To survive in today’s competitive automobile market, one need to opt for automation; and when we think of automation, we think of robots. With the improving technology, today’s robots are capable of lifting heavier, working faster and reaching further than ever before. A leading car manufacturer in the country wanted to make use of such capabilities of a modern robot in their BIW line.
Being the industry experts in BIW automation, DiFACTO took up this project and faced the following challenges in the duration of the project:
With the advent of lean manufacturing, assembly lines are becoming compact, as a result, more and more robots end up working in a common work space. The challenge faced during the initial simulation stage, was to find a suitable place to put a new robot in an already cramped line and make it work in harmony with the rest of the cell.
Robot Working Area Constraint
The robot was meant to transport the chassis of a family van from one station to another; the part to be handled was huge in terms of size, and shifting such a huge component required large working space for the robot. Operating space being the major constraint, this application presented itself with numerous challenges for the simulation and programming team.
Robot Selection Constraint
In most cases a suitable robot for a particular application is decided during the simulation stage; but in this case, DiFACTO had to use the spare robot available with the customer. This called for meticulous study of the robot reach and the indepth analysis of the payload suitability to the application.
Time has always been an important factor in working with any organization. With limited time, proving the entire project was indeed a herculean task.
Keeping the above things in mind, the execution of the project began with a thorough study on robot placement, using sophisticated simulation tools; followed by a comprehensive simulation study. Once a suitable path was achieved, an OLP (Offline Program) was generated using the same tool used for simulation. DiFACTO also modified the gripper design to compensate for the payload constraints. The whole activity was then documented and sent for customer approval. With the customer’s approval, the programming team completed the on-site activity within the set time.
DiFACTO’s Value Adding Activities
- Use of high end virtual environment tools, meant that the customer could get a clear picture of the completed cell even before the concept was finalized.
- Sophisticated simulation tools enabled most of the robot related teaching activity to be completed offline, on a computer, which meant that there was no need for the customer to halt his production for such activities.
- Powerful post processors were used to generate accurate OLP (Offline Programs) for the robot, which aided the on-site programming team during installation. This also translated to fewer re-teaching of the robot program, to match the actual site conditions.
- The on-site team, with their vast experience in BIW application, knew what to expect for such a project and kept the customer well informed on required tools, equipment etc., as a result, the on-site activity was completed within the stipulated time.