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Fanuc Corporation provides automation products and services such as robotics and computer numerical control systems and is a leader in the industry.

Meggitt Robotic Drilling Workcell

Meggitt Polymers & Composites recently updated their manufacturing operations by installing a Drill and Cutting workcell, designed and integrated by Concept Systems. The fully automated workcell uses a Fanuc M-710 series robotic arm and state of the art end of arm tooling to drill and cut material for the aerospace industry. The goal of this project was to improve accuracy and throughput of thousands of parts, allowing Meggitt Polymers & Composites to meet the needs of their customers.

Project duration: 4 months

Team:
Client: 1
Concept Systems: 4

Concept Systems’ time on site: 2 weeks

Headquartered in the United Kingdom, Meggitt PLC is an international group employing some 8,000 people specializing in aerospace equipment, high performance sensors, defense training and combat systems. Meggitt Polymers & Composites, in McMinnville, OR focuses on delivering gaskets and seals to rigorous standards to be used by some of the world’s leading manufactures.

Meggitt Polymers & Composites had an opportunity to expand their business with a current client, but to do so, they would have to increase production by means other than human labor. Historically, the work on these parts was being done manually in a labor intensive manner. Production rates were limited to an average of 1000 parts per year, but needed to increase production by 300%, or 3000 parts per year, to meet demand. In addition to throughput, accuracy and safety were of high concern.

“A lot of these operations were being done by hand, and we were missing holes,” James Robertson, Meggitt’s vice president of operations, said in a recent news article featuring the project. “This enabled us to simplify the process and improve our quality.”

Concept Systems kicked off the project by meeting with the project manager at Meggitt, to first understand thier operations, concerns and goals, ensuring the right solution was delivered based on measurable results and a favorable return on investment.  Once the objectives, timelines, and goals were established, Concept moved forward with the design of the workcell.

The system that Concept created for the drill and cutting project is a fully automated workcell featuring a Fanuc M-710 Robot. The workcell boasts an integrated tool changer that provides seamless interchange of tools, allowing continuous production of the desired hole shape and size for 8 different parts. Further, Concept designed end-of-arm tooling to accommodate 14 automated, interchangeable options for drilling and cutting.  To support flexibility of the workcell, Concept also designed and provided fixture racks to accommodate 8 different parts. All of this was under the direction of a thorough risk assessment based on ANSI/RIA R1506-2012: safety first design of the workcell and all components.

Technology used in workcell:

  • Fanuc M-710iC Series Robot
  • ServoRobot Tool Changer
  • PushCorp High Torque Servo Toolholder
  • Tool Changing Station
  • 4 Custom Built Part Fixtures
  • Safety Interlocked System Guarding: Light Curtain, Area Scanner, Dust Hood

The workcell has now been in production for over 6 months and the initial results show that the project was a success. Meggitt has expanded their production capacity to 3000 parts per year – a 300% increase as per the project goal. Meggitt has also achieved high precision and repeatability from the robot and tools which significantly reduced rework and product loss. Last, the physical guard fencing, door interlocks, and area scanners provide the latest in worker protection.

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Collision Avoidance Moves into More Dynamic Automation Environments

Manufacturing environments are busy places with multiple machines, bustling workers and numerous machine-human interactions. Avoiding collisions between robots and humans is a high priority. Some solutions require a multilayered approach, integrating a variety of technologies, to create a reliable system. As more manufacturers add robots, there’s an increased interest in ensuring they work safely with each other and with humans.

Manufacturers that deploy robotic painters, such as the one shown here, can use a multilayered approach that integrates a variety of technologies to create a system that reliably reduces the risks of collisions. Courtesy of FANUC.

Manufacturers that deploy robotic painters, such as the one shown here, can use a multilayered approach that integrates a variety of technologies to create a system that reliably reduces the risks of collisions. Courtesy of FANUC.

Leveraging techniques from stacker cranes
Companies that increase their use of robotic automation can learn from collision avoidance techniques used with cranes, which received early attention because a collision with equipment in the work environment or the component itself was unacceptable. This posed a serious safety hazard that could cost thousands of dollars in lost production time and rework or scrap. By using 3D vision and industrial computers, collisions are now largely avoidable.
As technologies advance, dramatic system improvements are possible. That was the case with Boeing, which found its floor-based registration system for painting planes no longer provided the accuracy it needed. As a long-time partner to Boeing, Concept Systems Inc. stepped in to assist the aircraft manufacturer in addressing this issue by deploying a new collision avoidance system.

A key component of the new system adopted by Boeing in one of its paint hangers was the proximity query package (PQP), which can detect imminent collisions between two computer-generated objects. Information about the exact size and shape of the plane is exported from Boeing’s design software and then rendered as a 3D graphic in OpenGL, a widely accepted open graphics standard. It similarly renders the stacker platforms for validation and troubleshooting the system. Continue Reading →

Reaching new heights

Concept team: (from left to right) Donavan Moore, Wayne Williams, Shane Cooley, and Jerry Flynn with the FANUC M-2000ia.

Concept team: (from left to right) Donavan Moore, Wayne Williams, Shane Cooley, and Jerry Flynn with the FANUC M-2000ia.

Last year was in an exciting year for us, integrating 33 FANUC robots! Now integration begins on FANUC’s largest robot. The impressive FANUC M-2000ia has arrived at Concept Systems! This robot is a heavy-lifter, offered with a 900Kg (2,094lbs) capacity or 1350Kg (2,976lbs) capacity, so it can handle huge objects. Watch the robot in action to see for yourself.

Concept Systems growth in robotics workcells has been transformed due to our FANUC partnership.
To learn more about the FANUC robots, visit FANUC America.

Concept Systems earns FANUC recognition

from left to right: Mick Estes General Manager, Authorized System Integrator Group Sales, Marketing, and CERT Sales & Execution for FANUC; Mike Walling, Senior Engineer; Patrick Cross, Senior Engineer; Lou Finazzo, Director of Sales – Authorized System Integrator Group; Jack Gourley, Regional Engineering Manager.

from left to right:
Mick Estes General Manager, Authorized System Integrator Group Sales, Marketing, and CERT Sales & Execution for FANUC; Mike Walling, Senior Engineer; Patrick Cross, Senior Engineer; Lou Finazzo, Director of Sales – Authorized System Integrator Group; Jack Gourley, Regional Engineering Manager.

NEWS RELEASE – For Immediate Release
May 14, 2015

Albany, Ore. – Concept Systems Inc. was recently honored with two awards at FANUC America’s 16th Annual Authorized System Integrator Conference, in Orlando, Fla.

Concept Systems received an Outstanding Sales Growth award for increasing robot sales compared to the previous year and a Sales Leadership award for reaching an exemplary level of sales.

“We value our collaboration and partnership with FANUC,” said Michael Lindley, VP Sales and Marketing. “FANUC is a leader in the robotics industry, allowing Concept multiple options to address the manufacturing challenges that our clients face. Concept combines the power of the FANUC robotic platform with vision solutions to improve worker safety, increase productivity and manufacturing quality while providing a healthy ROI. We work with our clients and identify the best solution for each situation.” Continue Reading →

Got vision?

camera lensToday’s vision technology can address so many challenges – from sorting variable sized boxes on automated packaging lines to inspecting 100 percent of product at various stages in the manufacturing process.

An early Concept vision project was a rivet inspection system, and we’ve moved onto more complex systems, including pulling full sized unmanned ships out of the ocean. That project administrator indicated that we had won the competition simply because our system was the only one that worked. We also develop vision tools to meet unique challenges.

Our Vision/Robotics team thrives on learning new things and enjoys taking on projects that require unique solutions. Here are some insights from our team:

Improve picking and assemblies
Daniel Sidlauskas Miller, Senior Engineer, Oregon

We’re seeing more companies use 3D vision coupled with robots for complex picking and assemblies and quality control applications. A well set up vision system can take a large number of complex, non contact measurements and evaluate them with more focus than a person ever could.

Continue Reading →