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    Default Industrial Robot targeted toward small shop

    Got the ASME trade rag called "Mechanical Engineering" dropped on my desk today. Flipped it open to an article about small cheap industrial robots designed for small shop environments that often need no cage - they work with human operators in close proximity. Cost, according to the article, about $35k.

    Here's one link:

    Universal Robots - Flexible, silent, low-cost robot arms

    Thought it was interesting. Anyone using one of these? Looks like they are mostly designed for machine tending.

    Brent

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    we are using one of these robotic arms on a small machine we just got done building. they work great for there intended applications. just dont try to make them do more than they are designed to. we have ours pushed to its torque limits. i didnt like the fact that you have to run an external air and or electrical loom up to the working end of the arm. it seems very half azzed. but it is meant to be an economical arm. lil tip for the universal robot arm. if it seems jerky, it maybe be the processor being sloooow. add some dwell time at a couple different movements ....that will give the processor time to catch up.
    my boss seems to like them and we hope to use them in future machine builds.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Antarctica View Post
    Got the ASME trade rag called "Mechanical Engineering" dropped on my desk today. Flipped it open to an article about small cheap industrial robots designed for small shop environments that often need no cage - they work with human operators in close proximity. Cost, according to the article, about $35k.

    Here's one link:

    Universal Robots - Flexible, silent, low-cost robot arms

    Thought it was interesting. Anyone using one of these? Looks like they are mostly designed for machine tending.

    Brent
    These belong to the new classification of industrial robots - called "collaborative robots." There are others out there, too. Check out Baxter at Baxter | Redefining Robotics and Manufacturing | Rethink Robotics

    They're slower than a traditional robot arm. But like you said, they don't need a cage/safety guarding so they're a lot more flexible as to where you use them and how long it takes to set up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dcook1987 View Post
    These belong to the new classification of industrial robots - called "collaborative robots." There are others out there, too. Check out Baxter at Baxter | Redefining Robotics and Manufacturing | Rethink Robotics
    Smart dude I work with was seriously amped about Universal Robots, but when I said "you mean like Baxter?" he laughed in my face and totally wrote it off. I'm not sure I'm bright enough to understand the difference, other than that Baxter has a face...

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    Saw in a recent copy of Electronic Design where Allen Bradley will be introducing a a dual armed collaborative robot in April, called YuMi if I recall correctly.

    The previous article also (from my first post) also pointed outBaxter, but to me that looks like a silly toy that I'd be paying for a lot of useless features not related to getting the job done, which is why I made no previous reference to it.

    Maybe a more diverse marketplace (ABB although I'm sure they will be at the top of the price pile) will level the price playing field a bit. Anyone know if Kawasaki, Kuka, Motoman, others are following suit?

    Brent

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    Quote Originally Posted by Antarctica View Post
    The previous article also (from my first post) also pointed outBaxter, but to me that looks like a silly toy that I'd be paying for a lot of useless features not related to getting the job done, which is why I made no previous reference to it.
    I'll preface this by saying I have no hands-on experience with Baxter, just their marketing BS.

    The way it looks to me, their goal is to build a robot as an "appliance" that any average moron can wheel in front of a workstation and set up to do a job about as easily as they could drag in their local half-witted borderline junkie $7.25 employee and tell them to put the brown ones in the yellow boxes and the green ones in the blue tubes. No programming, no integration, speed not especially important, precision nearly nonexistent. Now once they're done with that, take it to the other side of the shop and give it a different job. At ~$25K you're only looking at a little over 3,000 hours of minimum-wage labor plus benefits to break-even, not factoring in the costs of employees who don't actually do eight hours of work for eight hours on the clock.

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    Yeah... Baxter...

    Now only couldn't they give me a repeatability spec... they didn't know what a repeatability spec WAS...

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    I have some highly credible scuttlebutt from very knowledgeable consultants that Baxter is seriously limited because of the software architecture alone. And I learned this at a seminar day when someone did a talk about Baxter but showed a video of some coloured block pick and place that looked like something our of the 80's. It was an automation event and it was seriously embarrassing. Now that was early this year so maybe they have new versions of the software coming and maybe the hardware is great but I'd have to see something seriously transformative to be convinced. Anyway, the Universal Robot looks nice but I'm sure the field is just like CNC where you pays your money and you dance with the horse that got you there. So this might be the Haas TM-1 of robots and it's fantastic and now you have it running you immediately really want the VF-3 equivalent robot. But that's fine, you just have to know what you're getting and what you need to do. There are lots of other robots in that price range too although more the traditional small but scary fast industrial ones you want in a work cell.

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    Don't buy a robot.
    Now they don't need guards and have smiling faces when happy.
    I'm not falling for this trick.
    Soon we reach the "digital convergence".
    Then it's only a matter of time until the machines can out think us. They will know everything to be known at light speed.
    They are faster than us, work without pay, don't take breaks, don't argue with the boss.............
    You are contributing to and funding the downfall of mankind as we know it.
    Bob

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    Skynet

    is aware

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    Quote Originally Posted by atopper View Post
    we are using one of these robotic arms on a small machine we just got done building. they work great for there intended applications. just dont try to make them do more than they are designed to. we have ours pushed to its torque limits. i didnt like the fact that you have to run an external air and or electrical loom up to the working end of the arm. it seems very half azzed. but it is meant to be an economical arm. lil tip for the universal robot arm. if it seems jerky, it maybe be the processor being sloooow. add some dwell time at a couple different movements ....that will give the processor time to catch up.
    my boss seems to like them and we hope to use them in future machine builds.
    I see they have two models with payloads of 11lbs and 22lbs. Which model did you guys get?

    I definitely like the concept of portability and having the robot push buttons. Much simpler than setting up a PLC with master/slave.

    Bummer if the torque limits are that low. It would be nice to have one these automating a "dumb" bandsaw in the morning, swapping tools in the ATC in the afternoon, and tending the machine at night.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CarbideBob View Post
    Don't buy a robot.
    Now they don't need guards and have smiling faces when happy.
    I'm not falling for this trick.
    Soon we reach the "digital convergence".
    Then it's only a matter of time until the machines can out think us. They will know everything to be known at light speed.
    They are faster than us, work without pay, don't take breaks, don't argue with the boss.............
    You are contributing to and funding the downfall of mankind as we know it.
    Bob
    i wouldn't worry until they can repair, replicate, and upgrade themselves.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas Paine View Post
    i wouldn't worry until they can repair, replicate, and upgrade themselves.
    The Von Neuman's Universal Constructor ... and The Theory of Self-reproducing Automata...
    bbrrrr I have the goose flesh....
    good for some Sci-Fi
    not sure for good ol' reality...

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    "Nos robaron nuestros trabajos!"
    Wait for it...

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    Well did the O.P. ever get his robot?

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    I was never looking for one - just thought they looked interesting and of interest to folks on this board..

    Brent

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    I have hands-on experience with "Baxter" from ReThink. Don't waste your money. Even with how cheap they are, they're completely useless in a machine shop environment.

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    We just got a UR5 from universal Robots. It ran first op parts for 8 hours today while I went for a bike ride. Took about 20 hours of my time to get it to this point. Well worth it in my opinion.

    Instagram

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    Wiley - Don't take this the wrong way, because I love that you found automation for your business that improves your quality of life, but I really did chuckle a couple of times watching the videos on your Instagram.

    Mind you, I probably would have done the exact same thing, the exact same way, but the "unload" drop into the laundry basket, and having the robot physically push the "Go" button on the machine is definitely pretty amusing :-)

    Out of curiosity (and you may have mentioned this on your post on IG) was the only machine modification you made to add a hydraulic vise?

    And shoot me an email/message if you're interested in getting away from that Robotiq gripper for other parts/applications when the time comes, if you want a second set of eyes. I've got a fair amount of experience with gripper design, and the industrial gripper companies. Maybe we can horse trade a bit and you can give me a real-world accounting of your setup off-line (so all the big, mean CNC guys don't give you too hard a time about your "toy" robot) :-)

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    @wileydavis

    That looks awesome. Thanks for the instagram vids. Any info on the "unexpected" costs of setting it up? Any workholding challenges, or part/blank staging that you didn't anticipate? It all SEEMS pretty straight forward but you know how things go sometimes...

    What I like most about these robots is being able to give a machinist the tools to set it up themselves. Machinists who might not be dedicated programmers, other than a little FingerCAM at the machine here and there, or using conversational stuff. The guys who are good at keeping machines running, and running well, but still end up doing some "part changer / operator" work that's not necessarily their best value. Giving those guys the power to delegate the "machine tending" tasks and let them be set-up guys for more hours of the week seems like a win for everyone. We're a short-run shop, too, so having to reprogram (no matter how easy some say it is) a 'real' robot can sometimes be unattractive, when you're only making 50-250 pieces.

    Plus, being able to let it keep running over the weekend/night is more betterer, too.

    Does that seem like the target for these types of robots?


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