BECKER ROMANIA INCREASES PRODUCTIVITY BY AUTOMATING GLUE DISPENSING AND ASSEMBLY PROCESSES WITH UR10 COLLABORATIVE ROBOTS
01 In short:
The furniture company Becker Romania manufactures molded beech veneer elements. To increase the efficiency of the repetitive work processes without affecting the quality of the final product, Becker Romania has implemented two UR10 cobots. The collaborative robots handle glue dispensing and pick and place tasks carried out in Becker’s production unit, where over 10,000 cubic meters of beech wood are processed annually.
Becker Romania was facing the difficulty of finding qualified people for the production processes in its factory, prompting the company to look into automation. The company wanted a collaborative automation setup in which people and newly integrated solutions work together to increase productivity efficiency in the assembly process. Becker also sought to improve the work environment for employees who were to take on more engaging and creative tasks.
Video — UR Robots, BECKER Romania, Romania
Becker Romania chose to automate with collaborative robots from Universal Robots because they are specifically designed to safely share a workspace with humans without the need for additional safety guarding and also because they can be installed quickly. The two UR10 cobots integrated in the process of assembling mirrors work in tandem, as the first UR10 dispenses adhesive to the product frame, followed by the second UR10 placing another part, a ring segment, on top of the glue over the glass. Programming the cobots was easy and quick. From the UR interface, the company used the predefined program CircleMove with a relatively free orientation towards the circle. "UR collaborative robots are easy to program. You don't need an advanced computer and automation knowledge. Anyone with minimal technical knowledge can successfully create applications with these robots,” said Remus Țopan, Technical Engineer at Becker Romania.
The technical support provided by Universal Robots also played an important role in the successful integration of the cobots. "On the Universal Robot website you can find all the information you need, even backup files for the programs developed that are easy to save through the magic files on the website, and for the software updates. There is a whole community behind it, ready to help you with the answers you need,” Remus Țopan added.
The company is currently using human operators working alongside the two collaborative robots to assemble one of its products. The operators add the frame, the glass and empty the carousel during the assembly process of the mirrors. The first cobot uses a soldering gun to add adhesive in the desired place. When the times come for the adhesive to be changed, one of the operators is informed of this aspect through a special program created using a global variable and a consumption rule. "After calculating the consumption norm, we created a global "installation variable" that remains saved even if the robot is turned off. By checking it at the beginning of each program, the variable tells us if the adhesive in the tube has reached the end. When it reaches 0 the program calls a subprogram that moves the robot arm to a position that allows operators to easily change the adhesive,” explained Remus.
The second UR10 uses a gripper with suction cups that is easy and quick to assemble and adjust with which it picks the second part from a semi-automatic feeding unit and places it over the adhesive. All automation and sensors have been added to the cobot's control box, making it very easy to program. Proximity sensors were used to detect the frame and photoelectric sensors to detect the ring segment in the warehouse. The interconnection with the UR10 cobots is made with the help of a PLC that also controls the operation of the carousel, through analog signals transmitted bidirectional.
For Becker Romania the UR cobots have significant improvements in the products assembly quality, enabling control of the applications and the repeatability of the operations. Another benefit is the flexibility of the cobots which are perfect for redeploying on other tasks if necessary, an aspect Becker considers to be a competitive advantage. Considering the redeploying of cobots, in the present the company has an UR16 robot in testing phase for brushing surfaces.
The UR10 cobot equipped with the gripper created by Becker Romania from aluminum profiles and vacuum cups takes over the ring segment from the warehouse. "The end effectors are home-made. Although the offer of ready to work end effectors in the market is high, we decided that it is better to create our own tools, so that we can have more control in case of failures,” said Remus Țopan.
The UR10 collaborative robot retreats to the waiting position after adding the ring segment to the frame
The UR10 collaborative robot adds an adhesive cord around the frame
Cobots programming is fast and easy thanks to the intuitive UR programming software. With only a few MoveP / MoveJ commands and If / Else conditions, the raw program was completed very fast
- Staying competitive by keeping and lowering manufacturing costs
- Deployment of automation technology to support the defined automation plan
- Need for standard as well as specific end-effectors
- Reducing potential risks of dangerous manufacturing processes in the factory
- Repeatability of the operations, incl. consistency in glue dispensing and accurate part placement
- Maintaining high quality of manufactured components
- Fast deployment of UR cobots in operation
- No need for safety guarding in the factory
- User-friendly programming of the collaborative robots
- Flexibility to satisfy all customer requirements
- ROI: 2-3 years
- Glue dispensing
- Pick and place
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Cost-effective, safe and flexible collaborative robots - or cobots- are making automation easier than ever, even for the small and mid-sizes companies.