One electronics production company uses a new technology to handle circuit boards: a six-axis robot using triflex® R cable carriers from igus®, which supply the robot's gripper.
The manufacturer is a specialist in designing and manufacturing plants for producing photovoltaics and circuit boards. This includes etching, laminating, removing resin, metallizing, laser cutting, measuring and testing, or conveying circuit boards, photovoltaic elements or displays.
Increasing processing speeds and, more importantly, customer demand for greater flexibility were the main reasons behind developing a completely new generation of handling systems using six-axis robots. Now cycle times of less than seven seconds are involved when loading and unloading circuit boards from boxes.
Loading and unloading systems separate circuit boards and then conduct them via a conveyor belt to a processing station.
The plants possess two parallel collection areas, so the robot can extract the circuit boards from the box and place them on a conveyor plate without pausing. When a box is completely unloaded, it begins to unload the circuit boards from the second, while the empty box can be exchanged for a full one on the first supply line.
The facility is completely enclosed, which is important to preserve a clean environment. For space-saving reasons, the robot is essentially wedged into the machine housing, though it can move freely between the three handling areas. An interesting aspect of the plant is the gripper, which automatically identifies the size of the individual circuit board. The mounting plate with the vacuum grippers is made of low-weight carbon fibers, so that a compact 35-lb robot can be used and loads up to 15 lbs moved.
The robot’s cable management system didn't have enough space for enough cables to also supply the gripper mechanism. In the search for a suitable cable management system, the designers came across triflex® R.
The triflex® R cable carrier is also made from an extremely wear-resistant material, which means it’s ideally suited to the clean room environment.