Material Handling and Palletizing Robots in the Metal Industry

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Material handling is one of the prime jobs the robots perform in the metal industry. Speed and payload are the most sought after features in these robots. The machine should be capable of handling heavy objects like a feather and palletize and depalletize them at high speed. Internal transportation of the workpieces has gone far from manual conveyors lined up towards each other. Now, the robots can pick, sort, and drop them more quickly and is less floor area. In the case of the metal industry, material handling broadly falls into two types. One is for hot metals and the other is for cooling down metals. The hot metal handling bots are called foundry bots. They can endure the environmental heat with the ability to have been mounted on the shelves. The industries dealing with Robotic Material Handling with metal welding mostly do not need extreme heat endurance capacity. They benefit from fast and high payload palletizing bots. Where the industry is a combination of both welding, casting, and foundry, a foundry wrist can be attached to the axis of the standard robotic arm. Thermal protectors further prevent damage due to high temperatures.

How to decide the payload and the reach

It is subjective to the respective industries and their subgroups. On one hand a car in total can weigh around 1300 to 1500 kilograms and on the other hand construction lifts and ladders can weigh heavier than that. Even if the robot has a 1300 kg payload and 4000 mm reach, it won’t deliver the said output at high speed. The robot inertia plays a key role. If an arm is doing the heavy lifting, its reach will be reduced due to the inertia. If it is lifting a lighter object, the reach can go farther without swinging the arm. Surely there are titanic bots capable of lifting massive meatal structures to extensive reach but they come with their own cost. A middle path is to use rails/sliders. Sliders are versatile. Mount the robot on the slider and it will increase the reach of the bot without compromising the inertia.

An overhead conveyor uses a single-rail and handles a higher number of pieces in comparison to the assembly line conveyor.  Additional grips and wrists will enhance the hold on the workpiece while it is exposed to the torch for the seams. Force sensitivity sensors and vision sensors will improve the grace of the grip. The most effective manner in man-less material handling is to combine the utilities of positioners, conveyors, and Robotic Material Handling arms.