What type of application should we be looking at first, when considering robotics?
Simple and repetitive application. The addition of Robots in your facility or process can be a culture shock to operators, maintenance staff and others. Although fast ROI applications may seem more appealing, basing your first robotic application mainly on ROI could potentially set you up for frustration and be more costly in the end. Especially for your first application, simple should outweigh fast returns.
We have "XYZ" application we would like to investigate implementing robotics for the first time. After hearing and seeing our process, what do you think?
Often times this is a complicated, labor intensive application that requires skilled labor. As skilled labor and general labor become harder to find, these applications seem logical to start with. However, often the price tag for complicated applications tend to lead to unacceptable or long ROI's. Doig would recommend one of our Technical Staff to walk through your facility and recommend possible robotic applications in which you could consider implementing robotics..
Are the robots you represent "easy" to program?
This can vary depending on the Robot manufacturer, application and the knowledge level of the people in your company. Doig offers a one day Intro to Robotic workshop or can also bring a robot to your facility for a 'Lunch with a Robot' session to get familiar with robotics and let you decide if the robots are "easy" to program. The new Productive Robotics OB7 is Teach & Learn capable. No program required!
Can Doig help us with our robotic application?
We love robots and while we are eager to help with every application, the reality is we are not an Integrator and this answer is dependent on the support requirements. Doig will support robotic applications in a "look over your shoulder" manner and will recommend qualified Integrators when the applications become more than our customers or we should take on ourselves. Ask for a recommendation on the right integrator for your products. We can help!
Light Curtain or Safety Laser Scanner? How Do I Choose?
There are a bunch of considerations in making this area protection and perimeter guarding decision. SICK has produced a great white paper I refer to often when helping customers decide.
What does ISO stand for?
ISO stands for International Standards Organization; an International body which formulates various standards which equipment should conform to allowing for interchange of products between manufacturers.
What does SCARA Stand for?
Selective Compliance Assembly Robot Arm
What does NFPA stand for?
National Fluid Power Association
What Robots Lines do you carry?
Epson, Productive Robotics and ABB Robots. The combined capabilities of these three suppliers allow us to offer SCARA, Collaborative, Cartesian, Delta and Six-Axis style robots.
What are your most common robot applications?
Pick & Place and Machine Tending projects. We are doing more and more applications that include conveyor tracking and/or integrated vision or part sensing work. We encourage a review of the safety requirements for both the area of operation and machine motion control to assure that regulation compliant, safe operation is fully addressed on each project.
How do you program Epson Robots?
You can do your programming work through software on your PC or on a teach pendant. The language is a "Basic" type textual language called SPEL+, which is a free download from Epson as part of your purchase.
What is the payload and reach of Epson Robots?
Max Payload of Epson SCARA robots is 20kg (44lbs) and reach is 1 meter (3.3ft). Payloads on Six Axis style robots run up to 8kg (17.6lbs) and reach is up to 1.5 meters (4.9ft). Note that these are maximums - delivered results are also dependent on the application. Don't forget that speed and overall payload (meaning the weight of the part along with the tooling to support your application) may restrict the maximum payload.
Can Epson Robots support more than one robotics arm with a single controller?
Yes. Epson can support up to 4 robot arms with one controller. The arms can be set to operate individually or the motion can be coordinated.
Can Epson Robots easily integrate vision systems for vision guidance applications?
Yes, Epson has their own integrated vision system that works within the same programming environment as the robot programming (Epson RC+ Software).
Is a pneumatic, hydraulic or electric actuator the best solution for my linear motion application?
We get this question so frequently because the answer is "it depends"... Because it depends, we start to answer your question by asking a bunch of questions about your application. Why? Because the application capability ranges between these three types of linear actuator technology/solutions overlap in some areas, but stand alone as the "best fit" in other areas.
In broad terms:
Pneumatic actuators do a great job for repetitive and often very high speed linear moves for the lowest product cost points - but lifecycle costs can be higher than the alternatives.
Hydraulic actuators compliment pneumatic actuators in performance capabilities, but by far outstrip the pneumatic alternative when it comes to force output at reasonable cost points - but lifecycle operating costs are higher and air over oil solutions can get very messy under normal operating conditions.
While Electric actuators are more complex in overall design, their linear moves are extremely precise and repeatable. Their motion "program-ability" allows you to address multiple moves and a wide variety of speeds within their overall range of motion – but the initial product cost at the point of motion is almost always the highest.
Tolomatic has been providing linear actuator solutions to us for over 50 years. They've been studying the linear motion market and have produced many white papers on linear actuators. You're invited to download two of their most recent papers on this topic by clicking on the links below. Get more in depth perspectives on your options as they explore a broader ranges of pros and cons for you.
How do NEC (National Electrical Code) tap rules apply to circuit breakers?
NEC article 240.21(B) addresses overcurrent protection of feeder taps. These rules are often referred to as the NEC "tap rules". There are five tap rules related to feeder circuit taps:
- Taps Not Over 3 m (10 ft.) Long
- Taps Not Over 7.5 m (25 ft.) Long
- Taps Supplying a Transformer (Primary plus Secondary Not over 7.5 m (25 ft.) Long)
- Taps over 7.5 m (25 ft.) Long
- Outside Taps of Unlimited Length
NEC has very specific requirements for each of the tap rules that apply to every industrial control panel. This makes it critical that OEM's, panel builders and integrators understand the requirements laid out in the NEC tap rules.The correct application of these rules ensures proper protection of the equipment controlled by the panel, as well as the safety of those working on or near the attached equipment.
When working with customers on this issue, we refer to or provide a white paper written by Ted Wodoslawsky of ABB's Low Voltage Group. The white paper provides several application examples for the use of circuit breaker terminals to tap branch or feeder circuits from molded case circuit breakers (MCCBs) and insulated case circuit breakers (ICCBs). While many other configurations are possible, often times we will settle on one of these examples and assist you in selecting the proper MCCB or ICCB's for your application.
Click here to download a copy of this whitepaper and give us a shout to help you select the right products for your application that will get you up and rolling.
How Do I Know Which Timing Delay Function I Need For My Application?
Understanding the differences between all the functions available in time delays can be a daunting task. You can effect a time delay in your system manually, via a control switch (a dry contact like a limit switch, push button, etc) or electrically as voltage travels through a time delay relay (a control relay with a time delay function built in). There are many options for time delay functions, but these four choices cover 99% of them:
- On Delay
- Off Delay
- Interval Delay, and
- Single Shot
Once we've learned about your application, we often wind up recommending a simple low cost switch, or when voltage control turns out to be the way to go, we help you connect the proper relay to the functional set up that best matches your requirements. The only switch or time delay relay that matters is the one that you need - and we've probably got it.
Click here for a for quick reference chart that outlines how these four timing functions operate.
Do cylinders and valves require lubrication?
Most cylinders and valves are designed for use in non-lube operation. Airline lubrication however will increase the service life. If lubrication is used, it must be maintained for the service life of the product.
What is the "Blanking" function of a light curtain used for?
Blanking is a programmable feature that allows a light curtain to ignore objects located within a defined area.
When working with you to spec light curtains, we appreciate the opportunity to sit down with you and fully review your application challenge. "Blanking" is a really cool function which may or may not be exactly what you are looking for. Once we confirm that blanking is a requirement for you, we can select from a wide range of light curtain sizes and models from four suppliers to assure we optimize not only functionality that you need, but your price as well.
Do I need tools to assemble the GSM hard guard system?
No, GSM is referred to as a "Tool less" system.
The panels and posts are assembled without the use of tools and all doors come preassembled ready to install to the floor. The panels are disassembled using a proprietary release key. Here's a link to a video that we recently ran in DoigTalk illustrating how these panels go together. Your assembly labor can easily be cut in half when using GSM safety fencing systems versus conventional solutions.
Do I need to purchase software for the SICK Flexi Soft Safety Controller?
No, you can download the Flexi Soft Designer software free of charge from SICK's website.
SICK has a full suite of safety products, with the Flexi-Soft Controller positioned to be the kingpin to assure your safety circuitry works flawlessly.
Sink or Source? What's the relationship between I/O devices?
One of the most often misunderstood notions in control engineering is the concept of the Sinking and Sourcing relationship between I/O devices. This document from Numatics is meant to give a solid understanding of these concepts, and clear up the definition issues of Sinking (NPN), and Sourcing (PNP), from both a technical and terminology perspective.