In Focus on Automation and Robotics

In Focus on Automation and Robotics

Posted in Automation by Brian Buntz on February 16, 2010

System Automates Assembly and Testing Procedures
The TEAMED system from assembly equipment manufacturer Teamtechnik is designed to automate complex and precise operations such as laser welding, dosing, force-displacement and torque testing. Capable of performing assembly as well as testing procedures, the machine can be used for a variety of medical device applications such as the assembly of inhalation devices and pen and point-of-care diagnostic systems. Capable of processing multiple workpieces simultaneously, the modular assembly unit can be upgraded to adapt to evolving manufacturing needs. The assembly platform is offered in stainless steel or in a powder-coated version. The system’s software is compliant with GAMP5 and US FDA 21 CFR Part 11 requirements. To prevent products from becoming contaminated, the automation technology is largely separate from the assembly platform. An optional integrated laminar flow module allows the unit to be used in up to Class 1000 cleanrooms.
Freiberg am Neckar, Germany  +49 7141 700 30 


Benchtop robotics system
ST Robotics has introduced the R12-500 benchtop robotic arm, which is suitable for applications such as testing, sample handling, laboratory testing and machine feeding. The five-axis, vertically articulated industrial robot arm has a 500-mm reach. Dubbed the “Firefly,” the R12-500 system can be equipped with a gripper or other tools and accessories. The unit’s workspace is a sphere 1000 mm in diameter, not including the hand. The system is designed to be simple to use and reportedly can be unpacked and programmed in a few hours.

The unit is powered by lightweight, high-efficiency digital motors equipped with steel-reinforced polyurethane timing belts. Optional incremental optical encoders are also offered. The Firefly uses the firm’s proprietary Mk5 controller, which relies on CPU and DSP processors and compact microstepping drives to provide fast operation and precise control. The controller can be used with the robotic arm while simultaneously interfacing with or controlling other assembly equipment. 
The R12-500 system is offered with a two-year warranty. The expected mean time between failures is 10 000 hours. Free software updates and 24-hour technical support are also provided by the company.
ST Robotics
Cambridge, UK  +44 1223 420 288 


Six-axis robots
Advanced robotic technology specialist Epson Robots has introduced the C3 series of compact six-axis robots, which are suitable for a variety of applications incuding medical device assembly and dispensing, lab automation, machine tending, material handling, packaging and electronics assembly. Designed to maximise part throughput for demanding cycle time requirements, C3 robots are reportedly up to 43% faster than similarly sized models from other manufacturers. The tight integration of motors and amplifiers along with high-resolution feedback and tight controls provide high acceleration and deceleration rates as well as advanced linear interpolated motion capability.

The C3 features the company’s new SlimLine design, which the company reports allows for a high range of motion. In addition, the robot can reach into confined and restricted work spaces from various angles with smooth motion.
The robot line is equipped with the company’s Micro PowerDrive RC180 controller, which includes the company’s RC+ Controls software and integrated options such as vision guidance and support for .Net, Profibus, DeviceNet and EtherNet/IP standards.
Epson Robots
Carson, CA, USA  +1 562 290 5910


Automated inspection equipment
The Legato system from Gefasoft is designed to track and verify the completed products assembled from single ID-marked components. The system includes labelling and marking equipment, ID readers in the assembly line, automated optical inspection equipment for quality control and server-based tracing software.

During operation, the system marks each component with a unique serial number (ID) in a data matrix code. The ID is generated by the server application, while the data matrix labelling is performed with a laser marker. The labelled ID on the component is verified to ensure a successful read and the ID of each component is archived in the database for trace data administration. Downstream in the manufacturing line, several single components are assembled to make a product. The IDs of the individual components are traced in the line and are assigned to the product’s ID. The completed product is then controlled for correct assembly in a dedicated inspection system using machine vision technology. The inspection results are warehoused together with the IDs in the trace database.

Throughout the manufacturing process and in each phase of the product life cycle, information on both the individual and the assembled components is available. The allocation of component serial numbers can help prevent unjustified warranty claims and the distribution of counterfeit products. As a result of the identification of each component and each assembly group, the product’s delivery status to the customer is also documented.
Gefasoft Automatisierung und Software
Regensburg, Germany  +49 9417 999 60


Automation systems
SP Technology Ltd designs and builds bespoke production and process automation systems. Projects range from single machines to complete systems. The manufacturer’s robotic systems are routinely used in a variety of industries ranging from medical device manufacturing and automotive to food processing. Applications of the company’s equipment include assembly, packaging, demoulding and material removal. The company’s quality systems are certified to ISO 9001:2000, and it offers consultation and development services.
SP Technology
Dundee, UK  +44 1382 880 088


Dispensing robots
A series of robots is designed to improve productivity in medical device assembly processes that require repetitive deposits of adhesives, epoxies, sealants, solder pastes and other fluids. In addition to precise dispensing capabilities, the robots feature closed-loop servo controls and drive motors. These components enable the units to dispense uniform dots, fill cavities and small containers with consistent volumes, and trace even lines over complicated part geometries. Offering a positioning accuracy of ±25 μm, the benchtop robots employ an x-y-z positioning platform, which saves space by eliminating the need for a separate computer or external dispenser controller. The robots are available with a work envelope of 325 or 525 mm².
EFD Inc.
Dunstable, UK  +44 1582 666 334


Assembly systems
A Uno Tec designs and manufactures machines, systems and accessories for automated production and packaging processes for medical, pharmaceutical and other applications. The company works with its customers to design custom machines for specific applications. Prompt after-sale technical support is also offered after the machines are installed. The company has experience with a variety of assembly techniques including ultrasonic welding, radiofrequency welding, solvent dispensing, bonding, winding, fastening, riveting, screw driving and die cutting.

The company also has the in-house expertise to develop automation equipment that incorporates laser cutting and marking technology. In addition to designing fully automatic assembly machines, the manufacturer can develop systems for semi-automated procedures.
A Uno Tec
Mirandola, Italy  +39 0 5352 4218

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