Epson Robots today announced a series of new robotics products aimed at manufacturers looking to solve problems with existing processes or those looking for a lower-cost option for other applications. The company plans to showcase its new offerings this week at booth #7566 at the Automate 2019 event in Chicago.
Epson made the following three announcements for the show:
- The new VT6L All-in-One 6-Axis robot, a new entry-level offering to its line of 6-axis robots.
- The debut of its IntelliFlex Feeding System, designed as an alternative to manufacturing feeding systems to eliminate costly and time-consuming retooling.
- The expansion of its LS series in the SCARA robot category, offering the LS3-B, LS6-B, LS10-B and LS20-B models.
The new products help address customers in two areas, said Rick Brookshire, product manager at Epson Robots. “We’re very focused on continuous improvement of existing products based on feedback, and the LSB series does that,” said Brookshire. “At the same time, we’re looking at problems that customers are having in the field with applications that either can’t do something, are too expensive to solve, or that they’re struggling with. That’s where the VT6L and IntelliFlex fall into.”
About the VT6L
The VT6L, offered at the cost of $13,900, is a compact 6-axis robot that includes the next generation of technology from Epson, the company said. It is aimed at simple parts transfer applications such as machine-tool and injection molding load/unload, pick-and-place, dispensing and simple assembly projects. Like the T-Series All-in-One that Epson launched last year, the VT6L is designed with a built-in controller to save on space, while its SlimLine structure includes a compact wrist pitch to enable access to hard-to-reach areas in confined spaces, the company said.
The VT6L includes integration tools such as vision guidance, and has a reach up to 900mm and payloads up to 6 kg. The hollow end-of-arm design gives users simplified cabling options and more versatile tooling choices, the company added. Power options include 110 V and 220 V, and there is no battery required for the encoder.
“As customers were using the T-Series, they would tell us, ‘Oh, I’ve got this other application, but it really needs a 6-axis robot – it’s a really simple application, I wish you had something,’ ” said Brookshire. “And every time I heard that I would bite my tongue, because I knew we were developing this.”
IntelliFlex offers smarter feeding system
The IntelliFlex Feeding System is powered by Epson’s IntelliFlex Software and Vision Guide, aimed at accommodating a wide variety of parts for advanced applications in the medical, consumer, automotive, and electronics markets, among others, the company said. The combination of a robot, vision system and feeder into a single development environment helps manufacturers looking for high-mix, low-volume parts singulation.
Manufacturers typically rely on bowl feeder systems when they need to take bulk parts from a system and have it orientate correctly for a machine to grab the part correctly. They are generally custom-built for a specific part and design, which is fine for high-volume, low-mix situations. But when a part’s design or weight changes, costly retooling is usually required.
With the IntelliFlex Feeding System, the vision guide helps the robot see a singular part and grab it correctly. In addition, the vision system can notice whether parts are bunched up in a corner and then vibrate in order to singulate the parts. On the software side, changes to parts are handled by reprogramming the feeder system, so new parts can be used with the system without needing to retool.
“We’re starting to move into a world of high changeover, low-volumes, where they want to make these products for the next two weeks, but then they want to change over to make these other products for the next two weeks,” said Brookshire. “What do you do if you’ve got to get all these custom bowl feeders, that’s where flexible feeders come in.”
In addition, the IntelliFlex system includes an auto-tuning system that automatically adjusts the feeder parameters for new parts setup. “At the end of the day, what customers really want is to have the parts be singulated and the robot to go over and pick them up,” said Brookshire. The auto-tuning and easier programming is designed to speed up the process for parts changeover.
The system can support parts ranging from 5 mm to 40 mm in size, as well as complex and delicate materials. The system also includes red, green, blue, white and infrared blacklight options, and includes ESD/anti-static and anti-rolling configuration options.
About the LSB SCARA robots
The LSB series of robots will be available during the summer and fall this year, with the LS10-B shipping in June. Features of the new robots include:
- Faster cycle times;
- Lower cable duct profile for hard-to-reach work cell layouts;
- A built-in camera cable for easy vision setup;
- A new top-of-arm layout for enhanced useability;
- A batteryless encoder to minimize downtime and reduce the overall cost of ownership.
“For the last several years, our LS-Series Robots have been the robot of choice for high performance, low-cost automation,” said Gregg Brunnick, director of product management at Epson Robots. “Our customers expect continuous improvement in performance and usability.”
The LS10-B and LS6-B are improved models from previous LS models, and are available in ISO 4 Clean versions for dust-free applications. Additional options include vision, fieldbus interface solutions, RC+ 7.0 API software, teach pendants and customizable GUIs.
In terms of arm design, the LS10-B can reach up to 600, 700 and 800 mm, supporting up to a 10 kg payload. The LS6-B can reach up to 500, 600 and 700 mm, supporting up to a 6 kg payload. The company said details for the LS3-B and LS20-B will come later.
Epson Robots, a division of the Seiko Epson Corp., has an installed base of more than 85,000 robots worldwide, with products line in the SCARA, Cartesian, and 6-axis robot categories, all based on a common PC-based platform. Robots are aimed at precision assembly and materials handling applications in the aerospace, appliance, automotive, biotechnology, consumer products, electronics, food processing, medical device, pharmaceutical, plastics, semiconductor, and telecommunications industries.