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Next-generation robots use less power and cost less to own

05 November, 2013

ABB has unveiled a seventh generation of large robots with the claim that they are faster, more accurate and have bigger payloads than their predecessors, as well as being easier to service and using 15% less power. They are also said to cost less to own.

The IRB 6700 family of robots will initially include four variants with payloads from 150–235kg and reaches from 2.65–3.2m. Over the next 18 months, four more variants will be added, taking the maximum payload up to 300kg as well as offering shorter reaches on lower-payload models.

Before developing the new machines, ABB conducted a year-long survey of robot users which revealed that they wanted higher-capacity machines, that are easier to maintain and service and cost less to operate.

“Our aim, from the beginning, was to deliver a robot with the lowest total cost of ownership available,” says Ola Svanström, ABB’s product manager for large robots. “When we asked our customers what they value most in our large robots their answer was virtually unanimous: reliability. So, we revisited every aspect of our current range to improve everything we could in this regard. It may not look that different from its predecessor on the outside, but the hundreds of small improvements on the inside are what count.”

ABB's new generation of large robots includes versions with a reach of up to 3.2m

The robots incorporate a new generation of accurate, efficient and reliable motors and compact gearboxes. “We spent a great deal of engineering effort making the robot as rigid as possible to better protect and prepare it for the harsh environments in which it operates,” explains ABB project manager, Mattias Lovemark. “We also validated and tested more robot prototypes than ever before to ensure our predictions for reliability are accurate in the real world.”

The robots accommodate “lean ID” (integrated dressing) by integrating the most exposed parts of the dress pack into the robot to achieve a balance between cost and durability. This makes the robots easier to program and simulate, as well as making their footprints smaller, and reducing wear and tear, thus lengthening their service intervals.

Service routines have been shortened and intervals between them increased. Access to motors has also been improved and technical documentation for maintenance is said to be easier to read and understand through the use of improved graphics and animated 3D simulations.




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