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Industrial Automation with the Help of End of Arm Tooling for Manufacturers

September 8th, 2017

Different engineering principles dictate how end of arm tooling systems work within a manufacturing environment. Certainly, we can say with some conviction a particular manufacturer will require a proprietary set of effectors. Conversely, a processing line that doesn’t adhere to this operational model is free to manipulate a payload in a simpler manner. Hold on, though, for we’re muddying the issue when an example could quickly illustrate the scene much more efficiently.

Illustrating the End of Arm Manufacturing Difference 

A robotic arm rotates its armature at speed. Torque is available in that arm, so it snaps down, pivots by ninety-degrees and tightens a line of fasteners on a car chassis. This is a typical application where industrial automation leverages the capabilities of a robotic end of arm tool. But what if that arm wasn’t operating a special tool? Over at another processing plant, it’s bottle caps that are experiencing the torque, so no proprietary tools are required. These effectors clamp and rotate, then they tighten. At a packaging facility, it’s the same thing. Packaging labels are being fixed to rigid sheets of cardboard. These are not specialist tools. On the contrary, this type of end of arm tooling mimics the movements of the human hand.

Primary Industrial Automation Extensibility 

Servo wrists manipulate panels of glass while the end-arm effectors use pneumatic force to hold the fragile material in place. They’re the first, second, and third extra hands that break the standardized handling model we associate with a manual setup. Spot welding tools and drill bits are fitted to other manufacturing arms. They sequentially drill holes, weld seams, and fasten metal frames. A child-like perspective of this industrial automation layout would draw pictures of robot hands holding powered tools, just like some exotic science-fiction epic, but true end of arm tooling products take a more, shall we say, direct route to this futuristic setup by amalgamating the industrial tools and the end-arm flanges that blur the line between a servo wrist and a tooling effector.

Industrial automation systems embed state-of-the-art arrays in and around the factory floor. These are the collision detector sensors and multi-axis sensory hubs that act as the eyes and ears of every industrial automation complex. Finally, all of those cutting tools and spot welding equipment lines require maintenance. A manual maintenance program is one option, and this equipment care strategy yields acceptable results. However, there are also robotic tool changers available, and these effector components go some way towards imbuing the equipment with semi-autonomous power.

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