Wednesday, February 27, 2008
FANUC Robotics M-430iA Named Robot of the Year
The M-430iA robot is designed for high-speed food operations.

The FANUC M-430iA was recently named “Robot of the Year” for 2007 by Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI).  Designed specifically for food washdown environments, the M-430iA/2F food robot is capable of picking primary food and packaged products at speeds up to 120 cycles per minute on a continuous basis while using visual line tracking.  In addition, the compact robot can be mounted in a variety of positions including floor, wall or invert, which maximizes flexibility for tight workspaces. 


“Our food customers came to us with specific needs for high-speed operation, increased flexibility, and cleanliness standards, and the M-430iA/2F robot meets those needs and more,” said Sumeet Vispute, product manager, picking, packing, and palletizing, FANUC Robotics America, Inc. 


The M-430iA food robot offers a wide range of benefits, including:


·         A clean design with no food particle retention areas to resist bacteria growth and rust.

·         Hollow arm to avoid air line and electric cable exposure 

·         Capable of working with primary (unpackaged) and secondary (packaged) food products.

·         Manufactured with food-grade grease, and USDA-certifiable parts.

·         Designed with special coating, materials and seals to withstand caustic food industry cleaners and acids used in food plant washdown operations.

·         IP67 rating for the entire robot allows it to withstand the rinsing process after the caustic washdown.


“The five-axis M-430iA/2F is the fastest robot ever designed by FANUC Robotics, and sets a new speed record for articulated robots of 120 cycles per minute at a 1 kg payload, and 100 cycles per minute at a 2 kg payload,” added Vispute.


In addition to food, the M-430iA/2F intelligent robot is ideal for handling beverages, medical devices, cosmetics, household products, office supplies, and many other consumer products.


At the recent ATX West show, an invert-mounted M-430iA/2F equipped with FANUC’s iRVision visual line tracking software picked randomly oriented food products from an infeed conveyor and placed the products on an outfeed conveyor.  A second floor-mounted M-430iA/2F, also equipped with iRVision, picked a different food product from the same infeed conveyor and placed the second product on the outfeed conveyor.  Together, the M-430iA/2F robots picked and placed products at rates up to 220 parts per minute.  An LR Mate 200iC Food Option robot, positioned downstream of the outfeed conveyor, picked both product types at once and placed them back on the infeed conveyor at rates of 220 parts per minute with an 8-pick gripper. 


Intelligent Software and Sensors Integrated in M-430iA Food Robot


FANUC Robotics new PickTool software is designed to simplify setup of high-speed multi-robot picking systems.  PickTool divides incoming product so that each robot in the system picks an equal number of products.   It can also assign a specific percentage of products for each robot to pick. 


“If more than one type of product is on the conveyor, the programmer simply assigns a percentage value and a part ID to distribute each robot’s picking assignments,” said Vispute. 


In addition, PickTool allows each robot to pick from a certain section of the conveyor.  For example, it can assign half of the robots to pick from one side of the conveyor, and the other half of the robots to pick from the opposite side.


Other key benefits of PickTool include:


·         Pick and/or skip any number of selected products

·         Progressively fill trays or cases as they move along the conveyor

·         Automatic redistribution of product to another robot if the assigned robot stops, ensuring that every product is always picked

·         Single point for setup of the entire multi-robot system, making it very easy to use

·         iRVision eliminates the need for a PC during operation


FANUC Robotics’ also offers PickPRO, the latest process-specific plug-in to ROBOGUIDE.  ROBOGUIDE/PickPRO is an off-line robot simulation software with a FANUC Robotics Virtual Robot Controller and full-featured robot programming. 


“PickPRO allows customers to create a multi-robot picking system in the virtual world, making programming extremely user-friendly,” added Vispute.


ROBOGUIDE provides engineers the tools needed to develop and test a complete robotic application in a simulation environment without the time and costs associated with developing a prototype work cell.  With ROBOGUIDE, users can simulate a robotic process in a 3D environment with the most accurate cycle time information for FANUC robots, compared to any other simulation package available in the industry.