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Changes brought about by the application of robot collaboration

As prices become cheaper and more powerful, robots have been widely used in all aspects of automobile manufacturing, and robots have the ability to complete more difficult tasks.Not only that, robots can also collaborate with each other, which makes it possible to undertake complex tasks that previously had to be done by hand or specially designed auxiliary tools.
Although welding is still the main application field of robots in the current automotive industry, various automobile companies are using the rapid development of computer technology to continuously expand the scope of application of robots.On the one hand, the decline in costs has enabled automobile companies to use more robots in production; on the other hand, increasingly powerful computing functions have enabled robots to perform particularly complex tasks that even programming equipment could not complete before.These changes will undoubtedly help improve the quality of automobile manufacturing and control costs.
Collaborative application of robots
Today, the increasingly powerful control functions of automation products, coupled with the simplification of programming technology, make it much simpler to connect robots than in the past.The collaborative application of robots has changed the way of automobile manufacturing, and it is another obvious sign of the technological development of automobile manufacturing.Now, the robot can complete a certain work on a certain part and then transfer it to the next robot.
With the development of automation technology, it has become very simple to control more than one manipulator with only one controller.This makes it possible to use robots in many fields to replace previously necessary special tools or labor.The more manipulators and motion axes that the controller can manipulate, the less chance the manipulators will collide with each other or other problems will occur.For example, ABB’s latest IRC5 controller, through the new MultiMove function, can control up to 4 robots and a total of 36 axes by a single controller, which can easily achieve complex coordinated operation.
During operation, one robot picks up a part and holds it for another robot to complete a given task.For more complex tasks, two or more robots hold these parts together. At the same time, other robots perform the task of tightening bolts or welding them together… In short, with the mutual cooperation of robots, the precise location of the parts can be easily determined and the scheduled work tasks can be completed efficiently.
Cancel the fixture system
Allowing several robots to complete a task together, this collaborative ability provides automobile manufacturers with huge application space.In the past, parts had to be precisely positioned-clamps were used to clamp the parts to the exact position required by the robot.Manufacturing these fixtures is a time-consuming and laborious high-standard and demanding work, because these fixtures must not only ensure the accuracy of the action, but also if the parts held are heavy or large parts, they must also ensure that the parts are motionless during welding, painting or other operations.And if it is done by a robot, it is much simpler to control.
Under the influence of the dual factors of falling prices and increased computing power, the opportunity for machine vision systems to be used in the field of automobile manufacturing has greatly increased, and the use of this system also helps to eliminate the fixture system, because the vision system can easily determine the precise location of the parts should be placed, and it can also save a lot of money for manufacturing and debugging those complex fixture systems.
The manufacturing after eliminating the time-consuming fixture system just caters to the development trend of “just-in-time” and “lean production” in the automotive manufacturing industry.Automobile manufacturers are working hard to make themselves respond quickly to the market while maintaining high manufacturing reliability, and robots just meet the manufacturing needs of automobile manufacturers.
Due to the shortening of the product life cycle, manufacturers must have a flexible and agile response mechanism-this is the main reason why they are increasingly using programmable equipment instead of a single fixture.This method makes it easier to convert products on the production line, so that the factory can plan the output of each model according to the latest sales trends, and even set the smallest batch to 1 car.
Dedicated robot
The emergence of some dedicated robots that can be used to complete specific tasks has provided more advanced tools for automobile manufacturing.For example, in the welding field where robots are most widely used, developers have proposed new methods of welding based on the technical characteristics of special robots, and designed some robots specifically for arc welding or spot welding. These special robots are different from general-purpose robots, which can more accurately ensure the quality of welding.
A feature of the new type of special robot is that its cables are integrated into the manipulator.Compared with external cables, the built-in cables are less likely to be worn and aging, which can reduce long-term costs. This is also the reason why robots are more widely adopted, because today’s automakers tend to pay more attention to product life cycle costs, not just initial cost investment.Eliminating the external cable can also make the robot work closer, because the chance of the manipulator entangling the cable suspended by another manipulator is greatly reduced.
Program control ability is the key
Changing the actions of the robots so that they can be applied to the production of another new model, or can be transitioned from an independent working state to a collaborative working state, which requires reprogramming.A few years ago, compiling a set of robot action programs was a very complicated task, because most robots used a dedicated programming language at that time. Programmers must understand both computer programming language and processing technology, and such talents are really lacking. Therefore, the key problem that needs to be solved is how to make the robot run easier and easier to reprogram when work requirements change.Now, this problem is being solved by different methods, and some successful experiences have been achieved.For example, General Motors, they no longer need computer experts to program, because many of their work has been stylized, and the programming steps have a fixed pattern, making programming very easy.
Some companies have even begun to adopt World Wide Web to simplify the setup of robots.FANUC Robotics introduced Internet technology into the manufacturing platform, and they have a browser on the robot controller.When the robot is connected to the network, the operator can look for diagnostic information on the Web page, check time data, or use e-mail to contact the technician.
Another way to simplify programming is to provide an interface that hides the professional language, so that more operators and technicians in the professional field can program the system.
Nowadays, PLCs are still widely used in many factories, but under normal circumstances, PLCs hardly have the programming capabilities required for complex robots.In order to make up for this shortcoming of PLC, some robot manufacturers are conducting further research and development on PLC. For example, Adept Technology has cooperated with Rockwell to develop robots that are completely driven by PLC, thus creating some new areas of application in automobile manufacturing.Lower-cost PLC programmable robots provide manufacturing engineers with more opportunities to change procedures and operations.
Another revolutionary change in robot control procedures is the increasing use of servo motors, which provides a technical guarantee for robots to complete difficult precision machining.For example, in the coating process, the process requires that the synthetic paint of the two components must be mixed very accurately.Using servo technology, robot manufacturers can more accurately control the operation of the coating robot mixing pump.
Where robots will come in the future
Although the automobile manufacturing industry is highly developed today, automobile assembly still contains a large number of tasks that must be done manually, because at present these tasks cannot be simply depicted with black and white barcodes in computer programming languages.For example, assembling a transmission usually requires blind matching, which is to connect the spindle to the cogging to achieve the purpose of meshing.The operator generally performs trial installation by touching, and keeps swinging the parts until they “feel” good.Obviously, such an operation is accompanied by more human factors, and the accuracy of assembly cannot be guaranteed. Therefore, automobile companies are eager to adopt automated procedures to eliminate the interference of human factors on the assembly line and improve assembly quality-this is where robots will come in the future.
The miniature camera installed on the robot can enter areas invisible to the human eye, and provide the robot with image information in advance to help the robot decide which method to use to move parts, and finally obtain satisfactory assembly results. This is the robot of the future. With the assistance of various advanced technologies, they will use their increasingly powerful functions to play a much larger role in the high-precision assembly world than today.

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