If any injection molders are on the face regarding an upgrade to their robotics systems, Engel is hoping to supply a gentle nudge with a new incentive program. From now through Dec. 31, 2013, companies can trade-in any brand of linear robot that is a minimum of three years old, and receive a program rebate on a new viper robot from the Austrian supplier of injection molding and automation technology.
Engel expanded its viper line of servo robots at last fall's Fakuma event in Germany so that they are now available in six sizes, from a nominal load-bearing capacity of 13 lb up to 198 lb.
Engel touts the viper as having light-weight construction through a design that utilizes laser-welded steel sections to keep the robot's so-called dead weight low, which allows the load-bearing capacity to be increased.
The robot's "smart" software package reduces structure-borne vibration of the robot, including on longer axis dimensions, while optimizing the movement and dynamic values. Three specific software features are designed to minimize cycle times and maximize productivity while keeping energy consumption low.
In addition to the aforementioned vibration control, these include:
- Mass identification, which detects the weight in the gripper. If the weight exceeds a preset value, the robot will slow its movements, which extends the service life. If the weight is below the nominal value, the robot accelerates its movements, improving process productivity.
- Efficiency control eliminates unnecessary waiting times as the robot automatically adapts its sequences outside of the injection molding machine to match the cycle time of the production plant. This function also extends service life and increases energy efficiency.
In November 2011, Engel announced an expansion of its automation plant in Hagen, Germany, noting an increase in the number of customers buying complete cells, pairing injection molding machine with automation at time of purchase, and integrating the robot fully into the press.