ABB Robotics' Metal Fabrication Customer Magazine | Industrial Robots

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robotics A customer magazine of the ABB Group 1 | 13 The life robotic 6 Robotic laser cutting enhances hot stamping operations Dressed for success 10 Volvo Cars adopts internal dress packs at plants Metals in flux 13 Manufacturing trends explored Metal fabrication issue

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This ABB Robotics's customer magazine 1/13 edition is dedicated to metal fabrication, one of the fastest-growing industry segments undergoing automation.

Transcript of ABB Robotics' Metal Fabrication Customer Magazine | Industrial Robots

  • 1. roboticsA customer magazineof the ABB Group1|13The life robotic 6Robotic laser cutting enhances hot stamping operationsDressed for success 10Volvo Cars adopts internal dress packs at plantsMetals in flux 13Manufacturing trends exploredMetal fabrication issue

2. 2 ABB robotics 1|13Editorialrobotics 1|13WelcometothisspecialissueofABBRoboticsMagazine. Unlike previous issues, this specialedition is dedicated to one overarching theme:metal fabrication, one of the fastest-growingindustry segments undergoing automation.This is clearly evidenced by the numberof robots used in metal fabrication overthe past several years, and is partly due toimproved affordability and impressive returnon investment, along with the increasingcapability of robots to handle harshenvironments. Additionally, by providing asafer, more rewarding work environment andretraining employees as robot operators, end-users are addressing the growing issues ofhigh turnover and finding skilled workers.A look through this issue should be morethan enough to get some thoughts flowingabout how robots can be introduced intoa production facilityor maybe the storiesand news inside can provide ideas on howto make an existing process more efficient.For instance, the new GateFramer body-in-white system (page 4) should be excitingto even the most demanding automotiveemployees. Additionally, new softwarefor cutting (page 5) and machine tending(page 9) aims to simplify installation andcommissioning so that end-users can forgetFrank Zhao (left)ABB Global Industry Segment [email protected] PlattABB Global Application [email protected] 2013 International customer magazine from ABB Robotics Copyright 2013 Segments and Events Communications Manager: Maria ErikssonTel:+46 (0) 7055 42151 E-mail: [email protected] Publisher: ABB Robotics AB Design: Interbrand ZrichProduction: Appelberg Publishing Group AB Printer: Edita, Vsters Any use of text or photos requires the written consent of the publisherabout the complexities of robotic systemsand focus on what they do best.From success stories about roboticlaser cutting (page 6) to press brake tending(page 12) and welding (page 15), the nameof the game is smaller footprints, shorterreturns on investment, faster throughput, andreduced waste, as well as improved flexibility,reliability and ease-of-use. In fact, we exploremany of these issues in an article devotedto dissecting current automation trends inmanufacturing (page 13).Whatever your interest, robotic suc-cesses run the gamut from companies inBangkok (page 16) and Australia (page 22)to worldwide transportation players suchas Volvo (page 10) and De Hoop (page 17).So please, take some time to peruse thefollowing pages and get inspired. If youhave questions, ABB Robotics is easy toreach, with offices in more 50 countriesready and willing to help, and watch for an-other issue of Robotics magazine later thisyear. If you have any comments or questionsregarding this magazine, please feel free tocontact us.Thanks for reading,Frank & NigelNew PC-based software is making machinetending tasks easier, faster and more flexible.09Tending toward simplicityKorean company GNS chose robotic lasercutting for more balanced performance in hotmetal stamping.06The life robotic 3. 3ABB robotics 1|13ContentsContents4News and events calendar Ford Global Powertrainpresents ABB with its Excellence award, and ABB launchesthe new GateFramer system for the automotive industry.6 The life robotic Robotic laser cutting provides a good balance between performance and capital flexibility.9Tending toward simplicity New software builds on ABBslong industry experience to make machine tending taskseasier, faster and more flexible than ever.10Dressed for success At Volvo Cars component factory, Integrated DressPacks lengthen cable and hose lifecyclesand reduce production costs.12Into the fold Switching to an automated solution providedPetal AS with a smarter way to work with its folding machines.13Current trends: metals in flux Nigel Platt discusses thelatest trends driving product development in automationand manufacturing.14Just in time for a change When Hardi International changedits production philosophy, the company needed a solutionthat could keep up with its new strategy.Integrated DressPacks are now an integral part of Volvo Cars effortsto reduce downtime.10Dressed for successNew robotic welding cellshelped Hardi Internationalswitch to a just-in-timeproduction philosphy,helping the company towork more efficiently.14Just in time for a change16Addition by subtraction Thai metal surface coating com-pany MungMai Chromium enhanced overall efficiency, prod-uct qualtiy and profitability with its new robotic installation.17At the cutting edge DeHoops cutting line improved thanks to a solution involving precise laser camera measurements.19Up to speed The Craemer group modernized operationsby implementing ABBs user interface, taking its welding process to the next level.20 Assistance from a distance ABBs Remote Service Monitoring system continuously evaluates the performance robots from anywhere in the world.22Safe and sound A powerful robot with a small foot-print helped increase productivity by 30 percent at CSREdmonds metal press line in Australia.23Metal fabrication products ABB offers a wealth of products,systems and software to aid manufacturers in maximizingtheir productivity while minimizing costs. 4. 4 ABB robotics 1|13News and EventsThe new GateFramer robotic car bodyframing system builds on ABBs nearly 20years of framing experience by providingthe industry with the flexible, accurate,expandable and fast solution that todayscar manufacturers demandresulting inless investment over the lifetime of thesystem.The GateFramer works on a simpleconcept: control all motion in the systemthrough ABBs robust and proven robotcontroller, the IRC5. Up to six differentcar body variants can be framed on thesame line by swapping gates that holdeach car models tooling. With the IRC5in control, gates can be shuffled in thebackground to get ready for the next bodywhile the robots weld the body currentlyin the machine. The result is a consistentgate exchange time of only 18 secondsfor a completely random sequence ofmodelsmeaning production plannersare given unparalleled freedom toadjust mixed-model sequencing to meetdemand.The systems unique design has fourintegrated welding robots just behind thegate for easy access to the body side. Thisallows 14 robots in the framing station forhigh volume production lines.A unique gate docking feature docksthe gates into fixed pillars at the framingposition, which ensures that gates arepositioned in a highly repeatable manner.This precise solution results in anincredible repeatability.CalendarNewsCome and see ABBs newest solutions at the following events:June 2 - 8FEIMAFE 2013,So Paulo, BrazilMay 7 - 9Fabtech Mexico,Monterrey, MexicoJune 18 - 21Essen Welding& Cutting Fair,Shanghai, ChinaPresenting the GateFramer system for the automotive industryABB Robotics new car body framing system helps manufacturersmove to a more flexible and efficient production concept.GateFramer benefits: Flexibility: accommodatesfully random production withno effect on cycle time; free-dom to follow market demand Multiple body variants: canhandle up to six different carmodels on the same line Precision: unique gatedocking feature results in improved repeatability Expandability: Modular de-sign allows new car modelsto be added over time with noeffect on existing production Ease of commissioning: allmotion controlled throughIRC5, removing complexityfrom operator and program-mer Reliability: replaces tradi-tional framing machines withstandardized design usingproven components andtechnologyThe GateFramer car body system can handle up to six different models on the same line. 5. 5ABB robotics 1|13World of ABBOn 12 March 2013, ABB Robotics won theFord Global Powertrain Technical MaturityModel Excellence Award. The honorresulted from a flexible Tube Press andWeld system developed by ABB Roboticsfor the Ford Sterling Axle Plant in SterlingHeights, Michigan, USA. By claiming the2012 Top Award, ABB won out over 126global submissions.We worked closely with the SterlingAxle team throughout the whole process,from the initial concept design to start-up and commissioning at the SterlingAxle Plant, says Pete Thomopoulos,ABB Project Manager. It was truly acollaborative effort between Ford andABB. This is the very first FlexArc Weldapplication developed by ABB to fully meetFords strict specifications.September 16 - 21Schweien& Schneiden,Essen, GermanyNovember 18 - 21Fabtech,Chicago, USANovember 20 - 23Metalex,Bangkok, ThailandRobotStudios Cutting PowerPacABBs Cutting PowerPac is an add-on toRobotStudio, ABBs 3D simulation tool.Specifically designed for laser cutting thissoftware allows users to easily generateand modify cutting programs basedon part geometric features and CADmodels. It also supports simulation andoptimization of cutting programs, set upof interface signals and management ofcutting process data.RobotWare CuttingRobotWare Cutting provides a graphicalinterface geared specifically towards cuttingapplications. It works either as a stand-alone piece of software or when integratedwith the RobotStudio Cutting PowerPac. Itis perfect for tuning, calibration, equipmentintegration and program generation ofcomplex paths and shapes. RobotWareCutting is compatible with most commonlaser cutting equipment brands and itsintuitive graphical user interface makesit easy to use. Use the interface to switchautomatically, and rapidly, between differentproduct series, opening up the possibilityfor fully flexible production where evenshort series manufacturing can be madeprofitable.ABB robots using RobotWare Cuttingare also capable of learning by doing. Thissoftware has advanced Iterative LearningControl algorithm that enables a lasercutting robot to continually improve itscutting performance and accuracy.The award-winning Tube Press and Weld system devised by ABB for the Ford Sterling Axle plant.ABB Robotics introduces RobotStudio Cutting PowerPac andRobotWare CuttingABBs new software simplifies high-precision robotics laser cuttingABB presented with Ford Global Powertrain Excellece AwardA flexible Tube Press and Weld system by ABB wins the 2012Top Award. 6. 6 ABB robotics 1|13Increase product manufacturing flexibilityText Doug Hixon Photography ABB RoboticsThe liferoboticRobotic laser cutting provides balanceof performance and capital flexibility,helping companies enter and expandin hot stamping.In the modern automotive industry,using lightweight and higher-strength steels in vehicle safetycages has emerged as an importantway to improve passenger safety andfuel economy while reducing capitalcosts and maintaining profits. Theprocess used to create this kind ofmetalcalled hot metal stampingconverts low-tensile strength metalinto extremely high strength steel byforming it while it is still very hot andthen cooling it quickly in a die.Once the parts are press hardenedduring the hot stamping processthey become too hard to be cut usingtraditional methods and must be trimmedwith a laser. This laser cutting processis highly precise, and provides an addedbenefit of trim lines, feature sizes and cutlocations that can be easily adjusted tohandle a wide variety of parts.Companiesthatenterthehotstampingbusiness have two basic choices when itcomes to laser equipment: five-axis lasercutting machinery or six-axis roboticlaser technology. While the performanceof each option is comparable, there aresome distinct differences.The five-axis machine does not havea fixed base; it hovers over the part it iscutting in a linear motion, with the partbeing manipulated by the axes of themachine. The robot works on a part froma fixed base using its axes to access thepart, which is usually affixed to an in-dexing positioner, often with part rota-tion functionality. The five-axis machinegenerally has up to a 35 percent higherthroughput, but the robotic equipmentcan be up to 2530 percent less expen-sive, and occupies 1525 percent lessfloor space. The robotic equipment is al-so easier to maintain, with less movingparts and robotic technicians in greatersupply. The five-axis machine is typicallyregarded as more accurate, but the ro-bot matches it in path repeatability. Forall intents and purposes though, yearsof industry experience shows that theperformance, aesthetics and function-al quality of the finished parts are nearlyidentical.Korean company GNS recently faceda decision on laser cutting equipment.GNS acquired a traditional stampingbusiness in Holland, Michigan, with thegoal of expanding into the hot stamp-ing business. We saw a great growthopportunity in hot stamping and knew 7. 7ABB robotics 1|13Increase product manufacturing flexibilityThe robotic lasercutting option is lessexpensive, easier tomaintain and has asmaller footprint thanconventional lasercutting machinery.>> 8. 8 ABB robotics 1|13Increase product manufacturing flexibilitythat laser cutting was the only proventechnology for cutting the hot stampedboron material, says Elie Mordovana-ki, the director of engineering for GNSin the US. Nothing else is economical-ly viable.Mordovanaki had to review themerits of both technologies based onmany factors including the long-termbusiness plan for GNS in the US, andthe capital available to expand into hotstamping. A five-axis machine can costbetween USD 900,000 to 1.2 million; therobotic option is considerably less. Withthe greater throughput of the five-axismachine, however, the future volumeexpectations of the business had to beexamined as well.Says Mordovanaki: Looking atthe volume projections for the Hollandoperation, we were confident that therobotic equipment would suit our needs.With the modular, quick setup and spaceefficient nature of robots, we were alsocomfortable that we could easily addmore robotic laser cells as our businessexpanded.The analysis proved to be wellfounded: the first laser cutting roboticcell was installed in the Holland facilityin the summer of 2009, with a secondinstalled just over a year later in the fallof 2010.We looked at other manufacturers but chose ABBbecause the design of the robot was best suited forlaser cutting, and the accompanying software waswell beyond anything on the market.Elie Mordovanaki, Director of Engineering for GNSWe looked at other manufacturersbut chose ABB because the design of therobot was best suited for laser cutting,and the accompanying software was wellbeyond anything on the market, saysMordovanaki.The first cell is an ABB LaserCut500C featuring an ABB IRB 2400 robotwith a rigid arm suitable for laser cuttingand the second cell is an ABB LaserCut600R, both of which are integrated withan IPG Photonics 3 kW laser and a LaserMech zero degree FiberCut head.We worked very closely with theteam at GNS to understand theirneeds and to configure a cell to meettheir exact requirements, says ErwinDiMalanta, senior manager, Robots &Applications, ABB Robotics. Much ofthe success on each cell we deliveredis attributable to GNS willingness toadopt and learn the technology, and thecollaborative relationship throughoutthe entire design and constructionprocess.Some very good business decisionscoupled with the resurgence of thedomestic automobile industry and thecontinued growth of hot metal stampinghas served GNS very well. The companyopened a new hot stamping facility inCanton, Michigan, in April 2012, completewith two additional robotic laser cuttingcells. In addition to serving as a Tier 2automotive supplier, GNS has begun toserve domestic auto OEMs directly andcan now be classified as a true Tier 1supplier.I estimate that approximately 10 20percent of the metal parts in domesticautomobiles are currently hot stamped.I believe it wont be long before thatnumber increases to 40 percent, andperhaps beyond, says Mordovanaki.The laser cell atGNS has helped thecompany dive intothe hot stampingbusiness.Adapted from an article in ManufacturingEngineering magazine, June 2012Click here to see ABB Robotics laser cuttingsolution for hot metal stamping. 9. 9ABB robotics 1|13Improved productivityUsing robots to load andunload raw materials intomachinery has provided ahost of dramatic benefitsincluding reduced costs, increasedthroughput, less waste and higherquality. Of the more than 200,000 robotsABB has installed around the world sincethe 1970s, about 30,000 of them havebeen in machine tending environmentsextensive experience that helps ourcustomers meet and exceed their goals.This year weve taken the next majorstep in the evolution of our machine tendingsoftware.Withaneyetowardssimplifyingtheprocess of commissioning, programmingand operating robotic machine tendingtasks, weve built a software packagethat allows our customers to focus onwhat matters most and forget about thecomplexities of robotic systems.The new PC-based RobotStudioMachine Tending PowerPac and the newcontroller-based RobotWare MachineTending software allow for simulation,validation and optimization to be completedin the 3D virtual world and then transferreddirectly to the real-world. Everything fromcycle times to post processing capabilitiesto potential risks for collisions can besimulated virtually before costly mistakesare made on the factory floor.As a company we put a lot of effortinto creating solutions that are trulyinnovative, says ABB Product Manager,Andreas Eriksson. With this new systemof software weve hit many of the mainconsiderations. Its flexibility makes it easyand fast to program machine tending cells,and our control software is usable by evenless skilled workers. These are things ourcustomers are always looking for.RobotStudio Machine Tending Power-Pacan add-on for RobotStudio, ABBspowerfully simple PC-based programmingtoolprovides a platform for quick, easycreation and editing of machine tending ro-bot cells in a 3D virtual environment. Witha library of common grippers and stationText ABB Robotics Photography ABB RoboticsTending toward simplicityNew software builds on long industry experience to makeprogramming and operation of machine tending tasks easier,faster and more flexible than eversaving time and money.typesand built-in support for most ma-chines and peripheral equipmentgettinga cell up and running in the virtual world iseasy. In addition, safety is simplified withthe capability to define safe home positionmovements in a virtual environment.RobotWare Machine Tending is de-signed to be an effective, stand-alone,controller-based programming, config-uration and operation tool, but is alsotightly integrated with the RobotStudioMachine Tending PowerPac. An intui-tive and customizable graphical user in-terface allows for easy production moni-toring and control, as well as automaticprogram and part selection. Althoughthe interface has been designed so thateven less trained individuals can controlmost common tasks, the software alsoprovides unlimited access to ABBs stan-dard programming tools, and the under-lying RAPID programming language, formore advanced users.The needs of our customers driveeverything we do; when they are suc-cessful, so are we, says Eriksson. Withthe introduction of these two pieces ofsoftware ABB seeks to solidify our leadas the go-to innovator in the robotic ma-chine tending market, growing our largegroup of successful customers in theprocess.Software benefits Tight integration: PC-based RobotStudio PowerPac works seamlessly withcontroller-based RobotWare Easy to program: PC-based programming faster, reduces downtime;programming on controller is easy to use Flexible: Modular programming structure, intuitive graphical user interfaceand unlimited access to RAPID Easy to control: Cycle handling and program control through an intuitive interface Quick installation: Plug-and-play seamless integration between PC-basedand controller-based software Trouble-free: Safe HomeRun, advanced error handling, easily accessibleproduction statistics, fast re-programming 10. 10Increased productivityABB robotics 1|13Text: Jean-Paul Small Photography: SitesingExterior cables on robots breakdown quickly from wear and tearand when they do, maintenanceand downtime become veryexpensive; especially for companies thatuse many robots.At Volvo Cars component factoryin Olofstrm, Sweden, these concernswere very real. The plant makes andsupplies components to Volvo assemblyplants in Gent, Belgium, and Torslanda,Sweden. Technicians at the componentsfacility, who are responsible for around600 robots, needed to ensure that theserobots operated without interruption dayin and day out, all year round.They addressed this issue by havingmany of their robots switch from usingexternal dress packs to ABBs IntegratedDressPack solution. From a costperspective, the additional investmentmade a lot of sense as this solutionimmediately increases the lifetime ofthese hoses and cables up to severalyears, reducing overall maintenance.Using internal dress packs haveproven to be more cost effectivefor Volvo Cars in other ways, too. Atits Torslanda facility, Volvo Cars hasseveral robotic production lines that stilluse external dress packs, and repairsto those dress packs are one of themain costs.Cables and hoses attached to theserobots supply the electricity, water, airand welding power, along with the signaland process controls necessary forproduction. Protecting these cables is ofvital importance to the productivity of anysetup.For production operations thatprioritize accessibility and use complexwrist movements that require flexibility,the Integrated DressPack worksperfectly. The robot has its processcables routed inside the upper arm andthrough the robot wrist. The cables followevery motion of the robot arm, instead ofswinging in irregular patterns.Swinging cables wear out quickly.When routed inside the upper arm, thecables are firmly in place during robotoperation, which results in reducedwear. They are also protected from weldspatters, heat and collisions. So theservice life is increased to 68 years ina three-shift operation, compared with12 years for an external dress pack,providing an important advantage inhigher uptime and lower maintenancecosts.From 2005, when an IntegratedDresspack was installed on the firstrobot, to March 2012, there have beenonly five breakdowns at Olofstrm. Todaythe facility has around 200 robots thatDressedfor successABBs Integrated DressPacks helpedVolvo Cars enhance cable and hoselifecycles, reduce production costs anddowntime, increase floor-space savingsand secure shorter start-up times. 11. 11Increased productivityABB robotics 1|13Integrated Dresspacks allow for a more compactfootprint which maximizes floor space.are fitted with Integrated DressPacks.But reduced maintenance costs are notthe only benefit.ABBs Integrated DressPack alsoboasts a compact design, which fitsperfectly with the floor space at theOlofstrm component factory. In anarea the size of several soccer fields,IRB 6600 and IRB 6640 robots are fittedwith Integrated DressPacks and dividedinto four cells that work on the doorsfor various Volvo models. This optionallows for a more compact footprint incrowded workspaces, and was madepossible using software that helpedsimulate the movement of the robotsperfectly before they were installed onthe floor.Volvo Cars performs 3D simulationson almost 100 percent of its equipment,which is only possible with the internaldress pack, whose movements arepredictable with total accuracy; this isnot feasible with the unpredictability ofthe cables in external dresspacks. Thedata collected from the simulation is usedto maximize floor space without worryingabout collisions.Another benefit is that the IntegratedDressPacks modular design allows for aquick and easy 20-minute cable change,if necessary.One of the big advantages of theIntegrated DressPack option is that it isstandard and optimized and thus doesnot require individual settings per robot,says Torbjorn Albertsson, Spot WeldingProduct Manager at ABB Robotics.Now that Volvo has seen the benefitsof integrated dress packs over manyyears, the company plans to continueusing internal dress packs and ensurethey are a part of all automation plansin the future.Volvo Cars More than16 million total cars pro-duced between 1927 and December2010 at plants in Torslanda, Gent andUddevalla, and its assembly plants inMalaysia, Thailand, South Africa andChina. The Olofstrm factory manufacturescomponents and then ships them toVolvo Cars assmbly plants in Gent,Belgium and Torslanda, Sweden. A typical car door on the VolvoXC60 model requires upwards of 150spot-welds with a cycle time of 86seconds. Total number of robots at VolvoCars: 2200, half of which are fromABB. Integrated DressPack-fittedrobots at Olofstrm: 200.Benefits of theIntegrated DressPack Substantially improved life of cables and hosing Smaller footprint means amore compact space, whichsaves money Process wrist can enter narrow parts of a car body. Fully predictable movementsand behavior with offline pro-gramming (only possible withinternal dressing) Modular solution meansdressing can be changedvery fast, saving valuabletime Standardization and optimi-zation means no tweaking ofrobots needed to maximizeperformance at Volvo CarsOlofstrm component factory 12. 12 ABB robotics 1|13Improve product quality and consistencyText Jean-Paul Small Photography SitesingProduction at Petal AS in Vik iSogn, Norway, had becomecomplicated. The buildingfaade systems producerhas high demands on accuracy andprecision for press brake tendingbending sheet and plate materialforthe outer face of buildings. Handlinglarge, awkward panelssometimesup to four meters long and one meterwiderequired at least two workersto manually feed the heavy sheets intopress brake tending machines.If that wasnt enough, in order toswitch between different products duringproduction, tools had to be changedmanually on the old folding machine. Thesystem needed an overhaul, one thatfocused on production, flexibility andincreased turnover as priorities.Petal looked for a solutions providerthat could take these considerations intoaccount, integrating the feeding systemwith the press brake tending machineto create a more efficient productionsystem. They stopped their search afterspeaking to ABB and Swedish platebending press producer Ursviken Tech,itself an ABB customer.We really like the performance of thefolding machine that ABB and Ursvikenpresented, says Petal Production Man-ager, Fridtjov Helgesen. They understoodour problems and presented solutionsbased on the technical specifications.With the new solution, productionstarts with a camera scanning the QR codeof the sheet, which tells the IRB6640 robotthe size of the specific panel so that it canadjust the gripper automatically for widthand length. The gripper robot then picksup and inserts the sheet into the robotcontrolled press brake tending machinefor precise folding maneuvers.Considering a panel can be up to fourmeters long, using a conventional foldingmachine can be problematic as the panelmust be followed all the way to its heightduring the folding process.With this solution, the panel staysstill on the track while we fold the shortside, says ABB Project Manager Per-Olof Karlsson. And thanks to the factthat the folding machine is controlled bythe robots seventh axis, its possible todo both programming and simulation inRobotStudio.In addition, the system is extremelyflexible, allowing the operator outside ofthe cell to prepare a new a new tool andslide it into the cell for the robot to pickup, all without interrupting production.The robot picks up the tool, installs itinto the folding machine and then panelproduction automatically starts up again.The flexibility in working with largeand small panels and the ability changetools easily were major contributingfactors in choosing this solution, saysHegesen. And the increased turnovermakes it possible for the system to pay foritself in only 3-5 years. With a minimumlifecycle of 10 years, the machines will befolding metal, and saving money, for yearsto come.Switching to an automated solution provided building-faadeexperts Petal AS with a smarter and more efficient way towork with its folding machines, maximizing the systems value.Into the foldThe robot inserts the sheet into the robot controlled press brake tending machine for precise folding.Summary of system benefits Flexibility Improved quality Huge range in size up to 4.1 meters long Automatic switching betweenproducts No manual handling causingdamaged parts Bending machine is con-trolled by robots 7th axis Increased turnoverClick here to see a video of Petals new roboticsolution in action. 13. 13ABB robotics 1|13TrendsCurrent trends:metals in fluxText Nigel Platt Photography ABB RoboticsWith change the only constantin the manufacturing industry,how will factors such asglobalization and increasedautomation affect the futureof the sector?Global and integratedMany companies see low-cost country utilizationas a key differentiator inremaining competitive;however, it is sometimeshard to find completesupport in less developedregions. In addition, manycustomers with globalproduction facilitiesneed product quality,equipment uptime andlabor competence to beconsistent across theplanet. This means that thetechnical solutions need tobe supplied and supportedglobally. With offices andservice in more than 50countries and 24 hour partdelivery to any region, ABBRobotics understands thisissue well.Reliability and highutilizationVery high utilization ofautomation equipment isrequired to get maximumoutput on a minimuminvestment. High utilizationonly results from well-engineered and testedsolutions with highavailability. Often thecomplexity of the kind ofproduction equipmentrequired to handle mixedproduction is higher, whichputs increased demandson the reliability of eachindividual building blockin a production system.Using standardized, flexiblesolutions that are createdwith time-tested equipmentassures the kind of highutilization, ease-of-use andsimple maintenance requiredeverywhere in the world.Flexible productionIn addition to the increasedneed for standardized andmodular solutions, theindustry is shifting the wayit manufactures and deliversproducts to the end-user.Mixed production and shorterproduct lifetimes result in aneed for shorter productionruns that can be changedon the fly to accommodatea wide variety of demandsfrom a mixed customer base.Increased equipment flexibilityis the only way these demandscan be met. The requiredtime to market is becomingmuch shorter and investorsare demanding shorter returnson their investments. Whencombined with the fact that themarket window for a productintroduction is small, this drivesthe need for a short cyclefrom idea to ready product.Standardized and flexibleautomated systems are reallythe only way to accomplishthis.On-demand is the goalIn order to match output withnew customer demands,parallel production is oftenrequired. Parallel productionallows for phasing new orupdated products into anexisting production lineor cell without disruptingproduction. The ability torebalance production outputto suit market demands(i.e., increasing the outputof best-selling products anddecreasing the output of lesspopular products on demand)is vital to profitability. Thistype of demand for flexibilityis now seen in automotiveOEM production, Tier 1 andTier 2 automotive suppliersand much of the generalmetal fabrication industry,and we only expect it toincrease in the future.Nigel Platt shares his thoughts about the future of automation.Robotics magazine sat down with Nigel Platt, GlobalApplication Manager Welding and Cutting, to discuss thecurrent trends that are driving product development inmanufacturing circles. 14. 14 ABB robotics 1|13Reduce inventory and work-in-progressText Jean-Paul Small Photography Tobias OhlsJust in timefor a changeWhen sprayer specialist Hardi International modernized itsproduction philosophy, the company needed an automatedsolution that could keep up with its new strategy. 15. 15ABB robotics 1|13Reduce inventory and work-in-progressAfter 55 years of massproducing its products,Hardi International decidedto change things up. TheDanish manufacturer specializes insprayer systems for plant protectionin the agriculture sector, and had usedrobots to manufacture its goods since1982.In fact, the company first started usingABB robots in production processes at itsfacility in Nrre Alslev, Denmark, in 1986.Hardi installed a cell with ABB arc weldingrobots and positioners in 2001.While these robots were clearly animprovement over older models, furtherchange was still to come.The companys traditional philosophyfocused on mass production. Hardi usedto store vast amounts of the approximately250 different products it produced and waitfor the orders to roll in; a business modelthat many manufacturers still use today.Also, in order to produce so many differentproducts at one location technicians atHardi had to constantly reconfigure theautomated cell, which was time consumingand not very efficient. But not anymore.In 2006 the company decided tomodernize its philosophy, switching toa just-in-time production strategy thatfocuses on becoming more efficient byeliminating inventory. Hardi would nolonger store its products; instead, it wouldmanufacture products when the orders forthose products were placed.Two of the biggest challenges thecompany faced during the changeoverprocess were improving time managementand increasing production flexibility. Froma production standpoint, this change instrategy would use time more efficiently,save on energy costs and free up the spacereserved for storing products. But thistype of new philosophy would also requireautomation that could fit these very specificneeds.When replacing the old cells, one ofthe most important things for us was toadhere to our new production philosophy,says Rasmus Friis-Vestergaard, TechnicalManager at Hardi. It was essential that thenew cells reduced set-up times.With the help of Andon Automationarobotic arc welding application companythat was originally the old systems divisionat ABBthe sprayer specialist upgradedto two ABB IRB 2400s for arc welding andtwo IRB 750R positioners. Furthermorethe stations were connected to a materialAbout HARDIHARDI was founded more than50 years ago in Denmark. In2007, the company joined EXELIndustries (approximately EUR450 million revenue and 2,600employees) which is listed on theParis Stock Exchange. A worldleader in spraying technology, EXELIndustries is present in the threemajor spraying areas: Industry(spray guns and other applicationequipment for liquid, viscous orpowder products), Consumer (handoperated sprayers for gardening)and Agriculture (field, orchard andvineyard sprayers).About AndonAutomationand ABBAndon Automation is a completeintegrator of arc welding robots,specializing in solutions for lowbatch production. As a ValueProvider for ABB, Andonsaccumulated experience hasbeen gained from a vast numberof successful installations aroundthe world and ensures end-usersbenefit when implementing aprofitable production system.handling system, automatically servingthe positioners with pallets containingdifferent workpieces. Without this, one-piece production would not be feasibledue to set-up times that were often quitehigh compared with the welding time.We were very satisfied with the robotsperformance, says Friis-Vestergaard.They are very rigid and we rarelyexperienced any problems with them.In 2012 Hardi decided to take the nextstep in their production strategy. While thesystem from 2006 offered the possibilityof low-batch production and short set-uptimes, it did not store the unused palletsin the system. It was also not designed forproduction of Hardis larger work pieces.ABB and Andon were ready to help,offering a larger cell that was more flexibleand user-friendly.Were still in the design phase, saysPhilip Holst, Application Manager atAndon Automation, but the new cell willfeature three hanging, absolute calibratedIRB 1600ID robots with internal dressing.The internal dress packs add flexibility tothe robots, which we knew was vital toHardi. The absolute calibration togetherwith smart programming will providethe possibility of using the same robotprogram in all three stations. Also, thematerial handling system can storepallets waiting to be welded, unloaded orcurrently not in production.The workflow operators will haveAndons graphical interface, which willfacilitate the entire operation. Additionally,the Andon-supplied data logger willprovide production statistics to Hardisquality system, giving Hardi the possibilityto follow up their production very closely.For Hardi, reducing set-up times,becoming more flexible and prioritizingefficiency is a welcome change; one thatcame just in time.IRB 2400ID advantages: Integrated processing cable Enclosed cable housing Robust design Flexible integration 16. 16Increased productivityABB robotics 1|13As one of the worlds busiestand most dynamic cities,Bangkok is the perfect homefor MungMai Chromiumacompany that specializes in innovativemetal surface coating with an eye onthe future. While MungMai mainlyserves the automotive industry, it hasseen growing interest in coatings fromgeneral industry as well.In order to meet what he sees as greatpotential for future growth, MungMaiPresident Preecha Boonvieng wanted tomodernize operations at the companys1720 square meter facility, and in theprocess improve product quality andefficiency. In the past the company useda gantry system (or automatic transfermachine). The products were dipped inhuge tankslined up in sequential ordercontaining the chemicals for coating.MungMai Chromiums new robotic solutionfrom ABB reduced production times whileimproving the companys overallefficiency, product quality and profitability.Addition bysubtractionThe most pressing problems they facedwere the uneven or over-coating of thedipped products, slow transition timesand potential danger that workers wereexposed to by the vats of chemicals.Additionally, it was difficult to change andmaintain the production system and thecompany lost approximately 15 percentof products due to inefficient processes.Not only were we wasting time,but most importantly the products werebeing exposed to the air for long periodswhich had a big effect on their quality,says Boonvieng.So at the end of 2011, Boonvieng andother company representatives started theirsearch for alternative and more efficientproduction solutions. At the 2011 Metalextrade show in Bangkok they met withmany robotic solutions providers, includingABB. MungMai scheduled a meeting withrepresentatives from ABB Thailand andwere won over by their presentation.Using RobotStudios 3D simulation wewere able to provide hard data on exactlyhow our solution would function, includingcycle times and precise movements ofthe robots during the coating process,says Lumbdoon Simakajornboon RoboticBusiness Unit Manager ABB Thailand. Thesimulation played a big role in showing howefficient the process could be, and helpedMungMai be very confident in their decisionto go with ABB.The robotic solution, installed in 2012,paid immediate dividends. The 18 robotsare 33 percent more efficient than theprevious set up, and dipping transitiontime, coating evenness and processsequence all improved, which meantproducing more usable parts. Also, wherethe process used to take 10 minutes for aproduct to be coated, that time has beenreduced to two minutes.Not only is the set up more efficient, butproduct quality and safety have improvedimmeasurably. (ABBs Internal DressPackreduces the risk of cables splashingchemicals onto employees)We knew of ABBs quality andglobal standard for quite some time,says Boonvieng. We werent onlybuying a product, but the reliability andtrustworthiness of the entire company. Wehave also been able to reduce productioncosts, which will keep us competitive in theautomotive market.Plans are already underway for MungMaito add 15 more robotic units in 2013.We werent only buying a product, but thereliability and trustworthiness of the entirecompany, says MungMai Chromiums PresidentPreecha Boonvieng.Text Jean-Paul Small Photography ABB Robotics 17. 17ABB robotics 1|13Enhanced productivity and flexibilityAt a shipyard in theNetherlands, largesheets of steel arecut into smallerplates for shipconstruction. Thanksto a solution involvingprecise laser-camerameasurements andreal-time feedback,productivity at thecutting line hasquadrupled.At thecuttingedgeText Bob Emmerson Photo Ruben KeestraDe Hoop is a Dutch shipyard richin history and strong in the inlandpassenger vessel and offshoremarkets, although the companycan completely engineer and build virtuallyany type of ship. That is, if the ship isordered early enough; De Hoops orderbook is full. In order to boost productionand introduce a more flexible process, thecompany commissioned a groundbreakingcontrol system from Hanko B.U.S.*, a firmthat specializes in customized roboticsolutions.A ship comprises thousands of steelplates in a wide range of shapes and sizes.The plates are cut from large sheets andtransported to a yard, where they arewelded together.De Hoops new system uses a lasercamera to make precise measurements ofthe height of the steel plate during cutting.This parameter varies during productionduetotheheatgeneratedbythegasplasmatorch and the speed at which the steelplate is cut. Mounted seven centimetersahead of the torch, the camera transmitsthis information in real time to a postprocessor system, which translates it intothe programming language of the robot.ABBs control system, which incorporatesTrueMove and QuickMove technology,then makes the necessary adjustments tothe position of the torch but thats onlypart of the story.The robot and the associatedelectronics are mounted on a gantry, andthe process begins when the large mothersheet, which bends under its own weight,is placed on the production line.The robot marks cutting lines andidentifications onto the sheet; this is doneby reducing the power supplied to thecutting torch. The number of plates createdfrom a sheet can vary up to a maximumof 40, and very few of them are identical.The post processor has a library of the 18. 18 ABB robotics 1|13Enhanced productivity and flexibilityRobot benefits Production time reduced by75 percent Increased flexibilty: twoyards served by one cuttinglocation No need for outsourcing atbusy periods Labor costs reduced, fromnine to two employees ROI in about 12 months Control system incorporatesABBs TrueMove andQuickMove, technology thatfurther increases cuttingDe HoopHeadquartered in Lobith, where theRhine enters the Netherlands, DeHoop also has a second yard atFoxhol, which is near Groningen,the largest city in the north of thecountry. The company, which hasthe competence and capability todeliver turn-key projects, has builtover 1,500 vessels.Few of the steel plates used to build a ship arethe same, so Johan Fasel, Production Managerat De Hoop, values the flexibility provided by thecompanys new robotic cutting solution.plates shapes and the way that they arepositioned on the sheet, information thatis generated by the ships design program.The next stage is to cut the individualplates along the marked lines at 45meters per minute. In order to prepare theplate and ensure a good weld, the edge ofthe plates may need a special profile. Thefirst cut is made at 90 degrees, followed bytwo angled cuts of maximum 45 degrees one positive and one negative. Becausethe first cut separates individual platesfrom a large production sheet, the platestend to move more during the angled cuts(the smaller the individual plate, the biggerthe potential movement).However, Hankos system solvesthis problem: the laser camera feeds acontinuous flow of compensation data on allplate movements back to the control system.The ability to make both positive andnegative cuts without turning the plate overis unique, says Rene Oosthoek, AndonManager*. It is one of the factors that haveenabled us to reduce De Hoops productiontime by a massive 75 percent. This featuredemonstrates the flexibility of the 6-axis IRB140 robot, which Hanko was able to exploitwhen developing the software for the postprocessor.The control systems software enablesa flexible, integrated process: Informationfrom the design files is translated into alibrary of shop-floor production files andinstructions for the robots control system,so the program automatically marks theplates and cuts them with laser-sharpprecision. In addition, the program controlsthe 3-axis movements of the gantry aswell as the extraction system that removesthe dust and fumes.Only one operator is needed to selectthe relevant production file and supervisethe operation. The only other manual partsof the process involve putting sheets ontothe production line and transporting them tothe yard after cutting. Only two employeesare now needed for a job that used to requirenine. The line currently has a throughput of90 tons per week serving two yards, and itis expected to reach 100 tons in the future.The increase in productivity is obviouslyimportant, says Johan Fasel, ProductionManager at De Hoop. It allows us to do thecutting for two yards on the same system,and it minimizes the need to outsourcecutting when we are very busy. However,the really big benefit is the flexibility that wenow have.*Hanko activities have been taken over byAndon Gameren in the Netherlands. 19. 19Technological innovationABB robotics 1|13Up to speedThe Craemer Group modernized operations by implementingABBs user interface, taking itswelding processes to the next level.Text Jean-Paul Small Photography Luca SiermannProgress and innovation havealways been priorities for theCraemer Group. The 100-year-old family business is one ofthe leading manufacturers in Europe, wellknown for designing and manufacturingmetal parts for a variety of industries.One focus area for Craemer is theproduction of seats for the automotiveindustry. The company manufacturestools for the entire production process,with the exception of the welding cells.We design, engineer and manufac-ture the press tools to manipulate themetal into the desired shape, says Rein-er Veit, Production Manager at Craemerheadquarters.Since 2005, the company has investedin robotic welding solutions from ABB.Two FlexArc cells had previously been inuse in the main factory in Herzebrock-Clarholz, Germany, and one at its metalplant in Liptovsk Mikul, Slovakia.In an effort to modernize its processes,in mid-2012 Craemer installed anothercell for welding structural seat parts.The new cell included an IRBP R-600rotatable workpiece positioner andIRB 1600 robot. The robot is extremelyversatile, capable of bending backwards,and durable: its payload options makethe IRB 1600 the strongest robot in itsclass.Located in the front part of the cell isthe rotatable workpiece positioner, with aretaining device for workpieces on either side.The rear of the cell contains the IRB 1600robot. When the operator loads the partsto be welded into the workpiece positioner,they are then positioned into the cell. Whilethe IRB 1600 performs welding, the operatorcan set the next workpieces in the seconddevice. This allows us to achieve the highestlevels of productivity in every cell, says Veit.The new cell was also integratedwith the ABBs communication interfaceSpeedWeld, an innovation that makesthe welding process more reliable andprovides better results.The program was complex and highwelding speeds were very complicated,says Christian Mickasch, ABB SalesRepresentative for the field of metalprocessing. Every movement of the robothad to be programmed separately. TheSpeedWeld now connects the weldingmachine and the robot to a processingunit.Perhaps the most impressive featureof the SpeedWeld system allows forcommunication between the IRB 1600 andthe control unit of the power source. Theactual speed of the robot is transmitted tothe control unit of the power source, whichautomatically adjusts its parameters withthis information. The need for complexprogramming is practically eliminated."We get great results despite differentspeeds, accelerations and decelerationswithin a welding operation, and a constantheat input," explains Mickasch."We also profit from SpeedWeld,which provides an optimum welding resultwith constant penetration and the sameseam look at all points of the weld - evenat the turning points," says Veit.Apart from the technical innovation,the production manager is impressed bythe ease of implementation of the weldingcell. The cell was fully constructed byABB and delivered in a plug-and-playversion. So within three days, it wasseamlessly integrated into Craemersproduction process.System advantages Low investmentcosts Higher quality Short deliverytimes due tostandardization Reduced integra-tion costs throughpre-assembly Easy and fastcommissioning 20. 20ServiceABB robotics 1|13Robots are now found inmost of the worlds industrialapplications, working around theclock, day in and day out. Whilerobots are proven to be incredibly reliableand robust, sometimes maintenanceissues can lead to production stoppagewhich means lost revenueso keepingthese robots performing at their peakefficiency is of vital importance to theeconomic health of a business. As such,every company that depends on robotsshould be asking this question: what willwe do if a robot malfunctions?The goal of ABBs Remote Service isto eliminate, as much as possible, anyunplanned stoppage by continuouslyevaluating the performance of ABB robotsusingawirelessRemoteMonitoringSystem.This service enables a malfunctioningrobot to set off an alarm and request helpitself. The ABB service support center thenreceives complete diagnostic informationvia wireless technology, analyzes the dataon the Remote Service portal and a servicespecialist responds with support in justminutes.In addition to the ability to predictfailures, the remote support tool enablesengineers to troubleshoot problemsquickly. With the help of the robot serviceassessment module, Remote Servicegenerates a preventive maintenanceschedule on the basis of actual usageand also provides a back-up schedulingsystem, saving critical robot control andprogram software at planned intervals toany available storage location. This uniqueservice is paying off for customers and ABBalike, and in the process is revolutionizingthe way we think about servicemeaninga shift away from scheduled maintenanceto a focus on usage-based maintenance.ABBs remote monitoring solution isoffered as part of the ABB Robot Careservice level agreement, and is aimedat securing the highest possible robotperformance and productivity.The built-in monitoring unit providesimmediate information about the status ofthe robot, ensuring potential failures arespotted and corrective actions are takenquickly to keep critical robots in operation.ABBs remote monitoring service offersthese features and support through threespecific avenues:Money lost by production stoppageFailure occurs Failure spottedby ABB and thecustomerReaction timeReaction time Trouble shooting by ABBspecialist and customermaintenance personRepair by customermaintenance person utilizingon-site spare parts andspare modulesCONSIDERABLE SAVING POTENTIALContact time Travel time TroubleshootingRepairCurrent processImproved by Remote Monitoring ServicesFailure is corrected,production up andrunningAssistancefrom a distanceText and illustration ABB RoboticsABBs Remote Service helps monitor thehealth of robots from anywhere in the world.Remote supportIn up to 50 percent of all cases, remotesupport gets robots back online withoutthe need for a site visit from a specialist. Inaddition to remote support, proper trainingof maintenance staff and the availability ofon-site spare parts are key elements tofast failure recovery. With the experience ofover 200,000 robots installed around theworld, ABB is able to provide users withsound and cost effective advice.Robot service assessmentAs part of the remote monitoring service, asite audit establishes a baseline for how arobot is used in its environment. With thehelp of a special software tool a detailedassessment report with a maintenancerecommendation is generated. In thisway, maintenance costs and effort can bereduced by 20 percent or more.Remote condition monitoring andpredictionInstead of tedious inspections or analysis,Remote Service monitors key parametersover time to automatically identify trends,predict potential failures and, whennecessary, notify the robot user and theABB support center about any issues oractions needed. The aim is to preventunplanned stops and provide the customerwith peace of mind. 21. 21ServiceABB robotics 1|13784312651. Remote monitoring centerRemote monitoring center with application servers,databases and diagnostic tools2. Global service intelligence unitCertified ABB engineers monitor robot status 24/73. Customer production locationRobots with internet connection4. Customer officesAccessing robot data via MyRobot webpage5. Customer production locationRobots with wireless GPRS/3G connection6. Customer production locationRobots with both wireless and internet connection7. ABB service centerCertified ABB support engineers on stand-by8. ABB support engineerField service engineer with remote access 22. 22Increased productivityABB robotics 1|13The metal press at CSR Edmondsin Sydney, Australia, turnsaluminum coils into a varietyof components used to makeventilation equipment.In the past, the press had to bemechanically interrupted and the pieceinside removed by hand after it had beenstamped. The pieces were then stackedmanually in bins or baskets. This not onlyprevented a smooth production process,but could also potentially cause seriousinjury if the safety circuit failed while astamped unit was being removed.Robotics was the key to making met-al stamping production both smootherand safer. The solution for CSR Edmondsincluded the ABB IRB 2600 industrial ro-bot, IRC5 robot control system and FlexSafe and soundA powerful robot with a small footprinthelped an Australian manufacturer increaseproductivity by 30 percent and virtuallyeliminate risk on a metal press line.Text and photo ABB CommunicationsPendant touch screen operator interface.This robotic system has increased pro-ductivity by at least 30 percent, reducedper unit production time from 12 to 8seconds, and has practically eliminatedphysical risk from the stamping line.ABB system integrator Apex Automationand Robotics designed, developed andinstalledthesystem,providingCSREdmondswith a flexible and reliable automationsolution for the picking and palletizing side ofthe metal stamping process.Installations like this can bechallenging because floor space is usuallyconfined, and systems have to be flexibleenough to handle multiple products ofdifferent sizes and shapes, said Apexproject manager, Angelo Di Lorenzo.On the workplace safety side, itsvirtually eliminated handling risk, says CSREdmonds Operation Manager Hans Alzein.Some of these processes were very laborintensive, so now we can have peopleworking in other areas trained to run thesystem and improve their skill levels overall.Fast, light, compact and agile, theABB IRB 2600 industrial robot has a smallfootprint and reduced cycle times, whichenables manufacturers to get the most outof their production space and processes.They are also flexible, and can be mountedon the floor, a shelf, tilted or hanging.Built on the industrys most advancedoperating system for controlling robotsand peripheral equipment, IRC5 optimiz-es path generation and dramatically cutscycle times. Featuring the ABB Robot-Ware OS featuring RAPID language, co-ordinated motion control technology andcommunications interfaces it is recog-nised as one of the most powerful and ef-fective available in the market.So, while its the first ABB robot in theSeven Hills factory, says Alzein, it wontbe the last. 23. 23ProductsABB robotics 1|13With ABBs single point of programmingon the Flexpendant, performance issimplified as operators now only need oneuser interface (UI) to set up both the robotand power source. Operators can reducecommissioning time, back-up and restoreprograms, teach, and browse functionalitywithout having to use another device.ABBs Flexpendant also provides astandardized graphical UI with customizablefeatures for operators, and is compatiblewith a variety of different power sources,such as Fronius, the world leader inrobotic welding equipment. By integratingthe power source interface on theFlexPendant, the operator has full controlover voltage, current, speed and gas flow,amongst others. This helps to improve andspeed up the programming.ABB offers the Fronius Integrated UI with thewidely used EthernetIP communication.All ABB welding robots and FlexArc cellscan be equipped with the Fronius Integratedoption.By merging ABBs robotics expertise withFronius welding and power equipment,the two industry leaders bringing tomarket new, modular products for themetal fabrication industry.The IRB 2600ID equipped with the ToolSystem TS 2600 ID from RSP is ideal forCNC machine tending applications. Thisis the worlds first standard internal dresspack solution on the market for mid-sizedrobots in machine tending applications. Itenables access to confined spaces andprotects the cablings from hazardousfluids. Up to 10 six mm air ducts and12 electrical signals can be provided tothe manifold on which the gripper canbe mounted. Components are availablein ABBs 3D software RobotStudio,facilitating easy simulations includingreachability studies, layout optimizations,cycle time estimations and powerconsumption calculations along withoffline programming.ABB offers a variety of products for arcwelding applications such as the FlexArc,a complete robotic system availablein several versatile standard modularpackages. FlexArc cells deliver maximumperformance while optimizing availablespace, and are compatible with IRB1600ID, 1520ID and 2600ID, all of whichfeature integrated dressing. If a traditionalwrist is preferred other robots, such asthe IRB 140, have the required reach.The FlexArc features the FlexPendantgraphical user interface, which not onlyprovides operators with the status ofthe cell, but also important quality andproduction data.ABB offers a wealth of products, systems and software to helpmanufacturers maximize their productivity while minimizingcosts. Check out just a few of our latest offerings for themetal fabrication industry.Metal fabrication products from ABBPowerful Fronius interfaceFlexArcID Tool System 24. Sparking your productivity withoutcompromising performance.ABB provides products, systems and services that take the risk out of increasing industrial productivity and energyefficiency in a wide range of metal fabrication and welding applications. Our robots provide a high level ofaccurate, efficient and reliable automation in these labour-intensive application areas. ABBs robotic automationcan really be the key to improving process flexibility, product quality and workplace safety, while reducing energyconsumption and waste.For more information, visit