Software Plug-in Expands UR Cobot Capabilities
Denmark is famous for being the home of Hamlet, The Little Mermaid and Lego. The nation is also well-known for its thriving robotics industry, thanks in no small part to Universal Robots A/S.
Launched in 2005, Universal Robots (UR) is a pioneer in the field of collaborative robots (cobots) and has experienced rapid growth since its first products were introduced in 2009.
In 2015, the company sold more than 7,000 of its UR3, UR5 and UR10 cobots and needed to move into a larger (130,000 square feet) production facility in Odense. UR was also acquired by Teradyne Inc., a supplier of electronic testing equipment.
All of UR’s cobots are flexible and affordable, with their model number reflecting the unit’s maximum payload in kilos. The cobots work closely to people on assembly lines and require no safety guarding. In addition, they are easy to program, with initial setup taking less than an hour.
UR cobots are well-suited for mounting small objects, as well as performing bonding, screwdriving, soldering, painting and operating tools. Infinite rotation is possible for screwdriving and drilling applications.
All of these cobot benefits have enabled the company to maintain robust sales the last five years and expand its product line. Last year, UR introduced its e-Series of cobots, sold its 25,000th (gold-plated) model to Kay Manufacturing and achieved a 60 percent market share.
This spring, the company jointly developed the URCap software plug-in with Dorner Manufacturing Corp. that expands the versatility of all UR cobots used in conjunction with the Dorner 2200 series of modular belt conveyors. The plug-in is available online at www.dornerconveyors.com/dorner-ursolutions. Once downloaded and installed, the plug-in allows a manufacturer to use its UR controller (CB or e-Series) to program the inputs and outputs needed for starting, stopping, changing the speed and obtaining the status information of the conveyor at any time.
The 2200 series is extensively used in various assembly and packaging applications. Its low-profile fabric conveyors feature a durable single-piece frame design, universal T-slots, a high-speed nose bar transfer option, and a wide range of guiding options.
Conveyors with 90- and 180-degree corners carry pallet loads up to 70 pounds. The 180-degreee model creates a loop with only 135 millimeters between main run conveyors. It also eliminates the need for other transfer devices, while maintaining pallet orientation through the loop. Pallets measure up to 640 millimeters square.
For the past several years, SMAC Corp. has used the 2200 series to enhance lean manufacturing of
programmable actuators. The conveyor moves actuator subassemblies to five built-in mini work areas, where workers add parts in sequence to complete the assembly.
The conveyor is 20 feet long and 15 inches wide. It moves subassemblies at a rate of 0.3 to 3 fpm and has significantly increased production. A spokesperson says it has helped SMAC grow from $2.5 million to $10 million in sales with the same work crew of four or five people.