Technical Article

Robotic Laser Welding

Laser Robotic Welding System is a six axis robotic laser welding system for multiple ultra-precise laser marking with low operating cost. The Robotic Welding System of model Fibo 6X operates on fibre laser with a wave length of 1064 nm. Sahajanand Laser Technology Limited is manufacturing Laser Robotic Welding System.

Key Features of Laser Robotic Welding System :
Micro Weld, Consistently high weld quality, Consistent pulse overlap on seam welds, Fill the area - several parallel offset welds, Semi-automatic weld with intuitive joystick path teaching, High pulse to pulse stability for fine micro weld, Easy, intuitive parameter setting even for beginners, Stable Laser Beam Quality for better marking quality, Suitable for automatic production, Precise welding - small laser point 3D welding possible, 1mm to 10mm Sheet welding, Depth / Width ratio is high, Heat affected on material is less, Higher speed with low Distortion, No air bubbles, Reduced impurities, Higher strength of welding line, Can weld two varieties of metals together, Laser Type: Fibre Laser, Laser Wavelength: 1064 nm Average Power: 1 to 6 KW, Positional Repeatability: 0.06 mm, Number of Axis: 6 nos.

Dimension Height: 1584 mm, Manipulator bases: 732 X 600 mm, Power consumption: 200-600V/ 50Hz, Supply Transformer: 4 KVA/ 7.8 KVA, Materials: Stainless Steel, Mild Steel and Aluminium, Arc Welding, Assembly, Cleaning, Cutting or Deburring, Glueing/Sealing, Grinding/Polishing.

Sahajanand Laser Technology Limited supplies a wide range of machines for laser cutting, marking, welding, micro machining, solar cell scribing or cutting, diamond processing etc. The Laser Robotic Welding System comes in stainless steel, mild steel and aluminium construction with a transformer of 4 KVA/ 7.8 KVA.

Sahajanand Laser Technology Ltd.
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The Growth of Industrial Robotics

The confluence of several advanced technologies is bringing the age of robotics ever nearer. Today's industrial robots are smaller, cheaper, more practical and cost-effective and are chalking up major gains in the automation industry.

Many analysts are predicting that the industrial robotics market will experience worldwide growth over the next several years. The major growth drivers are robots replacing humans in preprogrammed tasks. Modern multiple axis technology allows several tasks to be performed at the same time, improving both effectiveness and efficiency.

New waves of industrial robots are replacing workers around the world in manufacturing and distribution operations. There is an enormous change on the horizon; the potential is significant, because robots offer not only improved cost-effectiveness, but also advantages and capabilities that have never before been possible.

Industrial manufacturing end-users are making big investments in robots primarily from the viewpoint of faster manufacturing cycle times and vastly improved quality. Today, even small and medium-sized factories are considering robotics solutions for more efficient customized production in smaller lots. Production speed plus the ability to customize are primary advantages.

Technology Leap
Industrial robots have three aspects - bone (linkages), brawn (motive power) and brain (intelligence). While technology advances continue to improve the first two (e.g. improved materials; powerful, light-weight motors), the third aspect yields revolutionary performance. For example, for more precise guidance, robots often contain machine-vision subsystems acting as "eyes." Rapid improvements in vision and touch technologies are putting within the abilities of robots a wide array of previously completely manual jobs. Improved sensing and related artificial intelligence are becoming increasingly important factors from which new growth inflection points will emerge.

Future robot systems are not mere extrapolations of today's technology. Completely new applications arenas are generated through revolutionary sensors and artificial-intelligence extensions, achieving vastly improved levels of manufacturing competence. These kinds of robotics are becoming key components in the digital factory of the future.

Robots versus Human Labor
With availability of relatively inexpensive labor in India, China and other countries where wages are significantly below western equivalents, some think that the use of manufacturing robots is not economically feasible. But, that's not so. Robots can perform tasks that humans cannot do.

China has been the expanding base of low-cost manufacturing for the world. In China, millions of robots are already replacing low-paid migrant workers on electronics assembly lines. The eventual labor shift is similar to the decline of seamstresses, or secretarial pools in advanced countries. In India too, as the country develops its manufacturing prowess, growth will emerge not only from automobile manufacturing (where it is already firmly established) but also from electronics assembly and other industrial markets where robotics are the key ingredients of competitiveness.

In the last decade the performance of robots has increased radically while at the same time prices have been plummeting. Prices relative to labor costs have fallen significantly, especially if quality improvements are taken into consideration. Today, manufacturing robots have payback periods as short as 1-2 years. This compares very favorably with hiring and training new production employees.

Typical electronics assembly manufacturing applications include jobs such as pick-and-place surface-mount electronic assembly. Robots perform this kind of work much faster, and with much better accuracy than any human assemblers. In addition, production inspection, testing, packaging, palletizing, welding, painting – all accomplished with superior speed and precision that cannot be matched by human workers.

For quality, consistency and speed, humans cannot match most manufacturing robots. Robots have become so accurate and reliable that they can be applied where manual operations are no longer a viable option. A new wave of robots, far more adept than those already commonly used by automakers and other heavy manufacturers, are replacing workers around the world in both manufacturing and distribution.

Robot Design & Production
The size of the Indian robotics market is large, and expected to grow substantially in the years to come. Most of the current market growth is in the automotive industry. At Tata Motors, India's biggest auto manufacturer, the production force has come down by 20% while turnover has increased 250%. Tata's Pune plant alone has invested in 100 robots, and the automaker keeps adding more. Currently, there are only a handful of large industrial robotics manufacturers in the world – the list includes ABB, Fanuc, Kuka, Motoman (Yaskawa) and a sprinkling of other not-so-well-known companies.

ABB, one of the top three global robot manufacturers, has sold several hundreds of robots in India in the past decade. The Swiss-based company expects double-digit growth in India from now on because of the rapid expansion of automobile companies, and also growth in electronics manufacturing. India already supplies peripherals for making ABB robots, apart from doing local applications engineering. ABB had doubled the number of employees in India and has set up demonstration centers in Pune, Bangalore and Chennai and service centers in many more cities. Growth in Indian markets has prompted ABB to consider setting up an Indian manufacturing center.

The bulk of India's robotics business is industrial, and that's growing because end-user companies keep pushing to reduce costs. India is emerging as a hub for production of industrial robots – many American, Korean and Japanese firms are already expanding fast in India.

The markets for industrial robots are gathering momentum in India as automobile companies and electronics assembly manufacturers expand their operations in the country. Because of rapid market growth in India, smaller established robotics companies are growing and there are notable new company startups.

Not satisfied with just local market expansion, the best India-based robotics companies are looking for good export growth over the next few years. They are expecting that their India-developed industrial robots will also find expanding international markets based on price and performance. Industrial Robotics is on the cusp of completely changing global manufacturing and distribution operations. India is developing a strong position in this growing market.
Jim Pinto is an industry analyst and commentator, writer, technology futurist. He is open to speaking "The Growth of Industrial Robotics".

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Review his prognostications and predictions on his website : http://www.JimPinto.com
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The Source of Poor Project Management Identified

Mark Woeppel, President and CEO of Pinnacle Strategies insists, “Companies have a habit of dealing with the fallout of project management disasters after they happen, rather than identifying and implementing a workable solution before problems arise.”

Poor engineering project processes invariably result in late placement of purchase orders, affecting product delivery; late award of installation contracts, affecting service dates as well as construction cost overruns to catch up. Too often these impacts cause a compromise in scope or features promised and a delay in the delivery of project.

Woeppel believes, “The focus should be on fixing the cause, not the symptom of the problem. We have learned that the root cause of most project management problems is found in how people manage the uncertainty inherent in projects.”

Automating Project Management
The most common approach used when dealing with project completion uncertainty is adding safety time into each of the task duration estimates during the planning phase. Often so much time is added to individual tasks that “safety time” comprises the majority of the planned project duration. Fixing the project task estimation strategy is not enough.

A similar improper response to uncertainty can be found in project execution.
Many uncontrollable factors make it nearly impossible to determine the actual progress of any project. “Faced with the risk of delivering behind schedule, project managers oscillate between extremes of control. Some will micromanage(managing the due dates of every task). Others will be too hands off (thinking that there is plenty of padding in task estimates). Still others will get so lost in project minutiae they overlook important red-light indicators of deadline problems,” warned Woeppel.

In spite of conservatively estimated project durations, the presence of certain behaviors, cause timelines to increase. Managers feel they must protect their own performance, in many organizations task estimates are not treated as 'estimates,' they are treated as 'commitments.' Once the people doing the work have conservatively (long)estimated their tasks, the estimates are then passed through several layers of management where they are increased even more. Everyone wants to honor their commitments, thus they pad their estimates of the project's duration to ensure that they can. RABIT is a proprietary process of Pinnacle Strategies which addresses these entrenched problems and solves them with a strategy known as Critical Chain Project Management. RABIT is an acronym for Rapid Analysis and Bottleneck Improvement Team. When project deadlines are falling like dominoes and problems are multiplying manufacturers need a RABIT. When systemic problems remain unaddressed, every deadline is in constant jeopardy. Each failure to deliver a project as promised, impacts the bottom-line; it also impacts client satisfaction, reputation, and repeat customers.

Woeppel specifies the timing, “RABITs are fast. They need to have an immediate impact on project due dates and resource productivity. The methodology uses a proven built-from-within 'focused team' approach to make a significant impact on project management results in a very short period of time.” The process identifies project bottlenecks and implements a strategy that relieves them quickly...usually in a matter of weeks.

The immediate effects of the RABIT process improve the performance of a bottleneck area, to reduce or eliminate work backlog, and sustain the improved throughput levels. The long-term effect of the RABIT process produces a paradigm shift in team behavior...a permanent change for the better that propels the team towards improved productivity and the company towards profitability.

Unlike most process improvement methodologies which include metrics and promise little, Woeppel promises 20% more output in two months.

BECKHOFF Multi-Touch Panel Series Offers Maximum Flexibility In A Modern Design

The new Beckhoff CP2xxx and CP3xxx Control Panel and Panel PC series feature integrated modern display technology such as multi-touch and widescreen formats. The product development also took into account conventional operating concepts, in order to cover the widest possible range of applications. The result is a highly versatile and modular panel system, leaving little to be desired in terms of format, function, size and model variety.

In addition to the functionality and productivity of machines, their overall appearance is becoming an increasingly important sales argument. All along, the functionality and productivity of a machine were the primary needs in mind for the CP2xxx and CP3xxx series. Nevertheless, the overall appearance of a machine is becoming an increasingly important sales argument for the machine manufacturers. Therefore, there is a trend developing where modern machines are being designed by renowned industrial designers. The HMI panel, as the front end and “face” of the machine, also has to take account of this trend: a modern operating panel, including the screen interface, becomes a critical distinguishing feature in comparison with competitors' machines. Of course, a modern HMI must offer fast and intuitive operation, i.e. the operating concept must be functional, in order to reduce the setup time, e.g. during a tool change, by enabling fast adjustment of all required parameters. Authorization of the machine operator with the aid of an optional integrated RFID reader, instead of manual PIN input, can speed up the process even further. Yet not only are the design and functionality important, the HMI panel must also be robust and suitable for industrial applications.

An ideal convergence of answers to all of these demands, the new CP2xxx and CP3xxx Panel PC series, presented by Beckhoff in November 2011 at the SPS/IPC/DRIVES fair, are an advanced operating concept with multi-touch display and timeless, elegant design. In their execution as cabinet-installed or mounting arm devices, the aluminum and stainless steel housings of the panels are extremely robust and designed for use under harsh industrial conditions. For single-touch users the new panel generation also offers significant benefits due to its optimized price-to-performance ratio: savings of up to 28% when compared with existing devices can be expected.

designed for use under harsh industrial conditions. For single-touch users the new panel generation also offers significant benefits due to its optimized price-to-performance ratio: savings of up to 28% when compared with existing devices can be expected.

Flexibility in display size and format
The new Control Panel and Panel PC series are available in a wide range display sizes and formats. In addition to the modern widescreen formats, the classic 4:3 formats are also supported. This allows users to port their existing HMI solutions to the new devices with no additional effort. All panels are available ex factory in landscape or portrait format (horizontal/vertical), to account for the fact that the portrait format is becoming increasingly popular among industrial customers.

There are new widescreen display sizes: 7-inch (with a resolution of 800 x 480), 15.6-inch (with 1366 x 768), 18.5-inch (with 1366 x 768) and 24-inch (with the full HD resolution of 1920 x 1080). In addition, the familiar display sizes, i.e. 12-inch (800 x 600), 15-inch (1024 x 768) and 19-inch (1280 x 1024) in 4:3 formats, are also available with the new product lines.

The multi-touch-capable, bright displays all feature an LED backlight. In combination with the Beckhoff controller technology, this offers several benefits: the display delivers bright, high-contrast images and is continuously dimmable. To save energy, the backlight can automatically be switched to energy-saving mode, if, for example, no touch activity is detected for 10 minutes. A good viewing angle ensures that the image is also clearly visible when viewed from the side.

Key highlights of the new Control Panel/ Panel PC series from Beckhoff :

  • Display sizes from 7-inch to 24-inch
  • Formats: 16:9, 4:3
  • Multi-touch, up to 5-finger touch with high resolution
  • High-quality aluminum housing, milled from a solid block
  • Metal perimeter protection for the display front
  • LED backlight technology
  • Landscape and portrait format
  • Built-in and compact devices
  • Control Panels with DVI/USB Extended connection
  • Panel PCs with processors ranging from Intel® Celeron® to Core™ i7
  • Cost-optimized panel design
  • Customer-specified versions

Elegant, industrial design
Beckhoff first introduced the principle of milling the panel housings from a solid aluminum block with their first Control Panel generation back in 1998. This successful concept is also the basis for the new panel series and offers many benefits: low weight, high strength, environmental resistance, versatile processing options, and full recyclability. Since no forming tools are used, Beckhoff is able to respond flexibly to customer requests with low production runs. The production process guarantees high process safety, i.e. the housings are always manufactured in consistently high quality.

The low depth and narrow housing edges make the CP2xxx and CP3xxx device series particularly elegant. Due to the fact that they are made of aluminum and stainless steel they are robust and suitable for industrial applications. A narrow, circumferential metal impact protector reliably protects the touch screen surface or the display against mechanical destruction. In addition, the all-glass surface offers maximum resistance to environmental influences. Beyond that, the new panel series fulfill the well-known Beckhoff quality criteria, such as long-term availability and high temperature resilience.

Modern multi-finger operation for industrial applications
Multi-finger touch screens are becoming increasingly popular thanks to smartphones, Windows 7 and various other consumer electronics technologies. Familiar functions from the world of touch pads, such as zooming, scrolling, object turning, flicks, etc. are now also usable for industrial applications with the Beckhoff multi-touch panels.

In order to ensure industrial compatibility,Beckhoff uses the Projective Capacitive Touch screen (PCT) technology in its multi-touch panel series. The high touch-point density enables accurate, safe and fast operation with fast response times for real-time inputs. Even a 'flowing' touch operation in minute steps is possible without screen jitter. An antireflective glass pane is used for the display front. Five-finger touch mode and automation solutions with 2-hand operation are equally possible. The integrated touch controller enables the sensitivity of the touch surface to be parameterized such that it can be handled with work gloves (e.g. latex gloves). The touch controller also prevents incorrect operation, e.g. through water drops or the ball of the thumb; these are intelligently detected and eliminated.

Single-touch mode can be set via the Windows operating system for applications where multi-touch is not required. The multi-touch function requires Windows 7 or higher.

Flexible variants from mounting arm Panel to built-in Panel PC
The new panel series are conceived both for control cabinet installation and for installation on a mounting arm. The CP2xxx built-in Panel series is implemented with IP 65 protection at the front and IP 20 at the rear. The CP3xxx Control Panels for mounting arm installation offer all-round IP 65 protection. The mounting arm design has been tried and tested over many years in the popular Beckhoff CP72xx Control Panel series. The housing design is very slender and offers high functionality, including turning and tilting functionality. The CP29xx and CP39xx series use the well-known DVI / USB Extended Technology from Beckhoff and can be operated up to 50 m away from the Industrial PC. The new device series feature USB 2.0 for fast data transmission rates.

Panel PC with the latest processor generation
The built-in devices of the CP22xx series can be equipped with the latest Intel® processor generation from the 32 nm range with the code name Sandy Bridge – better known as Intel® Core™ i3, Core™ i5 and Core™ i7 of the second generation. The processors with improved on-board graphics and new CPU architecture offer more processing power. The Panel PCs offer the basis for further efficiency improvements in PC-based control technology. The multi-core processors can be used exceptionally well, particularly when combination with TwinCAT 3, the latest version of automation software from Beckhoff, which was specially developed for multi-core processors.

Options and custom extensions
The industrial multi-touch solution makes electromechanical buttons unnecessary. The customizable function keys are integrated in the operating software. Electromechanical buttons such as emergency stop buttons, joysticks, key switches or other elements are still offered as custom extensions. Customer-specific adaptations with regard to design, key extensions or RFID increase the degree of flexibility of the multi-touch series. The comprehensive application expertise, which in the past has been realized in custom solutions, can also be integrated in the new multi-touch panel series. For enhanced functionality electromechanical buttons, switches, key switches, potentiometers, membrane keys or ring-illuminated short-stroke keys can not only be connected via the USB port, but also via EtherCAT or other fieldbuses, or directly in the TwinCAT environment, if required. In order to avoid complex wiring, the emergency stop switch can be integrated via TwinSAFE, the programmable safety solution from Beckhoff.

A USB port at the front is offered as standard, enabling direct connection of storage media, a keypad or a mouse (for commissioning). USB can also be integrated in the rear panel or in the mounting arm, in order to enable permanent connection of a scanner or similar devices, for example. Future plans include the CP32xx Panel PC series for mounting arm installation with Intel® Core™ processors, CP27xx and CP37xx with Intel® Atom™ processors and CP26xx and CP36xx devices with ARM processors. Considering all these impressive characteristics, the Beckhoff multi-touch panels not only fascinate multi-touch users, they above all solve real world industrial challenges.

Article Courtesy: Beckhoff Automation Pvt Ltd
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Automating Food Safety via FSMA Legislation

egulatory requirements are driving food safety. An implementation director at GS1 US recently shared how the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) is driving automation traceability to increase food safety. She noted, “With foodborne illnesses affecting 48 million people every year, food safety is of paramount importance to consumers and companies in the food industry — whether that be a farm, fishery, ranch, food manufacturer, processor, distributor, logistics provider, retailer or restaurant.”

In the nearly two years since signed by President Obama, FSMA has shifted the federal focus from responding to prevention. The focus of this landmark legislation was to improve the capacity of detecting and responding to food safety problems. The law and consequences for violations have necessitated food manufacturers establish a product tracking system; these processes must track and trace food as well as granting authority to use “Preventative Tools.” There are mandatory recalls included in FSMA as well as expanded access to records, administrative retention, and enhanced product tracing requirements.

According to Greg Braun, Director with Houston-based Systems Application Engineering (SAE), “Traceability at a pallet level breaks down when residual cases are combined in a slot during replenishment or when returned product is reintroduced to the picking slot.” Unlike many other technologies, Braun's firm developed the Selector Pro System which has built-in GS1 features for capturing date code and lot information at the time of pick.

Critical Compliance Issues
Paperless picking and scanned-based validation are critical in compliance. Mobile case label printing, automatic distribution of orders and real-time floor management displays result inreduced selection errors. By increasing inventory accuracy, selector performance is improved. Braun asserts, “Eliminating non-productive warehouse labor is vital in lean efficiencies and cost containment. Enabling real-time notification of product outages eliminates the need for order checkers.” Automation Solutions Eliminate the High Cost of Mis-Picks
The mis-pick rate of a leading food service company improved from 1:1,200 to an average rate of 1:12,500 with some houses averaging much higher rates. This improvement resulted in labor cost reductions, eliminating order checking personnel. Case pick data improved from 120 cases per hour to 170 cases per hour and achieved an ROI (return on investment) in less than 12 months.

Braun also referenced how a major food distributor was able to reduce training from weeks to less than a day; the same organization found that picking accuracy improved 83% and an additional 6% since upgrading to Voice Guidance (a unique hybrid, multi-modal system that combines the benefits of voice direction and the wearable display to make food safety more verifiable and validated).

Other SAE findings reveal a productivity increase of 16.32% and an additional 4.32% since upgrading to Voice Guidance. Other benefits included a dramatic reduction in shorts on trucks. This process improvement lean quality system continues to demonstrate an improved picking rate for one of the largest food service organizations, where the mis-pick rate improved from 1:2,500 cases to a company average of 1:22,500. Performance improved 9%-11% and training time required only a 10 minute overview class. The ROI was based on 1:5,600 mis-pick rate.

Challenges of Voice-only Systems
While voice recognition solutions have improved dramatically over the past decade, there is a sad truth that impacts quality and accuracy. According to Braun, “With voice-only solutions accuracy decreases as the number of characters or numbers spoken increases and memorization destroys the location verification scheme as check digits are memorized by selectors.”

Product traceability is equally challenged by voice-only solutions; new legislative initiatives for lot tracking increases recognition problems and are quickly becoming too time intensive in voice recognition only mode. Since most voice recognition systems run on a voice-only hardware platform (no display, keypad, or scanner) they lack the real-time display to guarantee accuracy.

Voice Guidance Preferred for Track & Trace
A single scan of case GS1, validates GTIN, captures weight, and lot. Systems Application Engineering holds many patents in Voice Guidance and Braun explains, “This hybrid combination is the best of both technologies, providing voice guidance for heads-up navigation and instruction, scan slot or (UPC/GS1) barcodes for product verification, as well as catch weights and lot tracking purposes.”

This hybrid can be operated with or without a headset; wearable speaker is loud enough in most environments. The optional headset does not require expensive noise cancellation needed for voice-only solutions.

Voice Guidance never has recognition issues; there are no repeats due to mis-recognition (performance delays). A direct cost-savings is realized because no voice training is required nor learning the phonetic alphabet. Employees prefer this solution because it eliminates selectors speaking to the system all day, while scan validation ensures accuracy, eliminates memorization, and enables catch weight scanning and lot tracking.

GS1 Support Already Built-in:
When a GS1 barcode is scanned, all the application identifier information in the barcode is retained, including the lot number. If the lot number is contained in a separate bar code label it must be scanned separately. If more than one item is to be picked, and the item requires lot tracking, each case must be scanned or lot number manually keyed. If the lot numbers cannot be scanned, there is the option of keying the number.

Compliance: Driving Food Safety Automation
FSMA is driving action. Compliance (and the cost of non-compliance) is forcing food manufacturers and distributors to follow the rigor and rules spelled out clearly in the new law. Yet every week, sometimes every day, there is another news story about food contamination in the supply chain. Companies are relying on the technology experts, the pioneers of hybrid voice systems to automate and be in compliance.

Article Courtesy:

TR Cutler, Inc.

Thomas R. Cutler

President & CEO

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