FANUC Robotics – vision engineering solution
FANUC Robotics, one of the world’s leading companies in factory automation, has integrated cameras onto its robotic arms. This “vision engineering system” effectively enables a robot to see an object’s location, orientation, measurement and identity giving the robot the flexibility to handle items of different shapes and size at the same time. On a fast moving production line the expensive camera can be vulnerable to damage. FANUC came to 3T looking for a housing that offered good protection whilst retaining quick access to the camera.
FANUC had previously used a stainless steel housing which gave the necessary protection but didn’t provide easy access. 3T worked with FANUC to design a housing that not only protected the camera but also gave quick release access to the camera when routine adjustments were required.
The result has delivered improvements on a number of levels:
- The new housing allows for maintenance and recalibration to be undertaken in a much shorter time.
- There has also been a significant cost reduction – the plastic additive manufactured components being approximately a third cheaper than its fabricated stainless steel predecessor.
- The weight of the housing has been reduced which is always a benefit in any robotic arm system.
Oliver Selby Design Engineer at FANUC Robotics says: “By using plastic additive manufacturing, we have achieved more benefits than we originally anticipated. We have seen that we can rapidly produce lightweight and cost effective parts and plan to extend our use of this technology.”
Automation companies across the UK are now starting to utilise additive manufactured products for low to medium volume applications as the materials and technology utilised become recognised as suitable for end use applications.