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Cobots in the electronics industry


The production of electronics involves a lot of assembly work and product movements. Even in electronics companies that are already highly automated, processes are often still carried out manually.

Cobotization opportunities

For example, placing and mounting PCBs. Picking up a printed circuit board is a simple “Pick” for a cobot. Placement can be a bit more challenging, because this often has to be done at an angle and the PCB has to be clicked into the encasing with a specific force. Yet there are also solutions for this: Force / Torque sensors. Some cobots have a built-in force/torque sensor, but there are also very accurate separate sensors that can be mounted on the robot arm. In this way, the cobot can never damage a PCB.

In combination with a vision system, it is possible to cobotize the inspection process. A PCB has many capacitors and electronic components. The vision system checks if all components are present and in the right place and the cobot then sorts on “pass” or “fail”.

The same applies to the in-circuit testing of PCBs. This is a Pick & Place application, but with something extra. By making a connection with the test equipment, the next step for the cobot, after testing, is to place the PCB in the “fail” or “pass” container.

Gluing or sealing encasings is another example of what cobots can do in the electronics industry. Cobots:

  • do not forget to make lines (fewer failures),
  • always use exactly enough glue or sealant (less waste),
  • deliver a better, consistent quality and,
  • work without breaks or vacations (increased output).

Another part of the assembly process can be screwing together products. In combination with a screw unit and screw feeder, a cobot can always drive screws with the same set force. Also in the evenings and weekends.

During production many parts are moved from one spot on the shop floor to another. This too can be cobotized, but with Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs). They make a map of the area in which they are driving and can avoid unforeseen obstacles. With a load on their backs, they move stocks or parts completely independently.

At the end of a production or assembly line, the end-of-line packaging of the end products takes place. Boxes can be set up, packed and palletized with a cobot: ready to be shipped to the customer.

Why cobots?

They are compact enough to be placed in (already crowded) assembly lines with small spaces in between, because they do not have to be separated from employees. They can even be mounted on the ceiling, so they are not in the way on your production floor.

They can be operated by people who work next to or with them, without the need for an extensive training (1 day is sufficient).

You can make your production process smarter, more precise, faster and more cost-efficient.

Because cobots are flexible, the changeover time to another product or even another task or place is short. You can use them on different production lines, at different times. So they are very suitable for an agile way of working and for batch production.

Because there is no need to hire an expensive programmer or to install fencing (such as with deltas for example), the investment is also attainable for smaller companies. The ROI for a cobot set can be as short as 1 year. We can make a more accurate estimate if you complete our ROI calculator.

ESD precautions

Most cobots are ESD safe. But the gripper and gripper fingers should be taken into account as well. The material of the gripper fingers is usually steel, and that of the fingertips plastic. You can prevent the accumulation of static electricity by grounding and using dissipative material for the fingertips with a controlled resistance path to earth.

For specific wishes, we make custom-made fingers and fingertips.