“There were some interesting items on display,” said MJ Engineering President Richard Wand about the 2019 FANUC America Technology Open House, held this September in Mason, Ohio. Some of the assorted attractions included robots that can lift cars, robot jackets that can withstand extremely high temperatures, and unique feeder systems for the parts picked by robots on automated production lines.
In addition to MJ Engineering, visitors representing many industries and companies attended the show, which featured FANUC robots of varying sizes. Some of what was demonstrated is still confidential, with a lot of new technology revolving around software enhancements being rolled out later this year.
When MJ Engineering designs unique solutions for their customers, they often incorporate FANUC robots into their cells, like the ones in the photo.
Being a robotic systems integrator for decades, MJ Engineering has worked with many types of robots and accessories. However, a few items caught their attention, including a thermal jacket that can be put over a robot to protect it in temperatures up to 2100°F.
Other demonstrations showed ways to present material in robotic cells that differ from the typical centrifugal bowl feeders. “They showed some different feeding equipment and feeder systems that will make us think a little differently about how we could design and lay out a cell,” said Wand. One of the feeder systems uses a Graco G Flex parts feeder, which is a vibrating flat plate that moves the parts in a circle as the robot picks them from the plate. Another system uses a circular dial table that spins and unstacks the parts, jostling them around for the robot to grab. Both methods use a robotic vision system.
Besides all the cool things to see and learn, the open house is a great opportunity to network and develop relationships with other integrators. FANUC holds open houses around the U.S. and Canada to let visitors learn about their new technologies, products, and features, and to inspire them to think about how they could use the robots in their own facilities.