The ever-expanding range of industrial robot applications means that today robots are being tasked with increasingly varied and more complex operations. In addition, many manufacturers are seeking to capitalise on the flexibility offered by robots, especially the 6 axis variety, and this in turn has led in many cases to a demand for larger working envelopes. With such a broad range of different robot makes and models available, there are options for horizontal reach exceeding 3,500mm. However, robots with this reach tend to be physically large and capable of high payloads, characteristics which may not be required for the majority applications.Güdel’s TrackMotion range of robot linear tracks, brings a new dimension to the requirement to extend robot reach. In this article Will Bourn, Sales Manager for Güdel UK, explains the benefits which can be realised by integrating a standard robot to one of the company’s TMF Linear Tracks.
There can be a variety of reasons why extending the reach of a particular robot is preferable to either purchasing a larger model, or indeed additional robots. The 6 axis robots available from all of the major manufacturers do offer a good working range when compared to the physical size of the arm, however in instances where for example, process or machining cycles allow, a single robot can be capable of servicing more than one machine or workstation. It is in applications such as these that robot linear tracks bring significant benefits by adding both working range and flexibility.
Güdel is dedicated to rack and pinion-driven auxiliary linear slides for robots and overhead gantry robots, with a comprehensive range of TrackMotion modules suitable for robots ranging from smaller variants, typically 1,500mm reach and 6kg payload, right up to the latest heavy duty versions now being brought to market by some of the leading Robot manufacturers.
Güdel offers a range of 6 variants of TMF (TrackMotion Floor) linear track: TMF-1 to TMF-6. In all cases these modules offer the same robust and reliable method of extending the work envelope of robot systems for which the company has become renowned.
Indeed, many of the world’s leading robot integrators turn to Güdel when they need to enhance the working range of their systems, and the flexibility of the Güdel TrackMotion range is therefore at the heart of some truly innovative concepts. As an example, the company’s TMF-6 is currently the only standard module of its type available on the market that can move an articulated robot weighing over six tonnes, with a payload of 1300Kg, and sustain a static payload of over ten tonnes. Working as a fully integrated seventh axis for robots, the TMF-6 opens up new possibilities in a number of production processes. A range of adaptor plates, designed to suit the increasing number of heavy-duty robots now available, maximises the potential for integration with different manufacturers and their respective robot models.
The modular design of the TMF range makes it possible to have tracks ranging from 3 metres up to 100 metres in length, in 1 metre increments, allowing users and integrators to specify the optimum track length for any given application. Another feature of the TMF track range is that the length can be extended, should this be required to increase flexibility or to future-proof existing installations. With the capability to accommodate independently driven carriages, depending upon variant, multiple robots are able to share the same track if required, delivering the highest levels of utilisation and flexibility.
Güdel’s reputation for quality and engineering excellence is clearly evident in the design, the materials used and build standard of the TMF range, ensuring high uptimes and a long service life. From a maintenance perspective, the ability to adjust the guide-way rollers from the outside of the units and the availability of an automatic lubrication system for the rack & pinion, will keep planned maintenance times to a minimum.
Güdel not only provides sophisticated automation solutions but is a manufacturer of high-precision machine components including linear guide-ways, racks, pinions and drives. These high quality components are at the heart of all Güdel linear axes and gantry robots.