e permits operators to familiarize themselves with programming collaborative robots. Moreover, it permits idea checks and validations of latest installations to be carried out earlier than their integration into the road.

Collaborative robots also help with validation and testing.
Collaborative robots additionally assist with validation and testing. Supply: Common Robots

3D printing of gripper fingers

One other key issue within the integration of UR cobots by SEAT is that the plant is self-sufficient in printing the “fingers” of the collaborative grippers, based on every want and the extent of safety required to keep up the protection stage of the appliance.

This makes it potential to have virtually instant spares with out the necessity for inventory and to carry out idea checks in lower than 45 minutes, stated the firm.

The cobots work with 3D-printed fingers. Source: Universal Robots
The cobots work with 3D-printed fingers. Supply: Common Robots

Data of cobots stored in-house

“Performing integration in-house has allowed us to maintain the know-how of programming and integrating the cobots throughout the upkeep space, which implies that throughout any stoppages, we might be extra decisive and the prices of machine downtime are decrease,” stated Manuel Gómez, upkeep supervisor at SEAT Parts.

SEAT uses the Robotiq 2F-140 gripper and Zimmer Group collaborative gripper. Source: Universal Robots
SEAT makes use of the Robotiq 2F-140 gripper and Zimmer Group collaborative gripper. Supply: Common Robots

Intuitive gripper configuration

This ease when adapting to manufacturing was bolstered with the intuitive configuration of the cobots and their peripherals, licensed via the UR+ platform.

“We have now been capable of implement purposes in lower than one hour,” Francisco Pérez emphasised. Furthermore, SEAT Parts can implement these adjustments with out having to name upon the providers of an integrator, which might improve prices.

Collaborative robots offer opportunities to upskill staffers.
Collaborative robots provide alternatives to upskill staffers. Supply: Common Robots

Cobots assist upskill operators

One other good thing about the appliance is that the operators have been relieved of manually unloading 18,000 elements a day.

“By utilizing collaborative robots, we’ve managed to make sure that operators can commit their time to duties that add worth to the product, resembling high quality points or course of enhancements,” famous Gómez. He added because of this “the operators see the cobots as an additional device to do their work.”

All in all, SEAT has modified its angle, permitting its workforce members to tackle future automation tasks in-house.

“Now, any automation venture is conditioned not solely by its contribution when it comes to profitability, but in addition as a result of it supplies us with know-how that we didn’t have earlier than,” Gómez stated.

To sum up, the venture “is worthwhile, productiveness is larger, and high quality has been consolidated,” concluded Eduardo Fonseca. He stated the automation venture has gotten the approval of the SEAT group.

Editor’s word: This text was syndicated with permission from Common Robots’ weblog.

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