The success of SCARA, 6-Axis and Cartesian robots in the plastics sector
Integrating industrial robots into your plastics plant can be one of the most cost effective methods of improving profitability.
Furthermore, because of Toshiba Machine’s history in the manufacture of equipment, such as injection moulding machines, for the sector it is perfectly placed to provide automation to compliment such machines.
Like most of manufacturing, the plastics industry is facing demands to lower costs and increase output.
TM Robotics Ltd,
Industrial Robotics solution
TM Robotics believes that its range of industrial robots, manufactured to the highest standards by Toshiba Machine, can be part of the solution for the European plastics industry.
However, there is no question that the UK plastics industry lags behind Europe in its uptake of industrial robots. Despite this, there are certain niches where this kind of automation is succeeding. For instance, downstream automation is proving to be a growth area. Here the versatility and flexibility of a SCARA robot makes it an ideal complement to an injection-moulding machine.
Other industrial robot applications that have proved successful in plastics plants range from pick and place of component parts to packaging of end products. TM Robotics has even been involved in a number of dispensing, metering and measurement projects using Cartesian robots.
The project involved developing a gluing system that would eliminate ‘lag’ in glue dispensing applications for plastics adhesion. Lag is the term used when a droplet of glue is accidentally deposited in the corner of an object when the dispensing robot changes direction. This application used a Cartesian linear actuator to dispense glue into camera mouldings. The dispensing head was comprised of an air-operated cylinder, which pushes glue forward onto two pistons. The glue then moves through a mixer and is dispensed onto the application.
Another innovation that is proving particularly useful to plastics manufacturers is the ceiling mount option that is available on all Toshiba Machine SCARA robots. This helps manufacturers save space, increase output and reduce costs.
Leading Toshiba Machine’s suite of ceiling mounted industrial robots is the TH450 SCARA, which saves space in the cell by allowing access to the working area from above. The TH450 is amongst the quickest SCARA robots of its size on the market and achieves cycle times of less than 0.3 seconds. Arm lengths of 450mm and a payload of 5kg complement the TH450’s enhanced speed capability while repeatability is an impressive ±0.01mm.
However, the success of our ceiling mount robots, as well as our other machines, has largely come as the result of work with medium sized manufacturers. Clearly, this is partly the effect of larger companies being driven out of the UK and Western Europe in search of cheaper workforces and facilities. However, I would also put this forward as anecdotal evidence that the smaller end of the European plastics
Photo 1. TH 450.