Small and Adaptable Working Arms

Fri, 09/01/2017 - 14:45

No safety guards? No problem. When Universal Robots developed its line of collaborative robots, it kept in mind flexibility, ease of use and cost. The UR robot looks and acts like a human arm, does not require a protective cage, allowing direct interaction with human operators, and has attracted a growing customer base across industries, including automotive.

Installing traditional industrial robots entails a hefty investment in additional infrastructure such as safety cages for the robots and enough space for the units to move without affecting other robots on the line. Universal Robots helps to eliminate those added costs by combining automation equipment with human labor. UR robots mimic the movement and flexibility of a human arm with six degrees of freedom, a maximum linear speed of 1m/s and a maximum rotational speed of 180° per second. Thanks to their flexibility, the automotive industry has embraced these robots in high-quality and precision-driven operations such as engine foundry, laser-cutting, press-forming and molding.

The company offers three different models that adapt to clients’ size and load capacity requirements. The smallest model, UR3, can automatize tasks in a 500mm radius with a load capacity of 3kg. Its small size makes it ideal for gluing, tool handling, welding and painting in tight spaces as it only needs 128mm of available space for its base and weighs 11kg. UR5 has a load capacity of 5kg and an action radius of 850mm. This model is mostly used for repetitive pickand-place operations and testing procedures. Its installation diameter is 21mm wider than the UR3 and it weighs 18.4kg. The largest option in Universal Robots’ portfolio is the UR10, with an installation diameter of 190mm and a weight of 28.9kg. This robot can handle tasks that require a load capacity of up to 10kg in a radius of 1300mm. Its size and weight make it ideal for more robust applications such as packing, pallet placement and montage.

Their collaborative makeup includes sensors that detect when human operators touch the equipment, stopping it entirely. The robots can also be programmed to work more slowly in areas where human contact is more likely. The company also strives to make its robots as user-friendly as possible, which means that their programming is simple enough to restart operations by pressing just a couple of buttons. An added bonus is versatility: the robots can be relocated and reprogrammed nimbly depending on the clients’ manufacturing needs.