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Three techniques for creating a flexible robot system

Mikkel Rath Hansen

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Three techniques for creating a flexible robot system

Many companies in the electronics industry have a high proportion of manual work - especially companies with a high product mix. Here you can read about three techniques that help you create a flexible robot system for electronics production.

The world-leading radar producer Weibel Scientific has been selected for a pilot project in the European robot technology transfer network ROBOTT-NET, funded by the EU.

Together with the Manufacturing Technology Centre (UK), Technicon and the Danish Technological Institute, Weibel Scientific will design, build and test a flexible robot system that can take an assortment of the most common electronic components, grasp them accurately, and insert them properly into printed circuit boards (PCBs).

“In a radar there is a circuit board with a lot of components on it. Weibel Scientific's current situation is that operators sit and insert these components into the PCB and solder them by hand, because an automated solution that is flexible enough to meet Weibel Scientific's needs simply does not exist. Similar cases exist in many other Danish companies in the electronics industry”, says Mikkel Rath Hansen, a senior specialist at the Danish Technological Institute.

Mikkel Rath Hansen tells here about three techniques that can help create a flexible robot cell.

  1. Utilise standardized packaging in the electronics industry
    “We arrange the components in their tray in a specific pattern and use a feeding system that is essentially a pipe that can feed virtually all components in a very flexible way.”
  2. A finger changing system
    “One thing that is very important for getting a good grasp on the components is to use dedicated fingers for each component. In collaboration with Technicon DTI has made a finger changing system so that the robot itself can switch to the finger that fits perfectly with the component it is going to insert.”
  3. Force control
    “We use force torque to actually put the components in, so we are sure that they go in every time even if they don’t hit the hole right on the first attempt.  We have a strategy where the robot searches for the hole until it finds it.”