Mechatronics Canada

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February 18, 2021

Date: February 23-24, 2021

The key to manufacturing success is keeping equipment running. Unfortunately, it can be hard to find and retain workers for tedious and potentially dangerous jobs such as machine tending. It’s not surprising that more than half of U.S. manufacturers are redesigning their workforce architecture around automation with machine tending as one of the most sought-after applications to automate.

But what tasks should you automate first? How do you make the cobot interface with the machine? Do you need a dedicated cell? Can you use the cobot on multiple machines? What about safety?

“Our Machine Tending Expo will help manufacturers address all these questions,” says Joe Campbell, Senior Manager of Applications Development at Universal Robots (UR). “Attendees at the Expo will be able to visit virtual booths featuring a wide range of turnkey solutions and application kits for easy deployment. In live demos and educational keynotes, they will learn all the ins and outs of machine tending with UR cobots.”

The Machine Tending Expo is free to attend with registration now open at: urrobots.com/machinetending

New robot tending systems on display

Universal Robots is building a rapidly expanding network of Certified System Integrators (CSIs); many CSIs offer not only help with UR cobot deployment but also develop turnkey robot tending systems to address parts presentation and robot-machine communication.

Alex Webster, owner of UR CSI SDMS Robotics, has helped machine shops of all kinds integrate UR cobots. “This is the essential technology that was needed to bring robots into widespread use for machine tending,” he says, calling Universal Robots “the most important step forward in machine shop automation since the advent of CNC, the pallet changer, and the bar feeder.” At the Expo, SDMS will introduce the SDMS Machine Tending System consisting of the UR10e cobot arm, SDMS’ robot interface system, and specially-designed robot mount.

Often, manufacturers just need help to get started, whereafter they can succeed with cobot automation by becoming autonomous and do DIY projects. That is the goal for UR CSI Revtech Systems, launching the new CNC Loader Revflex at the Expo. “We strive to share our knowledge with customers so they require us less and less throughout their other projects,” says Catherine Bernier, application engineer at Revtech Systems, who will present the keynote "How Robotics Done Right Can Change Your Business."

Brian Knopp, general manager of UR CSI ProCobots, emphasizes that buying a standardized machine tending system eliminates the mystery and misery manufacturers face when trying to navigate a fragmented market of cobot products and accessories. “When someone wants a fishing boat, they go buy one. They don’t buy the motor and then build the boat themselves,” says the general manager of ProCobots, that will be showcasing the company’s practical CNC machine automation solutions with UR cobots.

When Universal Robots released the e-series line of cobots featuring repeatability down to 30 microns, Troy Ojalehto, owner of UR CSI Rapid Design Solutions, was excited. “When you’re doing multi-op precision machining, the accuracy requirements go way up,” he says. “Universal Robots’ repeatability really competes in the same space as traditional industrial robots but with all the safety and flexibility that cobots offer.” Rapid Design Solutions’ Expo booth will focus on how small to medium size machine shops can efficiently automate even low-run production with UR cobots without major process overhaul.

UR+ Application Kits reduce project risk and complexity

With the UR+ platform, Universal Robots launched the industry’s largest and most comprehensive ecosystem of products certified to integrate seamlessly with UR cobots. Several UR+ partners will exhibit new machine tending related UR+ products and Application Kits at the Expo, among them Robotiq that launched the CNC machine tending kit.

Adam Schmidt, Robotiq’s Director of Sales for Americas, will present the keynote "8 Key Learnings in CNC Machine Tending Cell Deployment From 13 Years of Experience." The company’s Expo booth is a rich educational experience with both eLearning programs and demos featuring solutions and products Robotiq provides to simplify the design and programming of a CNC machine tending cell deployment.

Manufacturers visiting UR+ partner New Scale Robotics’ Expo booth will learn the benefits of enhanced machine tending with real-time part measurement. The company’s UR+ certified Q-Span Workstation Kits powered by UR3e cobots combines part handling, QC measurements, and data logging for small parts.

Cobots never staying idle and always monitored

Moving cobots between different machining cells presents a whole new set of programming and logistical complexities that can be overwhelming at first. UR+ partner Flexxbotics’ mission is to free robots from being fixed in place. At the Expo, Flexxbotics will show attendees how the Flexx Connect product platform provides localization and communication tools to redeploy UR cobots on multiple jobs and stations, driving up the utilization rate of the robot while reducing the time needed to achieve a positive ROI.

Remotely monitoring the cobot is another key to machine uptime. In the live demo "Do you know what your cobot is doing right now? Get your cobot to tell you in less than 10 minutes," UR OEM partner Hirebotics will show how using the company’s software platform Beacon allows manufacturers full monitoring capabilities by cloud-connecting their cobots through a smartphone app to maximize productivity. Through Beacon, manufacturers get real-time access to program variables, IO, and log files while receiving alerts if production is down.

“The innovation happening right now within cobot-powered machine tending operations is phenomenal. We look forward to sharing these solutions with Expo attendees soon,” says Universal Robots’ Joe Campbell.

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MC Omron Tradtional Factories have Data Needs Too 1 400

The right tools and tech can enable advanced predictive maintenance, bottleneck prevention and optimization. Find out how digitalization is bridging the gap between legacy systems and Industry 4.0.
 
Without a doubt, digitalization is setting high standards for efficiency and throughput in production. Today, as manufacturers move ever closer to Industry 4.0, the question has increasingly shifted from ‘if’ to ‘when’ production companies will be able to make use of the data being generated with every piece that comes off the line. How do traditional companies take the first steps to digitalization and put that data to work? How do they make the move to unlocking the potential in every production system to improve and optimise their output? And what is the simplest way to harness the power of cloud computing and artificial intelligence at the edge?
 
As we know, not every modern factory is a greenfield high-tech showroom with pristine workers in lab smocks. In fact, many of them may not even be all that modern, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t benefit from the modern tools, processes and best practices that are the hallmarks of a productive and successful factory. In this journey to modernity, digitalization has become a vital bridge, enabling owners and production directors to begin harvesting the data that can provide vital clues to enhancing production.
 
Start with Sensors
As new standards of efficiency and quality become the norm, those seeking a competitive edge are turning increasingly to digitalization. Sensors (from very simple to highly complex) can be incorporated into all types of production lines, to measure everything from unit temperature and speed to output shape and size, weight and hardness and most everything in between. Sensors can form part of a wireless network, sending signals remotely, or can be connected directly into an existing production system, depending on the needs of the factory.
 
From Raw Data to Vital Information
 
The resulting output from these sensors is the raw data that can be transformed into information and insights to streamline efficiency, remove bottlenecks, reduce downtime and optimize production cycles—when used correctly. Before any data can be analysed, it has to be stored, either on an in-house server or using a cloud-based service for greater scope for expansion and off-site processing. Exactly how much storage is needed depends on the application, level of digitalization, output form and required analysis. For comparison, a production line with simple sensors attached to monitor throughput will generate significantly less data than one with quality-control cameras monitoring multiple types of product forms.

 

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MC Rittal Introducs Blue e S Cooling Units cUL Approved for Canada 1 400

Rittal is expanding its smart cooling unit solutions by adding the new Blue e+ S range. Their latest generation of cooling units with lower output categories of 300, 500, and 1,000 W have been designed for efficiency, ensuring a smaller footprint and lower costs – just like their “bigger brothers.” So, it’s a win-win both for users and for our future.

Solutions that reduce our carbon footprint during production are in high demand. But at the same time, these solutions need to be intelligent and communication-enabled so that they can be easily integrated into digitalised manufacturing environments. Seven years ago, Rittal responded to this demand with its Blue e+ range of cooling solutions and launched extremely efficient enclosure cooling units, which provided on average energy savings of 75 percent.

Now we have a new generation – the next generation – but still developed with that same design DNA. These new cooling units with their lower cooling outputs of 300, 500, and 1,000 watts called “Blue e+ S” add to the Blue e+ family, and bring with them additional smart capabilities. And furthermore, this new generation offers innovative energy-saving features for the production process.

What’s behind this energy-saving and therefore cost reduction is the technology used, combining a heat pipe with inverter-controlled components. The heat pipe works without a compressor, expansion valve, or other regulating elements and so does not need any electrical energy except to operate the fan. Depending on the thermal energy generated in the enclosure and the current ambient temperature, cooling can be performed with the heat pipe alone. The additional compressor cooling only operates if a large amount of heat has to be dissipated from the enclosure or if the ambient temperature is very high. And what’s more – when it does operate, it is far more energy-efficient than conventional units. This is because the compressor and fans possess an inverter-controlled drive, which automatically adjusts their speeds depending on the requirements. As a result, the temperature within the enclosure remains constant, and the energy efficiency is significantly higher than with other more conventional cooling units.

Staying cool all the time

Alongside energy efficiency, another feature also reduces the carbon footprint: The new Blue e+ S series uses a refrigerant with a GWP (Global Warming Potential) that is 56 percent lower than those used in comparable cooling units. Furthermore, instead of the R-134a previously used, the cooling circuit in the new generation of units now runs with R-513A refrigerant.

 

For more information, click here

 

 

 

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