Robotic Innovations Showcased
By Patrick Waurzyniak
New and improved choices for robotic vision, grippers, automotive spot welding and many other applications wowed visitors at the ABB Robotics Technology Day held Thursday at ABB Robotics’ (Auburn Hills, MI) North American 55,000-sq.-ft. headquarters and training facility.
The event showcased new or updated solutions for robotic automation as well as in-depth technical seminars on robotic technologies from ABB Robotics. The open house, which featured 40 live demonstrations by ABB Robotics’ automation partners, also included a session at 4 p.m. open to friends, family and youth organizations and students.
In the past year, ABB introduced five new robot models and updated its sixth-generation IRC5 robot controller, said Nicolas J. Hunt, manager of ABB’s Automotive Technology and Support, Robotics Business Unit, Discrete Automation and Motion. The company also has issued updates of its RobotStudio software, laser-cutting software, and improved its Remote Service Internet-based monitoring system.
Vision-guided robotic systems were on display in a vision court featuring solutions from ABB partners SICK Inc. (Minneapolis), Cognex Corp. (Natick, MA) and SVIA Industrial Automation (Jönköping, Sweden). ABB recently expanded its vision offerings with the addition of SVIA’s PickVision system for machine tending and bin-picking applications. The SVIA solution is being tightly integrated into the ABB IRC5 robot controller, which will offer users a play-and-play 3D vision solution that is easy to set up and operate.
Automotive spot-welding applications from ABB also were highlighted in a technical seminar given by Hunt. ABB, which recently received a “2012 Top Award” from Ford Motor Co.’s Global Powertrain unit for a flexible tube press and weld system installed at Ford’s Sterling Axle Plant in Sterling Heights, MI, has made improvements to its dress package solutions for welding applications. The latest ABB IRB 6640 LeanID solution incorporates an integrated dress pack that Hunt said is plug-and-play, with quick locks and other fully integrated features that add flexibility and offer higher performance.
The LeanID dress package contains the cabling that holds water to cool the welding system, Hunt said, as well as all of the electrical cables that extend to the end of the robot arm. “With some 30,000 volts, you have to dissipate heat, so the welding guns and even some of the motors are water-cooled,” Hunt said. The LeanID system features enhanced 3D simulation capabilities and improved lifecycle cost in an accessible, compact system that also makes it easier to re-purpose welding robots than with earlier systems.
Contact Senior Editor Patrick Waurzyniak: email@example.com.