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rbc robotics – Focus on Modularity

Ongoing trends and challenges never shaped the market as fast and deeply as today. While this may be attributable to the increasing speed of technological advancement, it may also be assumed to be caused by the trends themselves. Not far from the premises of rbc robotics, the International Federation of Robotics (IFR) in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, has discovered how trends such as shorter product life cycles or low-volume/high-mix production entail faster commercial launches. These so-called “trends” do seem quite familiar though, because the trends as such have not changed much over the past couple of years. Or at least that’s what it looks like. How does a shorter life cycle affect the actual product? Why do diminishing quantities undergo these fast changes? And how do we adapt to trends which seem to be stable but expect us to be flexible at the same time?

Stricter end product requirements such as an increasing variant diversity, the ability to be customised down to single user level or tighter quality standards are already reflected at the beginning of the pro-duction processes. Every part, whether unmachined or finished, needs to smoothly and perfectly adapt to trends such as high-level flexibility and especially faster responses to changing market demands. In order to survive on the market, production processes of small and medium-sized enterprises are especially subject to higher automation and scalability needs.

New challenges require intelligent concepts based on specific know-how

In response to increasing flexibility requirements, rbc robotics – the vision-guided robotics experts – have rethought complex automation processes with a view to modularity. After more than two decades of providing the European market with their solutions, the product portfolio of rbc robotics is almost unique not only regarding the process and programming technology but also in terms of economic aspects. This involves everything from robot programming, process visualisation, control unit design, planning and engineering, simulation and production to installation and commissioning: For rbc robotics a perfect cost-value solution integrates existing systems or components as well. Advisory services rendered by rbc robotics start at field level and, thus, at the basic automation needs to put together a modular portfolio which automatically adds value across the entire production process.

Vision-guided robotics benefit parts handling

But what exactly are the benefits of a system solution involving both cameras and robots? Compared to conventional parts feeding solutions, a combination of robot and camera is marked by several quite significant advantages. These kinds of vision-guided robot systems specifically excel in shorter rigging times and top-level flexibility.

Rigging times are becoming shorter and negligible 

Since the robots’ camera system has a large field of view (up to 1200 mm x 800 mm are supported), it is able to detect parts and analyse picking coordinates without components having to be in an exactly defined place for robots to be able to pick them up. This very much facilitates the design of component feeding and placing processes. There is no need for mechanical retooling as required in a product carrier circuit, for example. If 2½D or 3D systems are used, components can even be picked directly off the pallet. Another advantage is that component-specific grippers can be changed fully automatically, thus making rigging times a negligible matter.

Increased flexibility enables immediate responses

An extremely fast initial detection of new parts creates a very adaptive system. A brief intuitive teach-in phase is all it takes to enable the system to directly inform the robot about the position and orientation of parts. Even customers without any programming experience can teach their system the new parts in just five to ten minutes. These systems are thus able to respond to changed parts extremely quickly. Generally, some detection parameter settings would simply have to be modified to make the robot correctly and reliably pick the changed parts again.

More reliability, flexibility and efficiency

Combining robots and cameras thus produces safer, more flexible and efficient processes and is therefore what the system solutions from rbc robotics are based on. When it comes to parts handling, they also rank among the safest modules of economically efficient process automation. Wherever standardised or extremely customised robotic solutions are needed, the concepts of rbc robotics are the perfect answer to all customer requirements. The team will design, draft and engineer system solutions that will do exactly what they should: make production fast, reliable and cost-efficient – at 100% quality.


1. FXbuffering Line – Use your time wisely

The FXbuffering line is a semi-automatic or fully-automatic feeder system. An employee normally puts the components on a feed belt. The belt then moves the components into the camera system’s detection range. Once the image has been captured, the gripping position analysed and the data transferred to the robot, the robot will reliably pick up the component and transfer it to the downstream process. Finished parts are placed on a discharge belt afterwards. The length and width of the belt determine the amount of unmachined parts in the buffer and, thus, the amount of autonomous run time. In fully automatic applications, the components are not placed on the feed belt by a human but by an upstream process (sawing, pressing, stamping etc.).

2. FXbuffering Slider – Use your space wisely

All components are efficiently kept in a very small space. If the up to 5 possible drawers are used, a buffer surface of 5 m² is obtained on a floor area of 1200 mm x 800 mm. The open architecture also supports many different combinations. The FXbuffering Slider is modular in every respect, no matter whether components are fed on trays/inlays directly from stock or whether camera-assisted charging based on component consumption is used to minimise changeover times and costs with regard to highly diversified parts.

  • Feeding made easy by picking straight from the drawer
  • Variable supply of parts – horizontal or vertical
  • Supports variable part geometries

3. FXbuffering Pallet – Loading within seconds

The FXbuffering Pallet is a feeder system that picks components straight from a container of pallet. A 2½D system accepts components stacked in layers, while a 3D system can also deal with a completely chaotic arrangement on pallets or in con-tainers. The 3D system uses an appropriate scanner to generate a point cloud which then helps to compute the component position. Resulting coordinates are transferred to the robot which then knows where exactly to pick up the components. An extra path planning option is provided for high containers. This handy feature helps to avoid collisions between the robot and the container and to minimise downtimes. The FXbuffering Pallet is best used for loading processing machines running at cycle rates of 10 or more seconds. It also supports the careful feeding of large and sensitive parts.

Responsible for the content of this press release: DVS TECHNOLOGY GROUP


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