The automotive industry is one of the lungs of the economy and was one of the first to modernize by including robotics. Vehicle ranges tend to expand, and the lifespan of a model is getting shorter and shorter. which leads principals and their subcontractors to rethink the industrial model. The objective is to be reactive and efficient in the industrialization of new sub-assemblies.
Industrialists have a constant challenge to take up: to do quickly and to do well.
For this, they can rely on robotics to achieve these objectives. For each subset produced, mechanical operations must be carried out such as:
These operations cannot be carried out by operators for physical and too repetitive reasons. Robotics acts there as support and aid for operations rather than replacing employees. Thanks to these technologies, companies see their reactivity, flexibility and profitability naturally increased while minimizing the risks of accident, error and absenteeism.
The multitude of references also means equipping more tools, programs, etc. Here too, robotics add value by reducing the number of tools and making it easier to adjust when changing series.
Please note, not all applications allow the integration of robotics, firstly because it still represents a cost (Hardware + mechanical environment and security + programming) and secondly because the technology brings only too little added value.
There has to be a compromise between technicality and volume / cadence. Indeed, in a country like France where the cost of labor is considerably high, it will be more relevant to install robotic systems to provide reliability, durability and precision.
Obviously you have to calculate the ROI and assess the relevance of the investment. Robotics can also be part of a long-term investment policy and not just a project.
That is to say, a robot is recyclable, it can be dedicated to a limited-time market, which is often found in the automotive industry, and then be reused for another application. The lifespan of a robot, provided it evolves in a healthy environment, is properly maintained and not overworked, can range from fifteen to twenty years.
A robot becomes relevant to integrate when certain operations require several movements, positions, when the application is multi-product. A robot will mainly be used for "handling", that is to say, picking up parts, removing parts (Pick & Place). But also for arc welding, assemblies, vision control.
As soon as a process will produce different references, the integration of robots is relevant for the simplicity of change of series and adjustment. In addition, this facilitates settings and restarts.
THE TYPES OF ROBOTS THAT WE FIND IN THE AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY
The assembly line robots are of course the most famous. But they are not the only ones. We find a plethora of applications among subcontractors, whether manufacturers of parts or sub-assemblies. Here are some examples of applications associated with a type of robot:
Cartesian robots, scara, delta, 6 axes or even 7 axes, it is important to study the kinematics of the process in order to choose the type of robot to integrate. Naturally, the purchase and integration costs differ depending on the type of robot.
INTEGRATE A ROBOT WELL
Of course, the vast majority of companies using robots call on experts who can be pure integrators or manufacturers of special machines.
The latter have the experience and the skills for the success of a robotic integration and will be able to support you on the one hand in the definition of the specifications, but also in the choice of the robot (The high speed, the precision, the simplicity programming ...) each robot manufacturer has its strengths.
The robot's environment is to be studied and taken into account. This will allow the robot to be placed correctly along the routes in order to spare the axes and simplify programming. A robot can be placed on the wall, ceiling or on a chassis plinth or directly on the ground for heavy lifters. The design of the frames and chassis must take into account the forces and inertia generated by the movements, accelerations and braking of the robot. Finally, security is not to be neglected, if we remove Cobots or collaborative robots which by nature are "secure" in their movements but not necessarily at the level of the tool (Milling cutter, pliers, blade ...), a "classic" robot must be secure.
A housing or physical protection if no human intervention is necessary during the process, or an approved immaterial security can be used, barriers, sensors. However, the installation distances between the immaterial system and the position of the robot must be respected in order to comply with the standards in force in order to obtain the necessary certifications and be able to apply the CE marking.