Parker Hannifin is launching an extensive range of modular automation and robotics kits, ranging from simple twin axis assemblies through to integrated multiple-axis gantry and palletising robots. In addition, Parker is offering custom design and engineering for applications where standard systems are unsuitable. All of this will help UK manufacturers to cut the cost of production while at the same time improving both productivity and profitability.
UK Platform Marketing Manager, Andy Parker-Bates, comments: "This new approach has the potential to revolutionise the way in which many automation systems are developed and used. Perhaps as importantly, our new range of modular automation kits will enable customers to cost-justify the automation of existing low-volume manual or semi-automated processes, enabling labour to be redeployed elsewhere.
"Unlike traditional methods of building modular systems our new modular automation kits are generally available on a relatively short lead-time and are designed for self-assembly on-site either by the customer or, if required, our engineering team."
A typical modular automation kit incorporates all the components, including the framework, motors, gearboxes, drives, sensors and cables to construct a simple linear handling system. This can easily be extended through the addition of extra modules, while increasingly complex multiple-axis gantry, assembly or packaging systems with sophisticated control infrastructures can be constructed quickly and cost-effectively, either on-site or at one of Parker's factories, for delivery as a preconfigured and fully tested system.
Parker-Bates adds: "For customers, the advantage of using our modular automation kits include the ability to build complete systems or sub-systems quickly and at relatively low cost, without the need for specialised engineering or the associated downtime while production lines are being modified. Additionally, for customised systems, we are able to provide a full design facility as part of the overall package, giving customers access to our resources and expertise at sites around the world".
Based on standard Parker electromechanical, pneumatic, drive and control technologies, the latest modular automation kits are said to be capable of delivering exceptionally high levels of performance, accuracy and reliability. For example, speeds of up to 5m/s are possible over extended stroke lengths, with precision and repeatability typically to within +/-0.05mm, with load handling up to 1600kg.