The increasing use of technical plastics for complex components, especially within the automotive and medical device industries, has led to a growing demand for more sophisticated automation solutions. ATM has embraced these challenges and developed a full product offering that now covers everything from a simple gripper, through to a complex fully automated assembly cell often incorporating multiple technologies.
In the 1980s the typical automation system supplied by ATM would include a 3 axis Cartesian robot, gripper, conveyor and safety guarding. By comparison, systems supplied by ATM today, for the manufacture of contact lenses, will incorporate rotary indexing systems, precision fixturing, six-axis robots, vision systems for inspection plus additional processes specific to the application, all driven and monitored using a PLC or PC based control system.
ATM still sees a demand for its range of ES three-axis Cartesian robot systems, however even this type of robot is being integrated into ever more sophisticated systems. The company’s range of six and seven-axis robots compliment the Cartesian systems offering greater flexibility for: access into hard to reach areas, component re-orientation and assembly tasks.
The benefits of six-axis technology can be seen in a recent system supplied by ATM for the production of automotive components. Here the robot performs multiple operations including component manipulation, picking parts from vibratory bowl feeders and insertion operations.
Even in manual assembly applications, the requirements to guarantee quality, consistency and traceability mean that the once simple assembly workstation now often incorporates a range of technologies such as barcode scanners, vision inspection systems and label printers in addition to intelligent component fixturing. These features combine to provide the levels of Poka Yoke demanded for example by the automotive industry.
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