Problems with pick-and-place equipment

Would like to know if anyone has experienced doing mech engineering/maintenance work with pick-and-place equipment in a mass-production environment... What are the typical day-to-day activities, and common problems? Are these equipment especially problematic, and in what ways?

Thanks for the info.

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"FK" wrote in news:1122049763.225476.80070

I design, build, install and troubleshoot all kinds of pick and place, robotic material handling and other automation equipment in a very high volume manufacturing environment. That question is really vague. You really need to supply some more information, such as cycle rates, actuation type (hydraulic/pneumatic/servo/robotic) and loads. The answer you seek will be very different based on those items. A system designed to move one 10kg part every hour will be completely different than one designed to move ten 1 kg parts every 2.5 seconds. The problems with each type of system will be unique to that type.

If designed properly mechanically for the load and cycle rate, and electrically for programming and proper feedback systems, they are very trouble-free. If underdesigned for the load or cycle rate they will fall apart in short order. If underdesigned electrically, they will crash, or fault on a fairly regular basis. In the pick and place world, the KISS principle should be kept dear to the heart. The more complicated it is, the more trouble it will be down the road.

Before you look to building/buying a pick and place, I strongly suggest you investigate a multi-axis robot. There are a multitude of advantages, some of which are: a) Most are as reliable as the sun, again depending on the design and execution of the supporting equipment. b) Price: A pick and place to move a 10kg load can easily cost $30-50k, depending on cycle rate. A 6-axis 10kg robot will be on the low side of that same range, or cheaper, depending on purchasing volume of the robots, a SCARA will be slightly less. (SCARA is a 3-4 axis fixed-plane robot, whereas a 6-axis robot gives you 6 axis of movement freedom, there are advantages to each in certian applications. A 6-axis robot can do the job of a SCARA, a SCARA cannot do the job of a 6 or 7 axis robot.) c) When the current use is done, they can be easily and relatively inexpensively reconfigured and reprogrammed to do some other job. Not usually the case with a dedicated-design pick and place.

A possible disadvantage: A robot may require slightly more floor space than a dedicated pick and place to do the same job, when the safety perimeter is taken into account.

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