Many manufacturers across the world are deliberating on adopting a DMS (distributed manufacturing system) to enhance production flexibility. This is increasingly transforming the idea of collaborative robotics and making it more critical. A force and power limiting collaborative robot complete with force tracking ability are easy to utilize.
What’s more, it is specially designed to collaborate with humans in the same work environment without the need for additional safety features. Collaborative robots do not have pinch points and exposed motors or sharp corners. They are appropriately configured and can execute tasks without laser scanners or vision systems.
ISO 10218 defines various effective collaboration and protection methods to guarantee worker safety. For all industrial robots using hand guiding, force and power limiting, speed and separation monitoring, and monitored stop, the end users should be cautious when it comes to choosing a safe and compatible gripper for their application.
Businesses adopt collaborative automation for a variety of reasons including accelerated return on investment. Regardless of your reasons, it is important to equip your collaborative robot with the appropriate EOAT(End of Arm Tooling) to execute specific tasks.
The significance of End of Arm Tooling
Industrial robots may not enhance your production process with an inappropriate end of arm tooling. Further, an application can only be said to be collaborative if the proper EOAT is utilized.
Collaborative robots are generally safe but the whole robotic system should be analyzed during the system structuring and commissioning process to ensure that it satisfies the requirements of a risk management test.
For instance, if a collaborative robot arm complete with force and power limiting has an EOAT that is sharp-edged, it automatically jeopardizes the worker’s safety. Manufacturers, therefore, need to take part in a risk assessment. This way, they can guarantee that the utilization of collaborative robots does not endanger workers or compromise the integrity of applications.
Factors to Consider when Choosing End of Arm Tooling for Collaborative Application
Collaborative robots bring about distinctive challenges for EOAT. End users who are experienced in the traditional robotic end of arm tooling may have difficulties understanding the cobot EOAT. Below are factors you should consider before choosing an end of arm tooling for your collaborative robot.
Choosing a convenient EOAT for a collaborative application depends on the end user’s process requirements. Once the application has been identified, end users could choose a pneumatic, electric, or hydraulic end effector. It is important to consider other factors such as speed, power, precision, weight, and complexity.
There are numerous gripping solutions which range from complex ones such as the force feedback electric gripper, or the simple ones such as the two jaw parallel structures. The huge variety can be confusing. However, end users should strive to adopt the simplest technology possible.
Part size and process requirements play a huge role in deciding the end effector type needed to meet production needs. Many times, end users will utilize either a pneumatic or electric gripper depending on the application. An expense versus benefit analysis can help determine whether an electric or pneumatic gadget is more beneficial as opposed to the robot’s system lifecycle.
Electric grippers come with added precision and flexibility which allows robot programmers to program the gripper for different jaw travel lengths. Still, they regulate force or velocity. They are appropriate for applications where part shape and size changes regularly. Electromagnetic grippers can be the ultimate solution for parts comprising of ferrous materials.
Pneumatic grippers come with an easy to open and close jaw position. They can change their force grip to different degrees. Pneumatic grippers are usually designed for a single product and ideal for applications where part shape and size remains the same.
There are numerous EOAT suppliers specializing in specific gripper technology concepts. Always ensure that your preferred supplier complies with the existing ISO collaborative guidelines.
Not every end of arm tooling is secure to operate in a collaborative manner. Still, not every process is applicable for collaborative robots. This is why conducting risk management for the entire application is important. It helps end users to understand probable hazards and ensures they utilize appropriate gadgets.