Modular kits for automation and robotics

Paul Boughton
Parker Hannifin is introducing a range of modular automation and robotics kits for applications including simple twin-axis assemblies through to integrated multiple-axis gantry and palletising robots. In addition, the company can provide custom design and engineering services for applications where standard systems cannot be used.
UK platform marketing manager, Andy Parker-Bates, states: "This new approach has the potential to revolutionise the way in which many automation systems are developed and used. Perhaps as importantly, our new range of modular automation kits will enable customers to cost-justify the automation of existing low-volume manual or semi-automated processes, enabling labour to be redeployed elsewhere.
"Unlike traditional methods of building modular systems our new modular automation kits are generally available on a relatively short lead-time and are designed for self-assembly on-site either by the customer or, if required, our engineering team."
The modular automation kits incorporate all of the required components, including the framework, motors, gearboxes, drives, sensors and cables. Kits can easily be extended through the addition of extra modules, while increasingly complex multiple-axis gantry, assembly or packaging systems with sophisticated control infrastructures can be constructed quickly and cost-effectively, either on-site or at one of Parker's factories, for delivery as a preconfigured and fully tested system.
Parker-Bates continues: "For customers, the advantage of using our modular automation kits include the ability to build complete systems or sub-systems quickly and at relatively low cost, without the need for specialised engineering or the associated downtime while production lines are being modified. Additionally, for customised systems, we are able to provide a full design facility as part of the overall package, giving customers access to our resources and expertise at sites around the world".
The modular automation kits are based on standard Parker electromechanical, pneumatic, drive and control technologies, and are claimed to be capable of delivering exceptionally high levels of performance, accuracy and reliability. For example, speeds of up to 5m/s are possible over extended stroke lengths, with precision and repeatability typically to within +/-0.05mm, and with load handling up to 1600kg.
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