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20+ collaborative robots automating manufacturing tasks

Updated: Nov 2, 2022

Excitement and electricity ignited IMTS, the largest manufacturing event in the western hemisphere! Productive Robotics was excited to participate and showcase next generation collaborative robot automation for addressing workforce shortages, increasing productivity, and optimizing efficiency.

With the launch of our two new robotic welding systems and demonstrations of over 20 automated tasks, we offered small jobs and larger manufacturers cobot solutions to propel their businesses forward.

Showcasing CNC machine tending, deburring, part marking, gluing, inspection, packing, and material handling, there was something for every business - whether a small job shop or large company. If you didn't get a chance to make it to the show, we've got you covered. Here's a recap of 20+ collaborative robot automation tasks Productive Robotics showcased at IMTS:

All-In-One Robotic Welding — We kicked off IMTS by introducing two products: All-in-one robotic welding systems for high production automated welding. Blaze Duo and Blaze LF offer different stations with advantages for high production welding.

Blaze Duo is a dual station robot welder. With automated doors separating two identical weld stations, Blaze Duo minimizes downtime by allowing operators to safely set up one job while the robot is welding another. With Blaze Vision monitoring, you can view direct video monitoring of welding, in progress.

Blaze Large Format (LF) has an 8ft long table, providing unrestricted access on all sides for placing large objects and easily loading and unloading components.

Both welding systems provide a complete welding solution, and come with an OB7-Stretch robot arm and built-in components such as fume extraction and LED lighting. The sealed enclosures provide enhanced safety, increased consistency, and more arc-on time welding.

CNC Machine Tending — With labor shortages sweeping the manufacturing industry, automating CNC machine loading is a huge advantage for shops to fill the labor gap and optimize productivity. At IMTS, we demonstrated our popular $5/hour mill and lathe packages for CNC machine tending. The all-inclusive packages come with any of our robot models (OB7, OB-Stretch, OB-Max 12, and OB7-Max 8) and all the accessories needed to connect a CNC machine.

We demonstrated OB7 machine loading on a Johnford SV-40 Mill and a Quicktech T6 Lathe. Both machines were provided by Productive Robotics' industry partner and distributor, Absolute Machine Tools. With fast installation, zero programming, and affordable packages, setting up a CNC job is simple and fast.

Test Drive Center — The number one question we get asked is "How difficult is it to program?" The answer is you don't. At our Test-Drive center, attendees had the chance to experience for themselves what we mean by "No Programming" and how simple it is to teach OB7. Simply move OB7 to a position and it learns. Attendees were in awe at OB7's simplicity and intuitiveness.

OB Vision — Traditional teaching not enough? We showcased OB Vision - our commonsense and automatic approach to robot vision. OB Vision eliminates the need for fixturing or part-presentation and is suitable for applications such as table top picking, packing, or CNC machine loading. Built upon our "No Programming" robot teaching approach, OB Vision is simple. With a press of a button, you can easily teach OB7 to identify objects and pick them up.

Deburring — The manual loading & unloading of deburring or grinding machines is labor intensive. We showcased a simple automated deburring setup where OB7 deburrs a grid of machined parts using a Scotch-Brite belt and a 3m radial bristle brush. Using the compliance of the bristle brush OB7 is able to deburr the machined part without active force feedback. The amount of material that is taken off during the deburring process can be tuned by increasing the number of passes the OB7 makes with the part or by changing the deburring motor's speed. With these quickly adjustable parameters the deburring process can be easily tuned in to give you the desired part finish.

Gluing & Dispensing — Cobots provide the flexibility and efficiency to reduce waste and increase accuracy in gluing, sealing, and other dispensing applications. We showcased a gluing demo where OB7 grabs from a stack of unfinished bearing plates and loads them into the workstation tooling that holds the plate in position for the dispensing operation. Using a dual gripper head - one Productive Robotics Parallel Gripper and one Robot27 dispensing head, OB7 moved unfinished parts into the workstation tooling, and then rotated to use the dispensing head and applied adhesive to a bearing plate.

Part Marking — A common added process to part manufacturing is serializing or part marking. We demonstrated two part marking demos showcasing the Patmark-Robot EOAT part marking system by Tocho America to serialize a grid of parts on a table and a MarkinBOX MB1010 table top system to add information to steel bottle openers. An application like serializing or part marking is very common while waiting on another machine, such as a CNC for example.

Packing — Packing with collaborative robots alleviate workers from repetitive work and heavy lifting. We demonstrated a packing demo using OB7's intuitive software. OB7 packed parts off a conveyor using our own integrated vision system, OB Vision, to see the parts on the conveyor. The Schmalz suction gripper allowed for a self contained system to grab the parts off the conveyor and load them deep down into a box without any external tubing. OB7's intuitive, no-programming interface makes it perfect for packing applications as well as other material handling tasks.

Material Handling — We demonstrated a material handling application with sheet metal. Using a vacuum end effector from Schmalz, OB7 moved sheets of metal from pallet stacks to a simulated turret punch and then placed the finished parts back onto a finish pallet. This sort of cell could be used to automate many different material handling applications.

Inspection — Automated quality inspection allows manufacturers to increase consistency while offering precision in quality control. Using a Cognex camera and software, we demonstrated inspection of a cylinder. OB7 moved the inspection camera from view point to view point to visually inspect the cylinder head for multiple critical dimensions. OB7 provides consistent and repeatable movement to follow exact processes and workflows for inspection, allowing you to achieve high product quality.

Attendees didn't have to be at our booth to see OB7 in action. With collaboration partners at IMTS, attendees could witness OB7 at other booths utilizing a range of different equipment and systems.

Absolute Machine Tools, our industry partner for the CNC Machine Tools industry, showcased a range of automated solutions at their booth, including an OB7 tending a Wire EDM machine. They also had a test-drive center where attendees could teach OB7 on the spot and discover its ease of use.

Tocho America demonstrated their Patmark-Robot Pin Marking Solution working with OB7. The demonstration had two separate steps, a Pick & Place process with a gripper, and Pin Marking a variety of programs: Logos, Serial numbers, 2D codes, & basic text. This proved the process of loading and unloading parts, while providing the ability to identify parts.

Scytec showcased the ability to monitor OB7 collaborative robot and provide real-time status and performance metrics utilizing their DataXchange software. The demo involved OB7 moving raw material to a production loading area and show in real time when raw material will need to be replenished reflected on the Scytec DataXchange Real Time system.

Air Vise, provider of workholding solutions, showcased two of their Table Air Vises and Auto Inverter in action with OB7. The demo shows OB7 working in tandem with two Air Vises loading material for a machine tending operation. Each Air Vise is controlled individually by OB7 to ensure proper clamping on the material. With every cycle a raw piece of material can be loaded into the machine and completed part can be taken out.

Meeting hundreds and thousands of attendees at IMTS was an unforgettable experience. We were fortunate to engage and establish new connections with small to medium sized businesses. We welcome our new customers and encourage prospective customers to reach out about our easy-to-implement, Made In America, collaborative robot automation solutions.

For more information about OB7 collaborative robots, please visit our website or contact us at (805) 244-9300. We look forward to seeing you all at the next tradeshow!

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