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Dugard has a hand in automation

Paul from MTD spoke to Siavash Baghaei, our technical manager, to find out a little more about the innovative new Hanwha HCR collaborative automation solution and how easy it is to fit into your machine shop.  

When asked about the marketplace for automation solutions, Sia said: “The Cobot market is very extensive and mainly applied to materials handling, injection moulding and packaging with machine tool applications currently sitting at below 2% of the market for Hanwha robot solutions. At Dugard, we will be following this model and aiming at the wider industrial audience. However, as a starting point and as a machine tool business, we are very confident and comfortable using the machine tool industry as a starting point.”

With regard to interfacing the automation systems with machine tools, Sia continues: “Personally, I feel the Hanwha robots will be a great fit with the Samsung range of machines and then on the Dugard VMC lines like the 1000Y+,  the 1000XP or the general XP Series.”

When quizzed on the benefit of the Hanwha HCR collaborative robots, Sia says: “The main thing is that the robots are so easy to program, you don’t need another skilled individual to use or program the system. The Cobot is far easier to program than a machine tool. What I emphasise at exhibitions and events is that anyone that can find their way around their mobile phone, can certainly program a robot.”

“Another advantage of this Hanwha HCR robot is the ability to push the arm back once it has reached its stop position. This is unlike other systems that lock in a specified destination. So, if your hand ever gets trapped between the robot and the machine or a wall, it can be moved and is recognised as a positive safety feature.”

Taking these safety features a step further, the HCR Series incorporates collision detection, joint rotation and speed limits, a virtual safety fence and a reliable control system.

“An additional benefit on the Hanwha is the ‘path teaching’ function which is an optional extra on alternate systems. This robot unlike the standard Linux based systems is Windows based, which is great for the educational sector and general ease of use. This allows you to ‘break-into’ the software and reprogram or add features for universities and educational establishments.”

Referring back to the ease of use: “The robot has 6 joints but you only program on your tool direction, so it will be a virtual X, Y and Z axis. This means you don’t have to know the position of joint one or two and so on. You just program what you see and that is why this system is so easy to use. There are two ways to program the Hanwha HCR, one is the teach mode to move it around and the other is to type in the datum points and it will move to the said positions. Exactly like a PC, you can store thousands of programs and even increase the hard-drive or connect via Ethernet or a USB port, so data storage is not a problem. From my experience, I would say that a beginner could be a competent robot programmer in less than one hour.”

The Rodi operation software is central to this ‘ease of use’, applying an intuitive and efficient interface with icon based GUI, a timeline programming basis that permits the easy monitoring of workflow whilst the API makes it easier to develop customer specific applications.

And integrating with the machine tool...

“There are 16 inputs and 16 digital outputs and these can be integrated to the PLC on the machine and obviously you will need some PLC knowledge, which we have at Dugard. Through these inputs and outputs the system can integrate with the machine in a completely safe environment. So, spindle safety, door opening and collisions can be controlled through the 16 inputs and outputs. On a normal machine tool application, this may be too many ports as the operator only needs to ensure the doors open before the robot enters and doesn’t close before robot exit. The next thing is to ensure all axes are interlocked when the robot is inside. This only takes 3-4 inputs and outputs.

On the move…

There are three models, the HCR-3, HCR-5 and the HCR-12 that cater for 3, 5 and 12kg loads with a respective reach of 630, 915mm and 1.3m. This emphasises the size and capacity of the system that can be easily moved around the workshop via a trolley that is also available as an optional extra. Each system includes one arm, one pendant and one case. However, one case can actually run two robots, so the second robot system will always prove more cost effective.

If you want any more info on the Hanwha range of collaborative robots, give us a call on 01273 732286 or email [email protected]

We are also official UK dealers for a number of high profile international tool manufacturers.

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