Cartesian robots have a very simplistic approach to work. They work in a rectangular area, based on 3 axes, X, Y, and Z, or axes, X and Y. Some have the capability of an R axis for the rotation of work pieces. Basically all work is done in an area that has corners, it is either rectangular or square. These tools can repeatedly move to precise points in the defined axis area. This area can be limited to the length of the carriage support. It can also be limited by the program running the robot. The capabilities of this device are extremely useful in manufacturing where repeated tasks are done at the same precise location in the assembly or production line. Even though the target is always hit in a straight line, these robotics have no flexibility in going around objects. All work has to be done in straight planes
Cartesian robots act as tenders for other machinery. These are particularly useful in die casting, injection molding, and machine tooling, where the primary machinery needs assistance to get its job done. The supporting robot will extract a part from or insert a part into the machine it is supporting. Picking up an object from a conveyor belt or other location and placing that object in another location is a long standing function of Cartesian robots. Food and drug filling operations are well suited to the pick-and-place capability of these robots. Assembly operations use Cartesian robots for holding specific parts in a given location on the production line. This is done while another machine attaches that part to an assembly. In other operations the part is held while being pressed into an assembly. Holding a part that is being welded is a prime use of Cartesian robots.
Cartesian robots come in many different sizes. Loading facilities can have very large Gantry robots that are suspended above the work area. These heavy weight workers load and unload items from ships and other vehicles. On the smaller side, robotics move screws to the precise location for another machine to mount them into a toy that is being assembled in a plant. All varieties of Cartesian robots are cost effective. There is no need for concern about incorrect assembly or adjustment needing to be made to completed products. The operation that uses Cartesian robotics is extremely accurate with a high throughput. Repeatability is one of the strongest characteristics of Cartesian robotics. The use of these tools has a direct bearing on the reduction of the cost of humans in the manufacturing equation.
Solar cell manufacturing is an excellent application for Cartesian robotics. Because of the sensitive nature of the materials used in the manufacture of solar cells, these tools are especially effective in this manufacturing process. Robots can handle the extremely thin wafer material on a continuous basis without creating material losses. The seamless automation of precision loading, anti-reflective coating, screen printing, drying, inspection, lead welding, and sorting of solar electric cells can be accomplished. Welding of leads on all sides of the module can be done simultaneously. These process steps are done with high throughput, in an ultra clean environment, with a high level of quality.
The medical specimen handling system is a rigorous test for Cartesian robots. A system can be created that provides the utmost in cleanliness with extremely high safety standards. The system can handle bio-hazardous materials in fragile laboratory containers. Configuration requirements dictate that controls and tools must be easily usable by employees that are not familiar with automation. This system can have a quick payback and very little downtime. This system almost eliminates the possibility of human error and is easily integrated into current laboratory processes.
The automotive industry has many processes that are accomplished with Cartesian robotics. An example is the wiper assembly manufacturing operation. This process uses robotics to do armature and final motor assembly, end cap machining, and vision inspection. There are countless other examples in the automotive manufacturing business.
Applications for Cartesian robotics are many. Quilt stitching is done using the Gantry configuration. This unique applications utilizes the 3-dimensional approach. The Gantry moves in the X-Y planes over material that is moved under the suspended device. A needle is operated in the Z axis for sewing designs in the material. Other applications are precision detail, machining, stencil cutting, water cutting, fuel cell manufacturing, solder-ball placement, printed electronics, vision inspection, dispensing stations, semiconductor manufacturing, and high-accuracy inspection.
It has been said that robots have capabilities built into them that can be used to make the manufacturing process much more efficient if all the abilities are reviewed when the automation process is defined. In one case a Cartesian robot was being used in a glue gun testing facility. Glue was being pushed out to the point where it as needed. In the action being taken some glue would drop over where it should not be at the end of each cycle. It was discovered that the unwanted excess glue could be eliminated by having the actuator of the Cartesian robot move at a very smooth pace though the cycle, as opposed to moving very quickly to the end of its cycle.
John Mitchell is President of Provision, Inc, an online publisher of information about the uses of automation in business. The company website,
http://www.provinc.net, allows companies to evaluate
how to automate manufacturing
Requests for quotes can be submitted to automation specialists
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