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Robotics Case Studies

Case Study - Manufacturing, Robotics, Material Handling

Shape Process Automation (formerly Tech-Con Automation)

Tech-Con Automation develops robotic rack transfer system utilizing FANUC robots to provide fully automated production. A globally diversified automotive supplier was in need of adding a system to their production line that would increase overall productivity. The purpose of this system was to provide automated component rack loading between fabrication, coating and shipping.

  • Limited Space: Short cycle time allotted to pick and place parts combined with a limited free space within the customer’s facility were factors that made the flow of work a challenge. The process was required on several lines in the plant. Due to the limited space and to keep the cost in line, Tech-Con Automation recommended a central system.
  • Existing Equipment: The customer had previously invested in a robot slide, robot, and controller in their facility which had to be updated, incorporated and integrated into a new system with newly added parts and functions.
  • Robot Programming: The robots that were included in this new system had to work simultaneously side by side and also had to be set up and programmed in a way that prevented collisions as well as reach outside of the fenced areas.
  • Safety Remote: Cells generally come with a safety reset button on the cell near the hazard, but the client requested the allowance of the light curtain to reset remotely from a forklift by the driver without the need to climb on and off or reach outside of the forklift cage. Both these actions could increase the risk of injury and repetitive strain.
  • Software Aid: Maximizing the use of 3D CAD and robot simulation software allowed optimization of the robot workspace in the cell. This was done to ensure the best use of work space at the client’s facility.
  • Remote Light Curtain Reset: To accomplish this, Tech-Con Automation used a remote R.F. push station mounted on the forklift and ensured that the area protected by the light curtains was covered 100% to insure that there was no possibility that anyone could be in a hazardous location when the safeties were reset.
  • Dual Check Safety: To ensure the safest and most efficient performance of both robots within the cell, the use of FANUC DCS (dual check safety) programming was used. This program provides the client with software and control tools for the strongest support and integration network to maximize machine safety.
  • Maximizing System Cycle Time: A fully automated process eliminated manual labor which in turn increased product throughput and allowed for more production in a shorter amount of time, which in turn increased rack transfer efficiency.
  • Maintenance Friendly: A physical barrier between robot work spaces allowed maintenance to address any issues while not interfering with the production operation of the other robot.
  • Minimize Risk: Automating a previously manual process reduced potential injury and eliminated human fatigue and man power, providing a safer environment.
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