Numerous factors are driving the industry 4.0 revolution. From big data to IoT technology, industrial facilities and manufacturing plants are looking at new ways to automate their process and create a more efficient and cost-effective environment. One of the most important technology advancements in this mix is robotics.
Robotic equipment is a common industry 4.0 innovation used to create an autonomous or semi-autonomous machine capable of carrying out a variety of repetitive tasks that used to take up the time of skilled labor. Some of the tasks or processes that robotics enhance include stock management and logistics, manufacturing automation, janitorial duties and, there are even robotic applications called co-bots that assist human workers when ultra-high precision is needed.
To facilitate the demand for robotics, a variety of sensor and measurement components are necessary to ensure the highest quality and reliability of these application. Many tasks carried out by robotic applications are ultra-precise and require more accuracy than what a human hand or eye can handle.
Sensor technologies embedded in the actual robotics instrument must also be used to constantly calibrate or monitor the robotics. If robotics is used on an automated manufacturing line, any issues with the robotics can disrupt and compromise the entire process. Therefore, robotics manufacturers utilize Interface solutions when they need quality sensors that can monitor the precision of the robotics and ensure that their accuracy and reliability is maintained.
Interface develops high-quality test and measurement solutions designed for hardware testing of all kind. For robotics, our products are frequently used as a component within an OEM device. We understand the premium accuracy and reliability necessary to help develop robotics solutions and have provided both off-the-shelf and custom force measurement solutions designed to meet a variety of applications. We recently created an animated application note on an industrial automation robotic arm using our new light weight, light touch load button load cell, the ConvexBT.
The ConvexBT is designed for testing and also for full integration into the robotic element to measure the force pressure during use. ConvexBT is available in multiple capacities, including our latest release of the 500lb and 1Klb models.
A customer came to Interface with a robotic arm product that would be used to lift and move delicate objects, such as a glass bottle, in an automated environment. The goal in using Interface was to find a force measurement product that could ensure the robotic arm did not damage the products it was moving by applying too much force. The main component that Interface products would be applied to is the robotic arms’ clamp. The objective was monitoring the grabbing pressure of the clamp and ensure that the device would stop applying pressure when the necessary force was used to pick up the object without doing damage.
Using its new line of Load Button Load Cells, ConvexBT, and a DMA2 DIN Rail Mount Signal Conditioner, Interface provided a solution that would produce an electric signal on the clamping process that tells a controller to have the device stop applying pressure. Two ConvexBT products were connected underneath the rubber pads on both sides of the robotic arm clamping device. When the clamps made contact and applied pressure, the DMA2 Signal Conditioner converted the signal from the ConvexBT from MV/V to volts to a PLC controller. This signal tells the controller when to have the robotic arm stop applying clamping force.
Ultimately, the two ConvexBT Load Button Load Cells were able to accurately measure the amount of pressure applied to the object the robotic arm was lifting and moving without causing any harm or damage to the object.
This is just one of many examples of force measurement products being used in the robotics and automation industry. As the demand for robotics grows and a wider variety of applications are introduced, Interface will continue to engineer the best solutions to help customers reach the age of Industry 4.0.
To learn more about Interface solutions for the robotics and automation industry, please visit https://www.interfaceforce.com/solutions/. You can also check out our case study on the for industrial automation and robotics use here.