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Factors to consider before investing in an industrial robot

Lan Bell Lan Bell , 6/13/2018
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Robots have become increasingly popular amongst people in assembling, manufacturing, distributing and packaging or products. Industrial robots give manufacturers the opportunity to automate different work processes to increase productivity, reduce the cost of operation and offer better returns on investment.

When you decide to look for industrial robots for sale, there are a few factors you need to consider before you select a robot.

Safety

Industrial robots are fast, efficient, accurate, powerful and quiet making them perfect for different applications in an industrial plant. While they have great potential, they are also high-risk machines. All robot manufacturers are geared towards creating robots that offer benefits to industries with minimal or no risk to human life.

Therefore, before you introduce the use of robots in your company, read and understand the safety standards you need to apply to integrate robots. Train your personnel on the use of the cell whenever an operation is ongoing.

The equipment

From the surface, all robots look the same regardless of the manufacturer or brand. However, a look deeper will reveal the difference in a lot of way such as the hardware in use, the OI (operation interface), longevity, safety features implementation, as well as programming methods. It is important to do pre-purchase diligence. This helps you to understand what equipment is needed to ensure the effectiveness of the robot in your work environment.

You need to ensure that the robot you are about to purchase fits your project needs and that it will be an added advantage to your processes. As reliable as the industrial robot will need, it will at one point or the other require support. You need to have a support team you can trust, either from the robot manufacturer or an integrator.

The OI, programming, and operations

Even with an industrial robot boasting the most robust tooling design, safety designs and is operation friendly, it is possible for it to cripple your operation if the programming is not done keenly. Programming is an important part of any robotics. It determines whether or not the robot will be a dependable partner in the operations plant. It is important to get the programming right.

You need an industrial robot with a clear and easy to understand operator interface. This gives the users the confidence to use the machine after undergoing training. Operator control needs to have a few steps to setup and run an operation. This can go a long way in reducing user errors. You also need an OI that is self-aware of the work environment by the use of sensors as well as encoding on jigs, tools, and fixtures.

Fault and error recoveries need to be easy to handle. You need programs that are well written to easily guide the robot operator through the process of recovery without causing potential risk to the machine.

The best industrial robots are maintenance free. With accurate programming, diagnostic logging and detailed alarming, engineers are able to identify errors early and resolve it because it causes a halt in operations.

Repeatability

This refers to the ability of your industrial robot to reach the same position when completing a routine. A robot can repeat inside 0.5mm or more. For instance, if you are using your industrial robot to build a circuit board, you need a highly repeatable robot. If the application is not too repetitive, you can go for low repeatability. Therefore, consider the task you will need the robot to complete before you decide on the level of repeatability you need it to be. 

The cost

Last but not least, you need to consider how much the robot costs and whether it gives you value for money. While the initial cost may seem like much, the robot will improve productivity and thus increase your bottom line. You can compare rates from different robot manufacturers. The price may be based on the kind of application you need the robot for.