6402 E Rockton Rd
Roscoe, IL 61073-8812
Manufacturing is changing. That statement has always held true. But now, more than ever, we are seeing new technologies, new demands, and new ways of thinking with regards to the factory of the future. These new demands include shorter part runs, cheaper products, and increased flexibility on the shop floor—all while dealing with a manufacturing labor crisis.
At PBC Linear, we have been addressing these demands with our Factory of the Future Program. This includes our new brand, Applied Cobotics, which provides our customers with new automation tools and training solutions designed to increase safety and productivity, and sharpen their manufacturing competitive edge. Most importantly, these upgrades can be implemented with a high return on investment, making even the smallest shops fully eligible for this Industry 4.0 technology.
As our new brand suggests, collaborative robots (cobots) are a keystone technology of this new factory model. Equally important though are the corequisite tools that support them, such as grippers, our innovative Automated Storage and Retrieval (ASRS) system, and 3D printing options. Applied Cobotics uses all of these combined tools to help small- to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) automate their manufacturing floor. SMEs are the biggest group of manufacturers at roughly 90%, and generally the most underserved when it comes to investments in automation. Yet, they also require more flexibility, making them prime candidates for the implementation of cobot systems.
Applied Cobotics: Cobots
What are collaborative robots, aka cobots? Cobots are another evolutionary branch on the automation tree. Their traditional definition is a robot that works side-by-side with the human workforce to maintain a higher level of production, product quality, and worker safety. For SMEs like ourselves, they represent a more cost-effective way to implement robotic automation over that of large-scale traditional robots.
Mechanically speaking, cobots are a robotic arm with typically six pivoting joints, with each having a range of 360 degrees. These features offer fluid motion, allowing them to twist and turn to fit many different task configurations. Our Elfin Cobot line offers a range of payloads from 6.5 lb (3 kg) up to 22 lb (10 kg), but those standards will continue to expand as technology advances. They can be implemented into applications such as material handling and removal, arc welding, finishing, and many others.
Applied Cobotics: Automated Storage and Retrieval System (ASRS)
Our newest innovation is the Automated Storage and Retrieval System (ASRS) from Applied Cobotics. The ASRS assists most cobots and other robotic applications by providing a continuous arsenal of machinable parts over a much longer time frame. It does this through a belt-driven lift, tray loader, and tray rack tower capable of holding up to 17 trays and parts as high as 18". By consistently loading and unloading dunnage trays onto the cobot accessible work area, it eliminates the need to manually replace each one. Once the tray is lifted into position, the cobot is alerted, and automatically resumes its project tasks. Depending on the parts, a project can operate unaided overnight, making each run a potential lights-out operation.
The results are a staggering increase in productivity, roughly 10- to 20-times that of conventional means. The ASRS is easy to install and operate, and compatible with almost every cobot/robot on the market. This makes it an essential automation tool to any collaborative robot system, offering greater production and flexibility.
Applied Cobotics: Additional Tools
Applied Cobotics offers customers a host of additional automation tools and services that offer flexibility through increased product options and customization.
Grippers: Every cobot arm needs a gripper to fulfill its function. Grippers, also referred to as robot end effectors or end-of-arm tooling (EOAT), offer almost unlimited options for moving and positioning objects. Depending on the type of application, a specific gripper can be applied to a cobot arm to solve each unique task. Applied Cobotics currently offers EOA tooling options from Schunk at our Applied Cobotics product page. To find 2-finger, 3-finger, and electrical collaborative gripper kits. Click to see gripper product options.
3D Printing: Applied Cobotics has extensive experience with 3D printers. Our 3D Platform brand of large format printers (200 Series Workbench, 300 Series WorkbenchPro, 400 Series Workbench Xtreme) are used by customers and inhouse for the printing of custom dunnage parts trays and larger tooling solutions.
For smaller print applications, we offer BCN3D’s newest lineup of 3D Printers (Sigma D25, Epsilon W27, Epsilon W50). These medium-sized 3D printers offer automation applications including lightweight custom grippers for cobots, and a broad use of smaller tooling solutions.
Applied Cobotics can advance your automation solutions
We are engineers, company leaders, and frontline workers. We are just like you! We would love for you to contact us and tell us your long-term business goals and expectations for automation enhancements.
There's a stigma right now that cobots and their accessories take a lot more money to install and get up and running. The truth is quite the opposite, as our team has consistently found that the full return on investment (ROI) can be realized within that first year, resulting in substantial long-term gains. Applied Cobotics can then help you get started or advance what you have already begun with its cobot packages and related tools involving gripper options, 3D printers, and dunnage parts-tray creation.