- SPECIAL REPORTS
Tabletop dispensing robots are an efficient way to increase both output and quality in assembly processes where fluids like adhesives, lubricants, and silicones must be applied in controlled, repeatable amounts. By automating repetitive fluid dispensing tasks, they provide a cost-effective way to:
- Reduce process time
- Increase output without adding personnel
- Reduce rejects and rework
- Minimize non-value-added activity
- Prevent bottlenecks and reduce work-in-process
Squeeze bottles, brushes and other manual fluid applicators provide only minimal control over the amount of fluid applied, leaving it up to the operator to control the size and placement of the fluid deposit.
Air-powered fluid dispensers are a dramatic improvement over these manual tools. With air-powered dispensing systems, the amount of fluid applied is determined by the size of the dispensing tip, the pressure applied to the fluid, and the dispense time. By using controlled air pressure and precision timers to regulate the amount of material applied, they take subjective operator judgment out of the dispensing equation. This significantly improves accuracy and consistency while reducing rework, rejects and waste.
While a dispenser will ensure that the volume of fluid remains constant, it still remains up to the individual operator to determine the location and speed at which fluid is applied. This is where a dispensing robot that combines an air-powered syringe-based or valve-based dispensing system with an electronically controlled positioning platform can provide a distinct advantage. Instead of relying on the operator to determine where to deposit the fluid, a teaching pendant is used to set the placement and movement of the dispensing tip to produce the desired dot, line, circle, arc, or fill.
When the dispensing and positioning parameters have been set, the operator simply loads the part or parts onto a fixture, places the fixture on the robot’s work platform, and initiates the dispensing cycle. As fluid is being applied, the operator is freed up to perform other, more value-added tasks, such as loading/unloading other parts or packaging products for shipment. With all variations in deposit volume, placement and application speed eliminated, workflow and quality are improved, bottlenecks are reduced or eliminated, and production rates become more predictable.
In addition to low- to medium-volume production runs, tabletop dispensing robots are ideal for prototyping applications, because switching between jobs typically requires little more than reprogramming the positioning and dispensing parameters and using a different dispense tip. Even a totally different fluid—such as a thick RTV silicone instead of a thin cyanoacrylate—can be accommodated by changing the dispenser settings and tip, or switching to dispense valve that matches the new fluid and application.
Tabletop dispensing robots provide a way to apply virtually any assembly fluid with greater accuracy and consistency than manual applicators, and with more precise placement than operator-controlled air-powered dispensers. By increasing productivity, improving quality and reducing costs, they offer assemblers a cost-effective way to gain a significant advantage in today’s competitive manufacturing environment.
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East Providence, RI 02914
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