Robot and Autonomous Mobile Robot (AMR) Solutions for Industry
Astech have a number of Robot and Autonomous Mobile Robot (AMR) solutions for industry that utilize the latest in robotic innovation and robust, tried and tested technologies.
We can integrate the manufacturers of your choice with your existing production software and infrastructure to create a solution that fits perfectly with your application
Traditional RobotsFixed installation
- Fixed installation
- Relatively large footprint and enclosure/safety barrier required
- Workers separated from robot
- No additional risk assessment
- Performs a limited number of highly repetitive tasks
- Harder to teach – uses traditional programming languages
- Infrequent changes
- Hard to repurpose
- Good value for medium to large facilities with a focus on high throughput
- Larger and faster
- Number of axes matched to task
- Flexible and potentially mobile
- Relatively small footprint with minimal restrictions/adaptations
- Workers share space and interact with robot
- Specific risk assessment required
- Performs a wide range of tasks, varying in complexity
- Easy to teach positions – uses graphical user interfaces
- Frequent task changes
- Easy to repurpose for new applications
- Good investment for facilities of all sizes with a focus on flexibility
- Smaller and speed restricted – dependant on load
- 6 and 7 axes
Robotic arms are common in many industries and are a well-established component of automated production facilities. Fixed robotic arms tend to perform a limited number of functions and are dedicated to a single part of a production or manufacturing process. The advantages include being able to perform repetitive tasks consistently and at speed, being able to lift heavy loads or dangerous materials, and to be deployed in challenging or controlled environments.
Pressures facing manufacturers today include shorter product life cycles with increased product complexity, customisations, cost pressures, decreased time to market and increased competition.
For the production manager, this becomes a challenge to meet the demand of increased flexibility and adaptability whilst maintaining productivity and profitability in line with strategic objectives.
The use of modern automation and robotics, such as collaborative robots (‘cobots’) can help manufacturers to solve these issues and provide a competitive edge. Cobots in particular can help address the challenges of flexibility and adaptability as the technology has a number of significant advantages over traditional automation.
Many companies have targets to introduce new robotic technologies as part of a drive towards Industry 4.0 and a wider innovation strategy. Automation in general can improve safety, quality and increase productivity by performing monotonous or physically demanding jobs. But the benefits are only seen when the right automation and robotic solution is adopted.
Astech can help you assess what combinations of traditional automation, robotics and collaborative technology will provide the best solution for your future manufacturing needs.
Moving to Collaborative Arms
Traditionally robots would be enclosed or within a safety perimeter. Some newer types of robotic arm can be collaborative, meaning people can work alongside them. There are sensors and safety features on collaborative robotic arms which prevent them from advancing if a person comes into contact with them or enters the workspace. This can make for a more flexible solution, for example production doesn’t need to stop for manual intervention. But not every application is suitable for a collaborative solution. To be collaborative there are some parameters, such as the range of motion of the arm or the force exerted, which need to be controlled. Many fully automated processes are better served by a traditional robotic solution. Collaborative technology comes in to its own when you break free from traditional fixed, single process robotics and become mobile.
The main advantage between cobots and other traditional automation or robotics is that the cobot operates alongside the worker in the same space without the need for barriers and exclusion zones.
This does however lead to the main cause of concern; that the interaction between human workers and cobots poses a safety risk. Given the correct risk assessments, and deployed in the right way cobots can actually address safety concerns by providing power assistance or performing dangerous tasks, thus reducing injury and postural risk. There is a trade-off – cobots must operate at much lower speeds and within parameters covering their size and reach. This may reduce their productivity in comparison to enclosed robotic solutions.
Whilst cobots tend to be smaller and slower, with less reach and force, they can operate without barriers or enclosures maximising the available workspace. Advances in sensor technology and data processing enable the safety features that allow collaborative working. So collaborative robots still offer productivity, efficiency and quality improvements but are also more adaptable and can be redeployed relatively easily. Repurposing cobots is a distinct advantage over traditional robot automation. Cobots are relatively easy to teach and can be moved to new locations with minimal adaptation to the environment.
Mobilising your cobots:
Cobots can be mounted on to movable bases enabling them to be repositioned quickly. This can enable one cobot to perform multiple tasks in an established production environment with little modification required. Movable bases can be as simple as a trolley or can be autonomous mobile robots (AMRs).
Astech utilize autonomous mobile robotic platforms that can move and safely navigate around busy spaces. These autonomous mobile bases are deployed in factories and warehouses around the world. With minimal modifications mobile cobots are able to access lifts/elevators or open doors. Having assessed what is needed for the application Astech will select a base to suit your payload, customize the housing and functionality, as well as provide suitable software interfaces and integration