NOTES & COMMENT
Choosing a reman robot? Think hard about what you need Jonathan Wilkins rom robotic conductors to robot vacuum cleaners, there is a vast choice of automated systems available for different purposes. Because there are so many options, it can be difficult for companies to choose which model to invest in. The first priority should be to narrow down by application, as this determines the type of robot needed. If you’re looking to automate a pick and place activity, a SCARA (selective compliance assembly robot arm) robot might be most suitable. If your application requires the robot to work closely alongside human staff, a collaborative robot will most likely be for you. Different applications will require different numbers of axes of motion, payloads, speed and reach. It is important to check these features to make sure the robot can perform the task required at your facility. Once you’ve specified the action you’d like the robot to perform, you can consider the size of the work area to make sure it will suit your production line. You must also take into account the accuracy and repeatability of the robot – it is a common mistake to buy an accurate robot without considering how well it repeats the accurate motion. It’s useful to know if the robot manufacturer
or systems integrator that you’re purchasing from offers a preventative maintenance contract, whether this is 24/7 and what it includes. Knowing this in advance will minimise the risk of a breakdown and being hit with unexpected costs down the line. Running costs will also depend on the expected use of a robot and power usage. Looking at the reliability and life span of the robot may help to guide you towards the best value for your application. Introducing a new robot is sure to impact your staff. This is particularly noticeable when introducing collaborative robots, which work directly alongside humans. Companies must ensure that staff are comfortable with the purchase and receive sufficient training. You should
ensure your company has the capacity to provide any training needed so that staff understand robot programming and operation and can follow safety standards like crush zones and access areas. The programming ability of your staff must be up to the challenge of a new robot, otherwise it will be extremely difficult to operate it correctly. The best robots are well designed, safe and userfriendly. By thinking carefully, you can combine a human workforce with a robot to best achieve business goals.
Jonathan Wilkins, director of EU Automation
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the Blog Unintended consequences of environmental policy Multiple policy instruments achieve different objectives in different stages of product lifecycle and must not come at the expense of the other as it will only move the problem somewhere else along the value chain. Current policies have unintended consequences since while supporting recycling, they lead to the detriment of remanufacturing. However,
it must be noted that a policy that will support remanufacturing will most likely also support recycling because the two processes happen at different phases in a product’s life cycle in their pecking order. Also, every product that is ‘remanufacturable’ can potentially be recyclable. But every recyclable product may not necessarily be good for remanufacturing. If material and resource savings and preservation of the embodied energy were set as policy objectives, then a separate policy instrument must be developed. In other words, the benefits resulting from remanufacturing are not currently addressed in any of the existing policy instruments and a separate policy that directly encourages remanufacturing must be established. • To read more, go to www.rematec.com/blogs ReMaTecNews