Unitron embraces Co(bot)-worker
During implementation of a multi component polyurethane potting process, Unitron decided to merge the precision and other advantages of a cobot with the quality of work and valuable knowledge of our assembly experts.
A semi-automated polyurethane processing system with very high accuracy. Together with specialists Olmia Robotics and Meter Mix Benelux we’ve realised this project.
Olmia Robotics supplied
• the cobot;
• a support stand;
• several sensors;
• a custom glue kit;
• cable guides;
• and training of the cobot operators.
This cobot set was then implemented into the production process by Meter Mix Benelux.
Meter Mix Benelux supplied
• the mixing & dosing system;
• customized vacuum reservoirs.
The chemical aspect of this process was a new feature for the production process of Unitron. An intensive learning path has resulted in a lot of knowledge in which all imaginable challenges have been tackled. Side effects and environmental influence are often underestimated challenges if you innovate on automation. Unitron has chosen to tackle these challenges themselves instead of handing it over to external expertise. Recommendations and help from our chemicals supplier Rotec was extremely valuable during the production process validation. We are now capable to process polyurethane resin with different applying techniques for EX applications, high-end industrial products and future life sciences applications.
The new knowledge of the polyurethane processing system also ensures process improvement in existing processes of Unitron such as solder, ultrasonic welding, (UV) bonding and the automated application of conformal coating. Increase in production volumes are inherent in these optimisations.
Itho Daalderop, the manufacturer of, among other things, boilers in Tiel, has several cobots working alongside industrial robots. One of these cobots is sealing casings. Previously, this was done manually. Problems that arose were inconsistent amounts of sealant, and operators were also uncertain about where sealant should go. The result: loss of time, forgotten sealant tracks and difference in sealant use by different employees. The amount of sealant varied between 1.5 and 2.5 tubes per sealed part. The sealing took employees around 25 minutes of handling time.
After the sealing cobot arrived, the process has been more consistent, making it easier to work with temporary workers and people from sheltered workshops. Consistent quantities of sealant are now being used and this has resulted in a consumption per part of 0.5 to 1 tube. There are no forgotten sealing tracks and less downtime (wrong sealing). In the end, a better ROI was achieved on the cobot set than previously thought. Per product, 10 minutes were recovered in handling time, 1.5 to 2 tubes less kit are used and less waste is produced. ROI was less than 1.5 years.
Gluing and sealing with a cobot
Adhesives and sealants are found in many industries, in yours too? A cobot can glue sinks and windows, and machine and car parts. And the robot arm does this with great speed, precision and consistency in quality.
It requires super human capacities to constantly dose the same amount of glue. Cobots such as the UR5 or HCR-3 can, however, always maintain constant pressure.
The cobot also works more efficiently with sealant or glue than a human, because you can establish exactly how much is needed and he will never use more. You thereby reduce consumption of glue or sealant.
The cobot is flexible and safe in all respects
The cobot is small and lightweight. This makes it easy to move. The software is intuitive, you don’t have to write code to program it. This makes it easy to use for a new task, or a new product to be glued.
It gives you the flexibility to automate almost any manual task. Handy if you have to deal with small production batches or quick changes. In the software you simply save the actions of your cobot, so you can later reuse them for recurring tasks.
Options for robotic gluing
If necessary, we also develop a specific glue table with a manipulator that reverses the object to be glued or sealed. The cobot can also be placed on a Liftkit or Slidekit, with which you resp. increase the vertical or horizontal range of the robot arm. You can see an example of this in the tab sealing video.