Robosuits – dressing up in style

Industrial Robot

ISSN: 0143-991x

Article publication date: 1 August 2004




(2004), "Robosuits – dressing up in style", Industrial Robot, Vol. 31 No. 4.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Robosuits – dressing up in style

Robosuits – dressing up in style

Keywords: Hazardous environments

Now that the robotic market has matured and the major robot manufacturers and obvious applications have been identified, the push for new applications often demands peripheral products to meet the requirements of the job. Many of these new applications require that the robot be protected from harsh environments that are dirty, wet, caustic or extreme in temperature. Protecting the robot is critical to insure the customer's investment pays off without incurring costly maintenance that shuts down production.

Roboworld, LLC has addressed many of these problems by supplying protective covers referred to as “Robosuits” (Plate 6). These “Robosuits” are manufactured from custom patterns carefully developed to ensure proper fit without compromising the robot's work envelope. The suits are not simple covers, or shrouds, that snap or Velcro together. They are much more. Typically these two or three-piece form fitting suits protect the robot from the rotating base out to the tool flange with an overlap for the rotating arm (on the anthropomorphic arms). The designs incorporate bellows at the wrist and waist to allow the suit to move unencumbered with the robot over the entire work envelope. To produce the most protective flexible suit for a specific application, Roboworld selects only materials that are compatible with the process environment.

Plate 6 A robot wears a “Robosuit”

The original “Robosuit” was designed to protect robots in die cast machine tending applications. Using hypalon impregnated nylon material, because of its excellent liquid barrier and abrasion resistant properties; Robosuits proved to be extremely successful in the protection of the robot(s) against die lube and spatter. Since then, Roboworld has expanded its base of applications to include surface finishing, chemical cleaning, wash down, furnace tending, plasma spray, freezer palletizing and numerous others. By carefully selecting state-of-the-art materials for their suits, Roboworld has opened the door for the development of new robotic applications.

One example of a new application is the joint development of a low temperature-palletizing package with FANUC Robotics. FANUC Robotics now offers a robotic solution for palletizing in sub zero environments. Using an aluminized Kevlar “Robosuit” and forced air electric heating system to supply warm air into the suit, robots are now able to operate at an ambient temperature within specifications. To aide in programming the robot in sub zero temperatures, an electrically heated teach pendant enclosure keeps the teach pendant, as well as the operators hands, comfortably above the freezing point.

Additional information and application data can be found on Roboworld's Web site:

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