January 28, 2013      

By eliminating the additional expense and complexity of using independent robotic control systems, Codian Robotics North America expects 50 percent growth again in 2013 following a similar gain in 2012 for its pick and place robots, said Gregory L. Brasic, general manager.

Codian’s growth is fueled by the ability to control its robots with programmable logic controllers, eliminating the need for redundant robot controllers, and therefore cutting the cost of what would be a $60,000 robot by as much $35,000 to $45,000 according to Brasic. “This lets companies use the control systems that they want,” he said.

Companies can order the Codian robots to meet a firm?s specific needs, including mechanical parts with gearboxes and complete systems with gearboxes and servo motors. Codian Robotics works with suppliers of servo motors worldwide rather than a specific brand.

This type of flexibility has resulted in Codian’s growth to more than 900 robots running worldwide using controllers from such manufacturers as Rockwell Automation, Elau (Schneider Electric Automation), Siemens and B&R: Automation, according to Brasic.

The company has been building the robots for more than 10 years as a part of PWR Pack, and then was spun off as an independent company in June of 2011. Brasic cites the company?s history in the Netherlands as one of the primary reasons that 85 percent of its sales are in Europe and Asia, and 15 percent are in North America.

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Brasic sees Codian’s robots as ideal for the packaging, food and pharmaceutical industries, which is where he expects 80 percent of the robotics industry growth to come from in the next few years. Automotive and other heavy industry plants are already saturated with robotics, he explained.

However, he added that Codian?s robots have received some interest from oil drilling and other industries. Still, it’s the packaging, food and pharmaceutical industries where he expects to see most of the company’s robots deployed.

The typical factory floor worker in these industries earns $35,000 a year (wages and benefits). So a robot can replace that cost, work around the clock, and pay for itself in a couple of years, according to Brasic. “Even if it takes five years to earn a payback, that’s worth something,” he said.

Brasic added that in the food industry the robotics offers the additional benefit of being more sanitary than human workers if properly maintained.

“The human workers also benefit from moving from repetitive work to other areas where they can learn new processes,” according to Brasic.

“People are best used in repetitive manual work when they prototype a new process, assist in automation, and then start working on the development of the next new system or product to be automated,” he said. “This reduces both monotony and repetitive motion injuries.”

Codian’s newest product, launched last October, is the D4-1600, which offers high-speed, four-axis pick and place capability. The robot can work with units of up to 8 kilograms. It has an open mechanical interface for motors and gears, an ISO mount gripper interface, and a rated work range of 1600×350 mm.

Combined with a vision system, the D4 robot family can be used for random or mixed product flow picking. An optional rotational axis is also available.

Codian’s other robots include a D2 family such as the D2-800, a Delta 2 (2 + 1 axis) robot with a 1 kilogram payload and a 800 mm working envelope that is designed for high speed, two-axis, pick and place operations; the D2-1000, a Delta 2 (2 + 1 axis) robot with a 30 kilogram payload and a 1000 mm working envelope that is designed for high speed, two-axis, pick and place operations; D2-1500, a two axis pick and place robot with payloads of up to 40 kg.

Also a D4 family such as the D4-500 robot, which has a working envelope of 500 mm and can handle payloads of up to 2 kg. The D4-800 robot, a Delta 4 (3 + 1 axis) robot for payloads of up to 3 kilogram and with a working envelope of 800 mm.

The D4-1100, a Delta 4 (3 + 1 axis) robot that can handle payloads of up to 3 kilogram and with a working envelope of 1100 mm; and the D4-1300 a Delta 4 (3 + 1 axis) robot designed to work with payloads of up to 3 kilogram and a working envelope of 1300 mm.

The new D4-1600 offers an 8 kg payload and 1600 mm working envelope.