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Robotics Industry News

Pilz Protects Robotic Material Handling, Welding and Inspection System at Idaho National Laboratories

Pilz Automation Safety L.P.

At Idaho National Laboratories (INL) a robotic material handling, welding and inspection system was developed as a prototype for the next generation of industrial automation systems. The Automated Welding and Handling System developed by INL with resources from the Department of Energy was built to “design, develop and demonstrate a system that will enable operations to remotely control two robots that use specialized tools to perform welding functions and non-destructive examination equipment.” 

The added layer of accuracy and safety to the welding cell allows for a higher level quality to the weld points themselves, which increase resistance to stress corrosion and cracking. The system is accurate and “smart” enough to move material in and out of the cell automatically by means of a robotic gantry system and a transfer card. 

The inclusion of the Pilz PSS control monitoring system allows the system to operate with a high degree of safety, by constantly monitoring the status of various moving components from the welding and inspection robotics to the surrounding safety access controls. The Pilz equipment was designed into the system from its creation to allow for a highly robust welding cell to be created that directly included safety systems to meet the structural and operational safety needs of the environment. With the safety system included from the beginning of the design of the overall cell, reconfiguration or customization for specific jobs can be completed with minimal downtime, while still maintaining the safety integrity of the overall cell.

In operation since 1949, INL is a science-based, applied engineering national laboratory dedicated to supporting the U.S. Department of Energy's missions in nuclear and energy research, science, and national defense.

Pilz offers a full range of leading-edge safe automation products and services. Products include sensor technology, electrical monitoring relays, and automation solutions with motion control, safety relays, programmable safety and control systems and an operating and monitoring range. Wireless and safe bus systems are also available for industrial networking.

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