Robotic Machine Tending: 5 Factors to Consider Before Investing

Before investing in any machine, every good industry manager knows that you must first determine its suitability. The same applies when thinking of robotic machine tending.

Despite promising enormous benefits to your business, not all machine tending robots are a good fit for your business. Some robots are designed for larger machines, others small, others medium-sized machines.

The robot’s specifications also differ. Since they’re all from different manufacturers, their speed, accuracy, precision, cycle time, and lifespan vary.

In this article, we shall cover the 5 most important things you need to look into before getting the robot.

Take a look:

1.     Speed and precision

Robots are known for their speed and accuracy in production. They’ve proved this capability in the manufacturing floor space for years.

However, not all robots can achieve this feat.

High speed is often associated with low-quality products, and that’s what you’ll get from the wrong robot. Get to know how fast the machine tending robot can move from point X to Y, without altering its accuracy.

Find out whether the robot can follow different sets of instructions quickly and with a minimal margin of error. The more accurate the robot is, the better.

Always choose more precision over speed.

2.     Repeatability of the robot

One of the main reasons for investing in robotic machine tending is repeatability.

So, you want a robot with more than just speed. A robot that can repeat a process multiple times without losing its accuracy.

Look into how long the robot takes to repeat a process, and whether or not it develops errors in the process.

Collaborative robots today are designed for easy reprogramming, enabling them to repeat processes they initially completed. The machine tending robot you choose should be able to do this.

The programming process should also be easy, even for workers with no programming experience.

3.     Payload and reach

The robot’s payload refers to how much weight it can handle with one grip. The reach refers to the distance it can reach horizontally.

All machine tending robots have different payloads and reach, so you can’t use a ‘one for all’ approach to this decision. Robots with a lower payload and a small reach are mostly ‘tabletop’ robots. They handle smaller machines.

The larger the payload, the more uses the robot has in the industry.  The same applies to its reach.

You can use these machines for pick and place tasks, palletizing, assembly, among other tasks. It all depends on the size of your industry and CNC machines.

4.     Safety features of the robot

One of the biggest drawbacks of having robots in the workplace is the injuries it causes other workers. And although modern collaborative robots are designed to amend this issue, causes of robotic harm to workers are still common.

Therefore, you have to pay extra attention to the robot’s safety features before purchasing it.

Ensure the machine tending robot you choose has adequate sensors, robotic vision cameras, and proper control software to interact with workers.

The more comfortable your worker is with the robot, the more productive they become.

5.     Machine-robot compatibility

Lastly, the machine-tending robot you choose should be compatible with the machines you want to use. Some manufacturers develop their machines to be pretty selective with other robot software.

Therefore, a robot that works for your competitors may not work for you due to compatibility issues.

Ensure that the robot you choose is compatible with all your machines, to facilitate a smoother integration into your production line.

The robot software should  also be compatible with software updates, to cater for future demands.

Final thoughts

There are numerous other factors you need to consider before investing in a machine tending robot. However, their speed, accuracy, repeatability, payload and reach, safety features, and compatibility with your machines should be at the top of your list.

With the right machine tending robot, you will finally achieve your production goals.

Therefore, choose your robot wisely.

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