Robots have become pervasive in manufacturing worldwide. According to the Association for Advancing Automation (A3), the North American robotics market has set new records this year, which aligns with the global trend that also shows rapid growth.
As manufacturers, integrators and engineers apply Robots of many styles to more process activities there is one prevailing element: the Robot is normally fixed permanently to the floor, machine structure or workspace. Mounting the Robot is understandably necessary, but limits the work envelope to the reach of the Robot. If the Robot is 100% utilized providing valuable process automation 24/7 365 days a year, then fixed mounting is practical, and not a limitation. But that’s rarely the case. If the Robot has idle time and can perform additional operations, then the ability to move the Robot should be explored to maximize capabilities and ROI optimization.
There are several RTU options, and selecting the best system to enhance your capabilities and utilization requires answering a few simple questions:
What’s the desired Payload Capacity?
What are your moment loading requirements?
What’s the optimal speed for the solution?
What are the tolerances for Accuracy & Repeatability?
What are the travel requirements?
There are several ways you can increase utilization of your automation infrastructure:
An RTU (Robot Transport Unit) also known as a Robot positioning track or “seventh axis” (when used with a 6 axis Robot), is a practical solution to add linear movement and positioning to a Robot system. Using an RTU extends the work envelope, increases the number and types of activities performed, and increases potential utilization rates and minimizes the need to invest in in additional Robots.
In its simplest form, an RTU is a linear track with a platform. The Robot is mounted to the platform and moved along the track. RTUs may be mounted to floors, walls or overhead depending on work cell requirements. There are many methods used to drive the linear motion, including:
A motor and drive system is often coupled to the machine control system and some Robots can communicate directly with an RTU.
Since 1987, Isotech has been designing and engineering advanced automation solutions for a broad range of industries, including automotive, medical, packaging, food processing, semiconductors, electronics and more. Isotech can be a single source automation or mechanical motion supplier or work with systems integrators, military and government contractors. Specializing in engineering multi-axis motion systems, gantries, and robot transport units built to customer specifications.
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