The robotics road show

2012-12-06 - ABB’s robotics seminar, first held in Chennai, travelled North to Gurgaon and then West to Pune creating widespread interest among major customers, system integrators and even among cement customers and general industry in the world’s best motion control technology

The response to ABB Robotics’ tour of Region North in late November was staggering, as some 200 customers and systems integrators from various industry segments packed the venue. Aside from major customers from the automobile industry, like Maruti Suzuki and Tata, and system integrators from Dew Robotics and Encon System, there were Tier-1 customers and customers from general industry too – International Tractors, Shree Cement and many others.

The seminar highlights were provided by global colleagues with expertise in spot welding, paint automation, press automation and customer services. Torbjorn Albertsson from ABB Sweden presented the FlexLean package – highly flexible solutions based on modular, standardized components that can be freely configured. FlexLean makes the automotive body assembly more adaptable, easier to install and more economic on space, allowing car
manufacturers to offer many models, while lowering production costs.

It features the IRB 6640 spot welding robot series, ABB Robotics’ latest generation of high payload, high-performance industrial robots, based on the famous IRB 6600 series, with the flexible bending backwards concept, the very high wrist torque, the service-friendly, modular, compact design and low maintenance cost. FlexTrack IRB501-66 a linear track motion system far outstrips a conventional conveyor system, moving each car body individually with very high accuracy and repeatability,
drastically reducing transfer time to less than 5 seconds for 6 meters. Torbjorn also spoke about the Weld Timer and the FlexGun that is integrated into the ABB robot as a seventh axis, offering improved welding quality and cycle time performance.

Ramon Casanelles from ABB Spain and the acknowledged brain behind the development of Press Automation in ABB presented offerings ranging from the Tandem Press Line for highly flexible production, Stand Alone presses and Transfer Presses when speed is of the essence, to Hot Stamping for strength and workability. In addition, he spoke about multitransfer technology, Double Drive Chain (DDC) and end of toolings.

The technology is solidly backed by product reliability and a strong customer support network of robotics across the country that aims to be the differentiator, the reason why customers continue to buy from ABB. Fredrik Betts from ABB Robotics Global Service shared his insights on customer services and remote service.

Part of what makes customer service unique in ABB Robotics is the Remote Service feature enabling not just remote prediction and identification of problems, but also automatic help. The Remote Service concept is aimed at extending the mean time between failure of robots and robotic components; shortening the subsequent mean time to repair and lowering the overall cost of ownership of the robot unit. All the customer needs to do is log a robot’s key performance data
and send this remotely to an ABB service center via GPRS technology. The information can then be stored and used for reference.

This raised some questions on customer service from interested members of the audience. We also received a request from a cement industry customer for a plant visit to explore possibilities for robotics applications. Previously, we carried out some sampling applications in the same customer’s cement industry laboratory.


In Pune, the Robotics seminar attracted a very good mix of 250 customers – from automotive companies like Tata Motors, Mahindra, Bajaj Auto, Fiat India, Force Motors and John Deere to major Tier-1 suppliers of these companies. System integrators like Cybernetik Technologies, Electronica Machine Tools and Orbital Engineering, who are specialized in various robotics applications and do business with ABB robotics were also in attendance. In addition, the seminar
hosted premier educational institutions like ITI Aundh, ATeN Systems and Technologies Private Limited, as Robotics is becoming very popular and a part of curricula in engineering colleges and universities. Customers and integrators from Nashik, Aurangabad, Mumbai and Kolhapur travelled to Pune to attend this seminar.

The highpoint of the Pune seminar was Fredrik Betts’ presentation on Remote Service. The entire team of 10 customer service robotics engineers in Pune were introduced and their personal assurance on the 24X7 service had a positive impact on the customers in attendance.

ABB's Flex Washer, the clean and green wash, proved to be a great draw. Not only does the Flex Washer clean and deburr after a machining operation, it does so at an amazing 87-93 percent less per annum than other systems, including ultrasonic, injection-flood and fixed-nozzle washers. Customers were also keen to know more about arc and spot welding products that offer stable welding, high path accuracy and short cycle times.

Later, the revolutionary Robot Studio software was presented by the team. With little or no robot programming experience, users can configure, simulate and program ABB robots and what used to take days is now just a matter of minutes with the Robot Studio.

The road show allowed us to share the best in motion control technology across the length and breadth of the country.