There’s no better way to expand the work envelope of a 6-axis robot than implementing a Robot Transport Unit (RTU) that provides a seventh axis to optimize production. When selecting the best RTU for your automation cell, you will need to consider a long list of factors that include the robot you intend to use, the load your system must move, the available space, machine lifetime, system construction, procurement and installation, to name a few. To get the most benefits from your system, it is critical to work with a supplier that offers a broad range of RTU systems to satisfy these and other criteria.
Here are some factors to remember when choosing an RTU, as well as things to look for in a supplier. These tips will help you add an optimal system to your factory and get it up and running fast.
As you evaluate RTU systems, you will already know your main specifications. These include but are not limited to:
- The size of the robot you will be carrying.
- The payload it will carry.
- Stroke length and speed.
- How to mount and orient your robot in the work cell.
- The ability of the floor, wall or ceiling structure to support the RTU & payload.
- Environmental conditions such as cleanrooms and explosive environments.
With these specifications in mind, here are some other key considerations when evaluating a linear transfer system.
Your RTU will be tasked with moving sometimes challenging loads and meeting aggressive production and throughput demands; it must also perform reliably at high speeds over many cycles of continuous operation.
Reliability & Long Lifetime
Regardless of its function, the unit will be deployed in a tough factory environment and should be constructed with durability in mind. Just as important, your system should also last as long as the robot it is built to transport.
Easy Integration & Maintenance
Because machine availability is critical to ever-increasing production demands, today’s RTU systems must be built and installed quickly. In addition, they must operate with minimal interruption for routine maintenance. Together these factors can have a significant impact on your operation’s efficiency and bottom line.
Not all suppliers are equal. Be sure to look for the following attributes during the selection process.
Complete Range of RTU Systems
Because automated systems and facilities typically have unique requirements, look for an RTU specialist that can accommodate any size industrial robot and configuration as well as have the know-how and capabilities to create a custom unit. Not only is integration easier, the RTU specialist will also be best equipped to solve distinct or challenging designs.
In-house Manufacturing & Control
When efficiency is your goal, partnering with a manufacturer that bases its operation on the same principle makes sense. Manufacturers with a vertically integrated philosophy build the system in-house and control the entire process. You’ll also get a fast response when challenges arise. Be sure to look for a manufacturer that operates in your region, so you can take advantage of the favorable logistics.
Commercial Off-the-Shelf Components
RTU systems with proprietary components require more time to build and are difficult to maintain. And should a proprietary part become discontinued, the machine cannot be serviced without significant downtime. Commercially off-the-shelf (COTS) components comply with any company’s internal specifications for unique components, and RTUs made from COTS components give customers flexibility to repair and replace parts faster.
A Collaborative Partnership
When an RTU manufacturer collaborates with you throughout the project, challenges get addressed faster, and you’ll be better able to plan and maintain your production schedule.
Partner With a Supplier That Solves Problems
When it’s time to implement a robot transport unit system, there are many options to evaluate from many suppliers. To attain the highest performance, you’ll need a durable, long-lifetime RTU from a supplier that contributes exceptional quality and value to the project.
At Rollon, not only do we build RTU systems that accommodate any size robot and payload, we create intelligent solutions that solve problems and perform in any challenging work area.