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The Ultimate in Versatility: Matrix Engineers and the FANUC LR Mate

Matrix Design, LLC

Our sweet spot is placing the right robot for the right job in the right space, no matter how big or small. When it comes to the small end of the scale, our engineers often turn to the FANUC LR Mate. In fact, it’s hard to find any of our recent installations that don’t have at least one of these versatile robots included.

Why We Like It

The LR Mate excels at material handling tasks like picking and placing small parts for industries such as the automotive sector. Strong enough to handle work pieces up to 15 pounds with top speed up to 4,000 meters/sec., the LR Mate is perfect for repetitive, close range movements. It’s also lightweight (60 pounds) and small enough to be placed anywhere it’s needed in a cell – floor, ceiling or wall.

The LR Mate works on all three axes and rotates about each of those for 6-axis operation. They can reach almost 3 feet all the way around the base. Their unique flip over capability allows them to work the whole range of the cell in an upside-down mounting configuration. This level of flexibility makes them perfect for retrofits in an existing cell.

We also like the fact that the LR Mate is tough. The standard model is rated IP67 (clean room and wash down models rated to IP69K) for dust and water protection and operating in harsh environments. For pharmaceutical and food production, special clean room versions are available.

Coming to Grips with Each Task

Much of the LR Mate’s utility comes from innovative end-of-arm tooling. Our design engineers work closely with customers to develop the right device for each unique application. Keeping in mind that end effectors have to be light and small, but strong enough to handle any challenge, we sometimes have to think outside the box.

One example is the quick-change tooling system that was developed for a customer who needed faster cycle times on a multi-task production cell. It was designed so that the robot can stop at a station, exchange end effectors, pick up the part in a different manner or even interact with a new set of work pieces. For another application, we actually made the LR Mate part of the machining process by adding a deburring end effector.

Looking at the Big Picture

How the robot is installed and employed can also add value to the production line. Looking upstream and downstream of the cell before beginning the design project pays dividends to the customer. For instance, we sometimes team up two LR Mates instead of installing a larger robot. Cycle times can be reduced as the two smaller units work in tandem. For one particularly tight installation, an LR Mate was custom engineered to travel in and out of two cells on a rail, saving space and doubling its utilization!

Ramping Up Production

The LR Mate is a great solution for a shop that wants to scale up production volume, but might be having trouble finding skilled operators. All FANUC robots are easy to operate and one person can monitor three machines at the same time. We design the system, program the robots and install them in the shop. It’s pretty much a drop in, turnkey solution once it hits the floor. Its reasonable price doesn’t hurt, either.

Teaming up our engineers with the FANUC LR Mate can put you on track to finding the right solution to your automation challenges.

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