Robotic Tending, Inspection Testing & More

MOTOMAN HP6S (Short-arm model) inserting the screws during factory testing.

Client : Australian Electrical Accessories Manufacturer

Problem : Assembly of a power-point kit: two metal screws inserted into a plastic faceplate with strict quality-inspection throughout.

The demands on staff’s fine-motor skills made them highly susceptible to repetitive strain injuries. Distractions to the staff’s quality-inspection of all components present additional safety/liability issues in electrical products. 

The process previously used up to six staff a day (three shifts per day, two staff per shift) and a dedicated gantry-mounted mould-extraction machine which could only service one product design from one machine.

Solution : 

  • MOTOMAN HP20 HP6 and HP6S robots with gripping & screw insertion effectors 
  • Integrated Vision Systems 
  • Safety work cell with jig and fixtures 

In consultation with the client, Robotic Automation P/L designed a highly flexible robotic cell that could immediately deal with the two different plastic mould designs from two different moulding machines, as well as being easily adaptable to future designs. 

The first of three robots, the MOTOMAN HP20, has the widest working envelope in its class – needed for the task of removing the plastic moulds from two separate machines. The HP20 then loads two moulds at a time to an indexing/rotating jig, revolving the moulds around to the next station where a high-resolution vision system photographs and compares each mould for minute defects that can be almost invisible to the human eye. 

The Jig revolves the moulds on through to the second robot, the MOTOMAN HP6S (a short-arm model) which works closely with the mould, loading two screws through a second vision system that checks for any rust or shape defects before mechanically inserting them into the mould face. 

A final rotation of the jig presents the pair of assembled and quality-approved kits to the last robot, a MOTOMAN HP6, which stacks each pair into a layer inside the appropriate tote-bin for each mould design, and places a slip-sheet between each layer until the bin is full and ready for the HP6 to move it onto the out-feed conveyor. 

Benefits : 

  • Improved staff safety 
  • Improved product safety 
  • Improved quality control 
  • Improved consistency 
  • Improved flexibility 
  • Improved productivity 
  • Elimination of costs in injury claims 
  • Elimination of costs in lost production time 
  • Reduced labour costs and associated management/admin costs