machInery & machIne safety

high-performance ceramics feature a low adhesion tendency in contact with metals, providing a longer life cycle of the component if mixed with metal counterparts. the robust material of ceramics is also a good

choice for applications with high mechanical loads due to its high flexural strength and hardness. thanks to the mechanical strength and low density, tools made of ceramics work precisely, reliably and are wear-free over a long period of time, even under the highest loads. ceramic products are also food-safe and offer

high resistance to acids, alkalis and vapours. they are generally insensitive to chemicals, are pressure-resistant and temperature-stable and thus defy frequent and intensive cleaning processes or maintenance. this makes them ideal components to use in food and beverage and healthcare industries, where chemicals and acidic solutions are used regularly.

InnovatIve cobot applIcatIon Improves safety at leIca Geosystems

with epoxy material, it decided to use an omron tm collaborative robot (cobot). the omron cobot was recommended by Gibotech, one of omron’s solution partners. leica Geosystems is a global company that specialises in supplying premium sensors, software and services to professionals in surveying, construction, infrastructure, mining, aerospace, manufacturing and other industries. at its machine control facility in odense, Denmark, the company needed a flexible, accurate and safe way of moving trays from a rack. these then needed to be placed precisely so that the items on the tray could be filled with epoxy material. the new solution also needed to be scalable.


hen leica Geosystems needed a versatile solution to automate the handling of trays of items being filled

detected by the cobot’s vision camera. the marker provides a reference point for the cobot’s movements, as other points can be defined in relation to the landmark’s position. this means that the cobot can be trained to identify the location of an item. It can then use the landmark to pick and place each item with great accuracy. even if the rack is moved, the cobot still knows where to move based on the landmark’s position. for the leica process, the cobot collects the

AvOid ABRAsiON with stANdARd cOMPONeNts

Introducing ceramic standard components into your design process also brings another benefit – it allows an increase in operating temperatures if needed, potentially speeding up the production process and creating more components in a shorter timeframe. the issue of corrosion is also dramatically

reduced when it comes to ceramic standard components, meaning machine parts need to be serviced and replaced much less frequently due to the durability of the component. especially for demanding applications, engineers should not shy away from the higher prices - components made of high-performance ceramics literally ‘pay off’ in the medium and long term. Wear and abrasion are a constant challenge

for the manufacturing industry, with a wide range of environments that machine parts and components must endure, therefore engineers have numerous material considerations before production kicks off. Designed to endure the harshest environments, norelem’s comprehensive range of ceramic products have been developed with service life in mind. even under high levels of mechanical stress, norelem’s ceramic components are highly robust and suitable under extreme conditions, helping engineers extend the life of their machines. With more than 60,000 standard

components, norelem offers a full range of parts, including ceramic.


PROtectiNg PeOPle

one of the key issues was that epoxy fumes can be harmful to people, as they can cause inflammation and irritation of the nose, throat and lungs. the omron tm cobot provided a perfect solution, as it can be easily deployed in areas that can be hazardous for people to work in. other components of the solution include omron’s nX and nXIo systems of machine control and its sysmac machine automation platform. the solution was easy to install in leica’s production process and Gibotech carried out the system integration. so, how does the omron tm cobot

automate the tray handling process? firstly, it picks up a tray of units from a rack, using the tm landmark. this is a logo or marker that can be attached to the rack and can be easily

tray and moves it so that it is underneath an epoxy extruder. It adjusts the position of the tray so that the various types of items on the tray can be filled with epoxy material. the cobot then places the tray with the epoxy units in racks for curing and hardening for several hours. following this, it replaces the tray in the rack, again using the tm landmark as a locator.

BeNefits Of the cOBOt sOlutiON

the new system means that different items on the trays can now be filled with epoxy material without any people being present. this improves ergonomics and safety in the working environment and protects leica’s employees, who have been moved to other business- critical tasks. at the same time, the new solution has also reduced labour and production costs for the company. omron’s project manager, Kenneth Jochumsen, comments: “this was a very special and innovative cobot application never seen before in the nordics. We were able to develop it due to our integrated technology solutions and our extensive knowledge of industrial automation. the whole project was in line with omron’s underlying philosophy of interactive and safe collaboration between people and machines.” bent andersen, product supply and process

service manager for leica Geosystems, adds: “our company expects to expand significantly in the future, so it was important to find a solution that can grow as the company grows. We therefore particularly liked the flexibility and scalability of omron’s automation solution, and the implications it has for greater worker safety.”


factory&hanDlInGsolUtIons | JUne 2021 37

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