Design for Robotic Assembly
In reality, equating the abilities of robots and human assemblers is risky. What’s easy for a human assembler can be difficult or impossible for a robot, and vice versa. To ensure success with robotic assembly, engineers must adapt their parts, products and processes to the unique requirements of the robot.
Reorienting an assembly adds cycle time without adding value. It also increases the cost of the fixtures. And, instead of a SCARA or Cartesian robot, assemblers may need a more expensive six-axis robot.
Robotic grippers are not as nimble as human hands, and some parts are easier for robots to grip than others. A part with two parallel surfaces can be handled by a two-fingered gripper. A circular part can be handled by its outside edges, or, if it has a hole in the middle, its inside edges. Adding a small lip to a part can help a gripper reliably manipulate the part and increase the efficiency of the system. If the robot will handle more than one type of part, the parts should be designed so they can all be manipulated with the same gripper. A servo-driven gripper could also help in that situation, since engineers can program stroke length and gripping force.