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In our keynote at the Universal Robots Cobot Expo on Machine Tending, we showed how collaborative robots can do QC inspection while performing machine tending functions.

We demonstrated how this improves output and quality.

Watch this recorded keynote presentation to see these application examples, in production and in the metrology lab:

In-Process CNC Machine Tending

Tending Optical Machining Equipment

CMM Machine Tending in a Metrology Lab

Air Gage Automation

When we think of using a robot for machine tending, most people envision a robot sitting next to a CNC machine pulling parts from a chuck and placing them into a bin, pulling parts in and out of a press brake, or perhaps next to a molding machine and binning parts.

These are great use cases for collaborative robots. They automate dull, dirty and dangerous jobs. They are usually quite easy to program, involving basic pick and place functionality and communication with the machine fabricating the parts. They free a machine operator to focus on creating new programs on other fabrication equipment, or to complete more complex functions that are better suited for a person than a robot.

But pulling parts in and out of a machine is just one piece of the puzzle that is fabricating a part. There are any number of post-fabrication processes done by a machine operator or other production staff. These may include cleaning, deburring, grinding, polishing, palletizing, packaging, sorting and inspection of these parts.

Some machine tending operations have started to include these post-fabrication processes as add-ons to their machine tending cells.

However, there are limited options for QC inspection, which is often an overlooked function of a machine tending robotic work cell.

Machine operators are expected to periodically check measured dimensions to verify that parts are being produced within tolerance. Why shouldn’t this QC check be a requirement for a machine-tending cobot?

Inspection is one of the most critical tasks to automate in machine tending if your goal is to have a fully automated cell, especially one that can run lights out and continuously produce good parts.

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