Funny Looking Robots

Super-high-speed pick-and-place units made their debut at a plastics show.

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Automation was the name of the game at October’s Fakuma 2015 show in Friedrichshafen, Germany, but with some new twists. It was the first time I had seen this type of high-speed assembly robot—at a plastics show. They are referred to generically as “parallel” or “delta” manipulators or robots, and their specialty is super-fast pick-and-place tasks with fairly small, lightweight parts.

 

Shown here is a M-1iA delta robot from Fanuc Robotics (U.S. office in Rochester Hills, Mich.), which was paired with a Fanuc Roboshot injection press (sold here by Milacron LLC, Batavia, Ohio) to sort micro parts by cavity.

 

A larger model appeared at the Netstal booth (U.S. office in Florence, Ky.) as part of an IML automation cell from Machines Pagès of France. After a conventional robot placed four labeled containers from each shot on a conveyor belt with and camera that scanned the labels for correct placement, the aptly named “Spider” robot picked out the containers individually and placed them on a stacking fixture separated by cavity. As it was explained to me, the merit of this approach was that any improperly labeled parts could be separated individually without rejecting the whole shot.

 

For more on this and other exhibits at the Fakuma show, see my upcoming Close Up article in our December issue. You also can learn more about parallel/delta robots on Wikipedia, at Mecademic in Montreal, and at Adept Technology, Inc., Pleasanton, Calif.