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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Basic Concepts: Industrial Robots and FMS

Industrial Robots and FMS

 picture source:
          Industrial robots and flexible manufacturing system (FMS) share a common characteristic: “Flexibility”. The two technologies are not, however, interchangeable: robots can be an element of FMS but are not , of themselves, flexible manufacturing system. Robot as an element can perform a number of operations such us work piece, fixture and pallet handling function, inspections, cleaning, tool changing (AGV to transport racks of cutting tools between robot tool changer and the tool room), deburring, finishing etc. within the flexible system. Robots can also be used in flexible assembly system, performing insertion, inspection, fastening and dispensing tasks.
          FMS is a computer – integrated group or cluster of multiple NC machines or work stations linked together by work transfer devices, for the complete automatic processing of differing product parts or the assembly of parts into differing units. The work stations or manufacturing cells will be located along a central material transfer system, such as conveyor, on which a variety of different work pieces and parts are moving. When a specific work piece approaches the required cell on the conveyor, the corresponding robot will pick it and load it into a CNC machine in the cell. After processing in that cell, the robot will return the semi finished or finished part to the conveyor. The part will move on the conveyor until it approaches a subsequent cell in which its processing can be continued. The corresponding robot will pick up and load into the machine. This sequence will be repeated along the conveyor, until at the end only finished parts will be moving. Then they can be routed to an automatic inspection station and subsequently unloaded from the FMS. The co-ordination among the cell and the flow of parts will be accomplished under the supervision of the central computer.
         The designer of any effective FMS ought to consider:
a.       a. How will the system receive its instructions as which products and how many to make?
b.      b. What the technical information will be required so that the system generates the required geometry and other physical characteristics?
c.       c. How will material, tooling and consumables be provisioned?
d.      d. What happens when something goes wrong or changes?
          The long term evolution of FMS is toward the automatic factory, but the potential of an FMS especially the one making maximum use of robotics, is to drive batch manufacturing efficiencies to near the level of transfer line automation. The improvement in efficiency in metal cutting and related process may be of the order of 60 to 80 percent.
by:  Kumar Surender, Dr and Mukherjee, K. S. Dr  : from: robotic and engineering book

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