Collaborative Robots Open New Horizons in Quality Control Processes

By : Darrell Adams | Tuesday, November 10 2020 - 10:30 IWST

Darrell Adams, Head of Southeast Asia & Oceania, Universal Robots (Photo by LinkedIn)
Darrell Adams, Head of Southeast Asia & Oceania, Universal Robots (Photo by LinkedIn)

INDUSTRY.co.id - Today, with manufacturing in real need of flexible solutions, applications of the latest human and robot collaboration are highly demanded. Across different sectors and regulatory environments, all manufacturers need to ensure consistency of product. Conducting inspections on business-critical systems ensures that the loss of quality and production stoppages are prevented. Collaborative robots (cobots) offer suitable solutions to manufacturers. Hence, cobot-based quality control and inspection systems that can transition between different end products in very little time has become very attractive.

Flexible operation with cobots

Manufacturers are constantly striving to meet the quality control demands of high-mix and low volume production runs. Easy to incorporate into existing production lines and a cinch to program, UR cobots are uniquely positioned to deliver results in fast-moving quality control environments. With the ability to shift from pick and place and handling roles to inspection tasks quickly, cobots are easily reconfigured to inspect new parts. This makes cobots the perfect technology for both future-proofing inspection processes and ensuring business continuity in difficult times. This operational flexibility extends to human-robot collaboration. Human-robot teams will improve the accuracy of quality control operations while human workers can be reassigned to more interesting tasks.

One of the world’s largest manufacturers of bathroom accessories and auto parts, Xiamen Runner Industrial Corporation in China, has installed 64 UR robots to upgrade the efficiency of the production process. Before deploying UR robots, most operations at Runner Corporation were manual with operator fatigue posing risks on both safety and product yield. The company was devoted to developing a highly efficient, flexible, and reliable production line. Ever since the deployment of UR robots, Runner Corporation has witnessed a sharp increase in its product yield while redeployment of staff positions effectively helped reduce the company’s employee turnover rate. The UR robots enabled automated production with unprecedented flexibility.

Improvement of quality and productivity on production lines

Meanwhile, Japan-based Koyo Electronics Industries, a member of the JTEKT Group who boasts the world’s top share in the automotive steering bearings, deployed UR robots to improve quality and productivity. The company has been consistently involved in the development, manufacturing, and sales of electronic equipment since its establishment in 1955, continuing to create products that surpass reliability and functionality standards. In the production of products that require strict quality, the challenge has become how to increase productivity according to an increase in demand.

As such, UR3 cobot was introduced in the touch panel quality inspection process. The cobot works with higher accuracy and stability as compared to human workers, this drives improvement in the quality of work. In fact, for in-vehicle products that require strict quality standards, productivity has also increased 31 percent due to the operational stability of the cobot. The experience from implementing UR cobots has built confidence and high hopes for future development within Koyo Electronics.

Easier quality control (QC) related cobot deployments

UR cobots are proven technologies for quality inspection applications and success stories like these abound. With the launch of the new UR+ Application Kit platform, designed to help manufacturers streamline cobot deployments by providing proven software and hardware for the most popular cobot applications, QC-related cobot deployments are made easier with the addition of kits such as the Q-Span Workstation Kit. The Workstation is a flexible solution for quality control measurement inspection developed by UR partners at New Scale Robotics. The system's measurement resolution of 2.5 µm (0.0001 inches) enables manufacturers to improve precision, consistency, yield, and quality in small-part measurement.

As customer expectations and demand increases, manufacturers aim to maintain quality standards and focus on delivering products efficiently without sacrificing quality. Whether manufacturers are looking for a way to ensure business continuity or shifting production to new products with different inspection requirements, cobots are ready to help make automated quality control processes easier to deploy and more efficient than ever.

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