Fanuc Collaborative Robots - Experiences?
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    Default Fanuc Collaborative Robots - Experiences?

    I know there are a handful of members who are running Universal Robots collaborative robots, but I have yet to meet anyone running a Green Fanuc, or even hear about them being used in industry.

    I'm starting to look into them for a project at my day job, and was curious if anyone on PM had any experience with them, or knowledge about them.

    Thanks gang!

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    I haven't seen one outside of a video of the Fanuc booth at the trade shows.

    Even though I have UR robots, I would be interested to learn about the green Fanuc's for Robodrill integration.

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    Quote Originally Posted by danrudolph View Post
    I haven't seen one outside of a video of the Fanuc booth at the trade shows.

    Even though I have UR robots, I would be interested to learn about the green Fanuc's for Robodrill integration.
    Well, one thing I learned already: Fanuc won't even sell you one of their collaborative robots unless you take their training on them. If you haven't already taken their HandlingTool (or similar) course, and their newest DCS course, you have to take both of those first, and then they'll let you take the collaborative robots course.

    Their course typically range from $1,000-$3,000 each, and this training is a total of 62 hours of coursework at one of Fanuc's training facilities (mostly in Rochester Hills and Mississauga.) So you've got to take 2-3 weeks away from your shop/business, get to Michigan or Ontario, stay in a hotel, and attend training every day of the week, before they'll even let you buy one.

    Since this is a project for my day job, and we're Fanuc Authorized Integrators, we just have to send one of our guys to the CR training, which they'll cover for us (because we buy a lot of robots.) But for the average Joe, this is a pretty steep hill to climb, just to get to buy one - I think this says a lot about their target audience with these.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Johnny SolidWorks View Post
    Well, one thing I learned already: Fanuc won't even sell you one of their collaborative robots unless you take their training on them. If you haven't already taken their HandlingTool (or similar) course, and their newest DCS course, you have to take both of those first, and then they'll let you take the collaborative robots course.
    Considering I never even took the on-site training offered by the UR distributor, you're right, it is a pretty steep hill to climb. Almost like they don't want to sell them?

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    Quote Originally Posted by danrudolph View Post
    Considering I never even took the on-site training offered by the UR distributor, you're right, it is a pretty steep hill to climb. Almost like they don't want to sell them?
    If I had to take an educated guess, based on the spec sheets I've seen, and having worked with Fanuc robots for the last 10 years, I would say that their approach to 'collaborative' robots is a bit different than UR. From what I've seen (and I don't think anyone outside of Fanuc knows for sure at this point) the CR line are essentially repainted LRs with some added servo brakes, and force sensors on all of the axes. I'm sure there are some software tweaks to go along with it, and the DCS zoning becomes very important (which is how they justify the training, actually) but it appears as if their goal was to make a true industrial robot safe(r) to work around without the level of guarding and safety interlocks previously required. The moments, loads, accelerations, and maximum velocities of the axes seem to back this up - they're not far off from the LRs.

    Universal's approach was to build a true, easy to use, safe, collaborative robot from the ground up, and it looks like they did a very good job of it.

    But Fanuc are definitely targeting more experienced users, especially their existing integrators. The applications I have seen them in probably require programming that would be very difficult for someone without training and a fair amount of experience to figure out.

    That said, there is no specific safety spec for 'collaborative' robots as their own class right now, that I am aware of, which makes it an interesting - it's all in the program, and a small amount of supporting hardware on a 35 year old basic design. The same safety standards that have applied to general automation equipment and other machinery are determining how these collaborative robots operate (safe distances, allowable forces, etc.)

    Fanuc's 35kg 'collaborative' robot sounds really cool, until you realize how difficult it is for a robot moving 77 pounds at the extent of its reach to know if it just smacked somebody in the head or not. With smaller robots, it all makes sense, but the torque required for a 35kg robot to move its load is substantial when compared to the torque required to hurt someone.

    So it sounds like Fanuc is putting the mantle of responsibility for safety firmly on the shoulders of the programmers and system engineers - hence the required training. UR must be confident they have a much safer product, or are less concerned about liability than Fanuc are.


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