Collaborative robots (cobots) play a central role in modern-day machine tending. A high-growth industry, machine tending currently represents the largest application of cobots for industrial automation. Cobots are being leveraged by manufacturers to increase productivity, improve product quality, and maximize output consistency. Typically, machine tending involves a human worker loading parts into a machine to execute a task. The worker then removes the finished product and reloads another part. Not only does this waste an enormous amount of time that could have been spent more productively, it also increases the risk of injury or accidents due to the nature of the repetitive tasks.
Cobots work side-by-side with humans in various robotic machine tending applications for fast production change-overs and increased accuracy. Human workers no longer have to perform hazardous, repetitive tasks. Instead, their skills can be better utilized to perform value-added tasks to ensure quality control through CNC machine integration.
Robotic machine tending is used for loading and unloading parts during the following applications, including but not limited to:
*Welding and grinding
*Milling and turning
*Punching, forging, trimming
*Although the production process for the various applications may differ, the main function of loading and unloading parts remain the same.
Collaborative robots can be used for virtually any machine tending applications. They offer many automation advantages, including fast deployment, easy programming, lower space requirements, and lower acquisition costs. Taking over the repetitive tasks that put humans at risk, they also offer safety and labor benefits that ultimately help to improve production.
As the most popular use of collaborative robots for factory automation, machine tending with cobots represents a high-growth industry
Collaborative Robot Janitors For Industrial Cleaning
Collaborative robot (cobot) janitors offer a more cost-efficient and productive means of managing the industrial cleaning demands of large facilities. By doing the dull, dirty, and dangerous work at a more consistent and faster rate than humans, industrial cleaning robots help to optimize efficiencies and minimize occupational injuries. Human workers are freed up to take on less risky, higher-value tasks such as tidying spaces. Protecting Profitability
Industrial cleaning is an extremely profitable industry. Airports, commercial and retail facilities, warehouses, healthcare facilities, and educational institutions must cater to large crowds on a consistent basis. Contracted to ensure a building adheres to ISSA (International Sanitary Supply Association) rules and regulations, professional cleaning services must ensure cleanliness at all times or risk losing the contract. Collaborative robot janitors provide the support to human workers needed to ensure obligations are met.
Increased Efficiency, Transparency & Accountability
Collaborative robot janitors deliver accurate productivity metrics that facilitate informed decision-making. Professional cleaning services benefit from the greater operational control that allows them to optimize for increased efficiency, transparency, and accountability.
By taking on the monotonous, potentially hazardous tasks that may injure humans and require more of their time to complete, industrial cleaning cobots offer operational efficiencies that help to minimize occupational injuries and safeguard profitability.
Collaborative Robots Address the Challenges of Fruit Picking
Collaborative robots are being developed to address the complex challenges associated with fruit picking. Not only are they poised to help growers increase marketable yield, but they also work to make up for the industry-threatening shortage of pickers around the world. Touch and Timing Are Everything
Fruit picking is one of the most challenging agricultural tasks for a variety of reasons. Touch and timing are critical factors. For example, it is very easy to damage fruit during the harvesting process, which reduces what can be sent to market. Secondly, a shortage of laborers means harvesting takes longer. Fruit picking must be done quickly in order to avoid losing yield to rot.
Advances in Collaborative Robots Deliver Outstanding Results
The latest developments in collaborative robots for fruit picking are leveraging sensors, 3D cameras, artificial intelligence and sophisticated materials for end effectors to protect fruit during the harvesting process and to maximize yield.
One of the softest and most challenging fruits to pick is the raspberry. Guided by sensors and 3D cameras, Robocrop, the world’s first raspberry-picking robot, uses machine learning, a form of artificial intelligence, to pick and sort the berries. Outpacing human workers, it is capable of picking more than 25,000 raspberries a day.
Another technological advancement is self-healing polymers that can be used for grippers to handle fruit. Being gentle and soft enough to avoid damaging fruit means they are prone to damage. To solve this challenge, researchers have already successfully developed polymers that can heal themselves by creating new bonds after about 40 minutes.
Collaborative robots are opening up possibilities for growers faced with the productivity and labor shortage challenges of fruit-picking. Advances in automation technologies are facilitating further developments that will help to bring the benefits of collaborative robot fruit picking to more growers around the world.
Drones Emerge as Go-To Technology Partners To Combat Covid-19 In India
Drones in India have emerged as the go to technology partner when it comes to managing healthcare and identification in densely populated areas, sanitizing large areas with disinfectants, monitoring traffic and lockdown violators and aiding the fight against COVID-19 in the country. From Mumbai Police, to the Government of Jammu and Kashmir, to authorities in Telangana, Kerala, New Delhi and various other parts of the country are using drones to disinfect, monitor and track urban areas and residents. The view from above is critical to disaster management response and has played a key role in other relief operations for over two decades. This however has been very satellite dependent, but the challenge with satellites is that they present quite a few limitations such as cost, data restrictions, cloud cover and the time it takes to acquire the imagery.
In contrast, drones can capture much higher resolution aerial images at a fraction of the cost and can be flown at anytime required. In addition to capturing imagery they can also be used to monitor even the most infected areas without posing a risk to human operators. This approach is extremely important for community resilience and disaster response.
Drones in Jammu & Kashmir
Jammu and Kashmir police has pressed drones into service in Srinagar as well as other parts of the Valley to monitor the COVID-19 situation and make people aware of the restrictions imposed by administration in response to the current pandemic. These drones are also being used to check whether there are any violations of prohibitory orders.
Drones in New Delhi
Drones are being used in Delhi to enforce social distancing on the roads, spraying disinfectants and are being adopted by the police as an extension to their forces. The Police are also using drones extensively to keep watch on places like grocery shops, banks and religious places.
Drones in Maharashtra
In Maharashtra, the Government is using data analytics, drones and traditional patrolling methods to deal with containment in crowded places. Drones are also monitoring the movement on streets and if a congregation of people is witnessed in any area, police teams are sent to take action.
Drones in Telangana
In Telangana drones are being equipped with surveillance cameras and thermal imaging payloads. Thermal is providing monitoring abilities to the authorities at night and are helping in strict implementation of the lockdown. Drones in the state are also bring equipped with sky speakers to keep the public informed.
Drones in Kerala
The Kerala State Police has deployed 350 drones for surveillance in the state and has been using drones to monitor the streets for those who are violating the lockdown. The police are then posting these videos on the department’s official social media handles, many of which have gone viral.
Multi-Material Injection Moulding: Main Techniques and Advantages
Multi-material injection moulding (overinjection) is one of the most widespread technologies for manufacturing plastic components. The process is based on the injection of two or more materials in a single mould and process. In this article we will analyse its various techniques as well as the advantages it can offer for the production of personalised parts. What methods of multi-material injection moulding exist?
1. Interval injection moulding
Among the various injection moulding techniques, interval injection moulding allows for great advantages, since it achieves chromatic effects through the synchronised activation of two injection units on the surface. It is worth mentioning that there is no limit in regards to component colours.
2. “Sandwich” injection moulding It is a process that involves a superficial element, just like in interval injection moulding, where, in order to obtain a three-layer structure, it is necessary to use an interval unit. On the other hand, this technology uses two injection units connected to a nozzle by means of which two materials are injected into the mould.
In multi-material manufacturing processes, it is common to machine or cast a part, and subsequently, inject a different material once again. Through the overmoulding process, we apply or overmould a hard or soft polymer over a base material (substrate) that may be a metallic or plastic component, achieving a solid bond between the overmoulded polymer and the plastic or metallic substrate. What is interesting about overmoulding technology is that we obtain a hybrid material through a unique manufacturing process.
Brass-plastic overinjection part
Additionally, in regards to chromatic effects, we can find:
This process achieves several chromatic effects on the surface. It is worth noting that there is no limit in regards to colours and chromatic effects. These are, in turn, not reproducible.
On the other hand, if your goal is to create simple geometries, the Core-back method is suitable. It stands out due to being the simplest multi-material injection process and is useful for a repeat injection with a single cavity. In addition, it allows for a displacement of the cavity. This cavity is expanded through the use of a sealing slide for injection of the second component.
On the other hand, all of the above technologies are complemented by three other techniques where separate parts are extracted for subsequent assembly: Transfer technique
This is a transfer process in which the parts are transferred to a second station. It is performed directly inside the mould thanks to a robotic system or an automated machine.
As its name implies, it is based on a horizontal rotation. As a result, pre-parts transfer to a second station. But are they demoulded?
During this phase they are not fully demoulded; that is to say, they stay in the mould, which is rotated. For this reason, it is necessary to have rotary devices inside or outside the mould. Additionally, you should keep in mind that the rotation cannot be full, but only by 180°, on a dish or an insert in the mould. It is also known as rotary index plate injection.
A combination of all processes stated above. This technique combines all of the procedures where assembly has been present in the injection moulding process. In this phase we can work in two well-defined manners. On one hand, the assembly phase takes place inside the mould after the injection phase. On the other, two components that are incompatible with one another are added, thereby preventing a fixed bond to occur through the injection process itself.
What are the advantages of multi-material injection moulding?
Increased production Enhances the product’s value
Innovation and improvement of the aesthetic design and product
Increase in mechanical features
Reduction of part assembly, which allows for a cheaper product
High personalisation of the final results
Packaging and Palletizing Cobots Streamline Processes
Packaging and palletizing collaborative robots (cobots) are being leveraged in numerous industries to optimize fulfillment processes. Packaging cobots, often used for lightweight operations, place objects or products in cases or trays. Case palletizing collaborative robot systems have compact, streamlined designs that deliver both precision and speed for the stacking of boxes, bottles, bags, pallets, and cartons ranging from medium to heavy payloads.Meeting strict packing standards, packaging and palletizing cobots offer an effective, mistake-free solution to the demands of ergonomically unfavorable, repetitive work. They help to avoid employee injuries by facilitating the lifting of heavy loads with the assistance of lightweight collaborative robotic arms.
Among their many advantages, packaging and palletizing collaborative robots offer:
A packaging and palletizing cobot can be redeployed and reprogrammed to adapt to a wide range of payload requirements. Due to its size and lightweight design, the robotic arm can be used in new constellations once the workflow demands decrease.
Palletizing cobots have components that are equipped with low-wear drive trains. Due to their robust and streamlined design, palletizing cobots have lengthy maintenance intervals.
*Strength and Speed
Packaging and palletizing cobots offer the ability to lift heavy payloads at a good speed, reducing cycle times, increasing the stacking rate of boxes, and achieving greater dynamic performance.
Their space-saving size enables the quick integration of packaging and palletizing cobots into existing systems to streamline performance and increase production efficiency.
Packaging and palletizing collaborative robots offer many advantages for streamlining processes to enhance efficiencies and reduce costs. They are intrinsically safe, easy to deploy and use, and exceptionally useful as an aid to perform tasks that could potentially harm their human co-workers.
Why You Should Use CAD Software to Drive Innovation
A product development organization wants to create the next big thing, something that will disrupt their industry, dominate the market, and capture the zeitgeist. Most engineers want to make something that will change the world, something they can point to and say “I was part of this.”
If this sounds like you, you should be using computer aided design (CAD) software to drive innovation for product development. CAD software supports ideation, iteration, and prototyping necessary for innovation success.
Let's take a look:
When I was at Amazon’s Lab126 hardware division, many projects started with “Jeff (Bezos) wants to be able to .…” To turn that idea into reality, we had to generate our own ideas and concepts quickly.
CAD software facilitates ideation via techniques like freeform and freestyle surfacing and direct modeling. In freeform surfacing, you manipulate curves and surfaces in 3-dimensional space with real-time updates showing you how the final surface will look. Freestyle surfacing is like starting with a lump of clay and then pulling and pushing it into the desired shape. These techniques are more artistic and organic than traditional technical surfacing - and faster.Image. Freeform surfacing in 3D CAD software CreoDirect modeling allows you to create new geometry and modify existing geometry by grabbing surfaces and edges and dragging them to new proportions, without regard to a model’s history or having to define explicit values for dimensions and parameters. Direct modeling tends to be faster than parametric modeling at both the beginning and the end of the design phase; these stages are ripe for ideation.
There’s an even greater and more exciting technology emerging for the ideation phase: Generative design. This methodology enables you to harness the power of machine learning to propose a large number of potential design concepts based on boundary conditions and design constraints that you define. Generative design puts the power of artificial intelligence into the hands of engineers.Image. An object created using generative design. A design engineer specifies the constraints for a part (for example, weight or strength), and artificial intelligence (AI) suggests alternative designs that meet the requirements.Iteration
“If you double the number of experiments you do per year you’re going to double your inventiveness.” – Jeff Bezos
On Amazon Prime Air, our founder said that we want to fail exactly once in every possible way, and that we learn from every flight, especially the failures. In other words, you want to build and test a lot; you want to run a lot of experiments. CAD software allows you to perform these experiments through data reuse and design exploration.
Data reuse means leveraging existing models to create design variations; you’re building off what worked in a prior iteration. CAD supports data reuse via:
Creating families of components.
Driving different configurations from electronic notebooks.
Design Exploration allows you to iterate via checkpoints and branching. You are empowered to experiment by examining potential changes and scenarios. You can create checkpoints along the way to represent different choices, and at each checkpoint you can follow different branches of more choices. After exploring these different possible choices, you can review and commit to the experiment that works best.
Image. Design Exploration Extension in 3D CAD software CreoReal-time simulation facilitates iteration by providing immediate feedback regarding how changes to geometry affect your margins of safety. By providing the designer with data regarding component performance in its operating environments, you can iterate faster by eliminating engineering cycles between the design and analysis groups.Image. With real-time simulation, product developers save on prototyping costs as problems are found and fixed while they're still in design.Prototype Early and Often
“To me, ideas are worth nothing unless executed.” - Steve Jobs
Along with iterating, there’s no substitute for taking something from the computer screen and testing it out in the real world. Prototyping used to be expensive and take a lot of time. After you had designed the product, you had to design the tooling to create it, source the raw materials, and then make it. With the explosion of additive manufacturing, you can literally hold your prototype in your hands hours after modeling it.
Virtual prototyping via augmented reality (AR) reduces those hours down to minutes. You can publish your model to an AR server and then use your phone or a tablet to see your concept projected onto the real world.
Embrace Change to Innovate
“Some people don't like change, but you need to embrace change if the alternative is disaster.” - Elon Musk
Most people - even engineers - fear change. If you want to innovate, you’ve got to embrace change. CAD has evolved recently to include:
Combining the direct and parametric modeling paradigms.
The Internet of things (IoT).
By using CAD, you ensure that your organization will constantly get access to the latest technologies and developments in design, analysis, and manufacturing. CAD software and innovation go hand-in-hand, because CAD provides your engineers with the capability to maximize ideation, iteration, and prototyping.PTC
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