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Motion Controls Robotics – Select a Used Robot the Smart Way

Motion Controls Robotics, Inc.

Motion Controls Robotics Inc., a leading provider of fully integrated material handling robotic systems, offers the following tips on selecting a used robot the smart way when manufacturers are looking to reduce the up-front cost of a robotic automation project.  Motion Controls Robotics carries a large and diverse inventory of FANUC robots.

Things to consider when purchasing a used robot 
- A robot and its controller usually come as a matched pair.  Used robots and used controllers are sold on the Internet and by different robot suppliers, but buying a used robot in pieces like this can create other issues that the integrator and/or customer may have to deal with during integration, or later. 

- The hour meter on a robot typically resides with the controller, so the hours shown represent controller operation hours – not necessarily hours on the robot.  If components in the controller such as a servo amplifier have been replaced, the hour meter will not reflect that.  If a controller is connected up to a different robot, the hour meter will represent the hours on the previous robot, not the newly connected robot.  When buying a used robot, be sure to ask the robot supplier if the robot and controller are original or if either has been exchanged. 

- On older FANUC robot models the hours may represent the total time the controller was on, not necessarily the operating hours for the robot.  If the robot was only used on a single shift but was powered up 24 hours a day, the controller hours will grossly overstate the hours the robot was in operation.

- Hours of operation for a robot are not necessarily the same as the robot wear and tear.  The robot may have been operating near its weight and duty cycle capacity, or lifting a piece of foam at low throughput.  Wear and tear on the robot and controller can vary significantly depending on the robots’ previous application. 

- Another element of wear and tear is range of motion and how the robot was programmed, i.e. how smoothly the robot performed in its previous application.  If the robot spent all of its life banging back and forth in a very limited range of motion, gear box and gear motor wear and tear could have easily been accelerated at any of its joints.

- An important component of robot condition is whether, or when, any of the robot’s motors/gear boxes were changed.  The motors and gear boxes are typically the most expensive components that will fail on a robot, starting with the wrist (least expensive) to J1, or base gearbox and drive motor (most expensive and time consuming).

- In addition, don’t assume your used robot supplier will automatically provide you with the End-of-Arm tooling faceplate style you require.  Motion Controls Robotics can provide an ISO, or other style faceplate to match your planned end-of-arm tooling. 

The most important step in buying a used robot is to seek out a qualified robot integrator that is willing to stand behind the used robot with a one year warranty.  Manufacturers should also look for an integrator with trained technicians who are authorized by the original robot manufacturer to recertify used robots to original factory specifications.  As a Level IV Certified Servicing FANUC Integrator, Motion Controls Robotics’ certified FANUC technicians test all used robots against the original factory specifications and repairs or replaces any components that are out of tolerance. 

Motion Controls Robotics follows a standard seven-step process to recertify a used robot to give manufacturers peace of mind –

1. Clean, prep and paint used robot with a 2-part epoxy paint
2. Check backlash and repeatability of all axes to recertify to the original OEM specifications
3. Replace any components that don’t meet the specifications including gear boxes, motors and cables
4. Conduct a full preventative maintenance check, changing grease and batteries
5. Load controller with the latest software revision available for the particular controller. Update base software package for material handling, spot welding, arc welding, etc. Motion Controls Robotics provides a legal Fanuc software license with every recertified robot.
6. Add any software options including vision, auxiliary axis packages and Collision Guard
7. Perform an eight-hour runoff at full payload to ensure that the robot is working properly

For more information on how a robot is properly recertified, contact Motion Controls Robotics to ask for a copy of its Used Robot technical sheet.  This information is also available by visiting http://www.motioncontrolsrobotics.com/used_robots_search_results.cfm.

About Motion Controls Robotics
Motion Controls Robotics is a leading provider of automation solutions to manufacturing industries since 1995.  The company provides full service robotic solutions from concept to installation and service/support that keep manufacturers competitive.  Motion Controls Robotics creates solutions for Fortune 500 and small to medium-sized manufacturers in general industries, plastics, food, building materials and tier one and two automotive suppliers.  They also automate small production shops and machine job shops.  Motion Controls Robotics provides automation solutions to manufacturers for a variety of applications including material handling (case packing, palletizing and machine tending)  and vision-guided systems.

Motion Controls Robotics’ northwest Ohio headquarters is located at 1500 Walter Avenue, Fremont, Ohio. 

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