[CASE STUDY] Cobots in Hydraulic Equipment Manufacture

In this review, we talk about the application of Hanwha collaborative robots illustrated by the example of our client’s hydraulics manufacturing plant.

Learn more about the practical implementation of cobots in production by reading the article.

 

About the company

The client company was founded in 2005 to provide machine-building enterprises with high-quality hydraulic equipment. In May 2017, the first in-house manufactured product was released.

In 2020, we integrated the plant with a Hanwha HCR-12 collaborative robot. With this state-of-the-art device, the company management plans to significantly increase the output and productivity in the turning area. The enterprise is particularly known as a leading manufacturer of volumetric hydraulic drives and developer of mechatronic systems.

Initially, the company focused on the supply of high-quality Italian hydraulic equipment for the industrial sector and special vehicles. Today, the company has established assembly production of hydraulic distributors, valves, valve boxes, and development of hydraulic systems. All products are subjected to final inspection on a self-produced test bench.

In addition to providing customers with high-quality hydraulic equipment, the company offers highly qualified technical support and product servicing, warranty and post-warranty.

The company products are installed on road and agricultural machinery, special vehicles, marine vessels, mobile lifting platforms, used in industry, mining and oil and gas production equipment as well as many other areas where the use of hydraulic actuators is required.

Currently, the company employs over 50 people.

The production area is equipped with modern CNC metal processing centers, test benches, and auxiliary equipment.

In 2017, the quality service implemented and maintained a quality management system with high standards.

 

Hanwha HCR-12

Specifications

Power supply: 100–240 VAC, 50–60 Hz

Dimensions: 450 х 470 х 223 mm

Weight: 53 kg

Protection class: IP54

Reach: 1300 mm

Base diameter: 128 mm

Max. operating speed: 1 m/s

Max. rotating speed: 180°/s

Payload: 12 kg

Working speed: 1000 mm/s

Degree of freedom: 6

Positioning accuracy: ±0,07 mm

Swivel angle: ±360°

 

The Hanwha HCR-12 collaborative robot is produced in South Korea. Hanwha Techwin is one of the most ambitious manufacturers in the collaborative robot segment. The company was part of Samsung Corporation, and in 2015 it was acquired by the South Korean industrial conglomerate Hanwha.

Hanwha’s first robot, the HCR-5, was introduced in July 2017. Today, the line of collaborative robots includes the HCR-3 and HCR-12 models. The number denotes the maximum permissible load in kg.

The HCR-12 combines maximum payload and the largest reach of 1300 mm. These two features make it a versatile solution for various applications, from machine tending and welding to loading and palletizing.

All Hanwha collaborative robots can interact safely with people during operation. The movements of the manipulator joints are limited in terms of speed and torque. Numerous sensors instantly react to the sudden obstacles in the workspace, and servo drives are ready to promptly stop the movement of the machine. Hanwha cobots can also work with virtual restraints.

Engineers at Hanwha Techwin have developed the Rodi software. In conjunction with the touch screen, its intuitive interface allows even operators without special training to interact with Hanwha cobots.

Watch a video about Hanwha collaborative robots.

The company has also launched a new line of cobots with enhanced features, HCR Advanced or HCR-A.

 

Advantages and benefits

The management of the client company decided to purchase a collaborative robot to increase the efficiency of its existing equipment.

According to the executives, the priority was to improve labor productivity and to expand the volume of manufactured products. The high demand for the company’s products led to extended lead time, which was the main decisive factor.

Analysis of the established process chain showed that one of the problems reducing productivity was the peculiarity of operations performed on the turning machines, particularly such as the Mazak QT-Compact 100 MYL.

Short part programs resulted in operators either not having time to service the machine in the right mode, or leaving the equipment unattended for a while.

 

Selection of equipment

The company’s management considered several options and concluded that the optimization task could be solved by automating technological processes.

Subsequent conceptualization led to further specification. The choice was made for collaborative robots as they take up minimal floor space and allow machine operators to work in the vicinity of the manipulator. Large industrial robots have greater space requirements as well as enhanced security measures for personnel.

The company investigated a number of brands specializing in the supply of industrial robots. The provided demo models showed the potential for integration and interaction with the Mazak turning center. The evaluation was performed by the leading technical experts of the plant.

The Hanwha HCR-12 collaborative robot provided by Top 3D Shop was recognized as the most convenient and reliable solution easy to integrate into the company’s process chain. Moreover, the client appreciated the operational simplicity and user-friendly software.

Top 3D Shop engineers not only carried out commissioning works, but also trained the technicians of the enterprise. 

 

Implementation

According to the company’s management, the purchased collaborative robot can significantly improve the efficiency of one of the links in the technological chain of the enterprise and thus increase the volume of manufactured products. The use of the Hanwha HCR-12 allows the operator of the Mazak turning center to simultaneously monitor the work of two or more CNC machines.

The company specifies that the deployment of cobots is not meant to replace personnel, but to assist highly qualified employees. 

 

Payback

According to preliminary calculations made by the company, the payback period for the Hanwha HCR-12 cobot should not exceed three years.

This is roughly in line with the average figures for various industries. To calculate the payback for introducing robots in your production facility, contact us.

 

Bottom line

The integration of the Hanwha HCR-12 into the plant’s process chain is the company’s first experience in process automation.

If the preliminary calculations are confirmed, the robotization of the plant will continue. Thus, the specialists anticipate not only the expansion of the fleet of collaborative robots, but also the use of cobots to maintain the milling machines.

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