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Automation during pandemic: Need of the hour

India’s manufacturing sector has been gradually transitioning to Industry 4.0 but the supply chain disruption and worker shortages due to the COVID-19 pandemic have surely accelerated the pace to bring about this change. Industries are aiming to implement more and more automation with each passing day. This has led to the increase in demand for industrial automation and as a result, industries are pushing to introduce COBOTs or Collaborative Robots to assist humans.

There is a common misconception that introducing automation will eat up jobs and increase unemployment. On the contrary, a cobot is designed to work with people and not to replace people. Cobots are also called people-focused robots and actually help people to make and refine the work they do easier. Boring, monotonous, dirty, unsafe or repetitive tasks can be performed by robots so that employees can focus on other fruitful tasks. For example, the cobot is screwing a product, so that the employee completes the product one step further in the process

Several end-use industries like automobile, machine manufacturing, Oil& Gas, Electronics, mining, and metals have a high scope of industrial automation. Also, automation helps the workers to stay safe and efficient during the pandemic by reducing the touchpoints.

If you are planning to automate your processes, SMC has got you covered. SMC provides unique offerings for COBOTS developed in partnership with leading COBOT manufacturers like Fanuc, Mitsubishi, Omron, Universal Robots, Yaskawa. Read More

 

One of the main advantages of using SMC grippers for your COBOTs is that they are designed in partnership with leading COBOT manufacturers and provide hassle-free plug and play functionality with easy programming. To cover all workpiece materials and sizes manufactured in the industry, SMC has an extensive range of Air gripers, Vacuum grippers, and magnetic grippers.

Air Grippers

Also known as pneumatic grippers, are used mainly for pick and place operations. SMC air grippers have high rigidity and precision movement due to their guide integrated construction. They provide a high and adjustable gripping force. Air grippers come in various types; parallel finger, angular type, radial, etc. SMC also provides air grippers with finger change function to utilize a single COBOT for multiple workpieces to increase agility and save manual fitting and repositioning time.

Vacuum Grippers

Vacuum grippers are used for handling different types of parts in packaging or pick and place operations. These grippers can either be operated by a centralized compressed air system or modular vacuum pumps.  One of the most implemented areas for vacuum grippers is palletizing operations, these grippers can handle around 1700 boxes per day depending on the number and size of gripper pads.

Magnetic Grippers

Magnetic grippers come to a rescue where the vacuum and air gripers do not perform efficiently due to porous or uneven surfaces. It provides a holding force up to 120N and can be controlled by pneumatic valves. These grippers are typically used for ferromagnetic workpieces, planks, perforated plates, or sheet metal parts with drilled holes or breakouts. Magnetic grippers can also assist vacuum grippers in case of the highly dynamic movement of parts

There is a host of applications where these Gripper arrangements can be used in your industry such as:

  • Material handling – Metals, plastics, glass, food items, packaging materials
  • Material Removal – Injection moulding, trimming, grinding, drilling, deburring, milling, routing
  • Assembly and quality assurance – Welding, Painting, Folding

To know more about SMC grippers for COBOTS, click here

To know about the complete SMC products range, click here

Are you planning on buying a chiller for your machine? Let’s look at the major Challenges and their solutions!

Buying chillers for Laser cutting, Plastic injection molding, Wielding, and Marking apparently appears to be quite a simple process, but the reality is pretty contradictory. The correctness in the choice of purchase comes to light during the quality check of the product being manufactured. So, it’s always better to evaluate all the parameters beforehand to save time, money and, keep the quality of your product and brand image intact, rather better.

You are absolutely right when you think that all the chillers perform the same function of cooling, so should you buy only on the basis of price or should you stick to a brand only because you have been using one brand for some time? The answer is an absolute ‘NO’.

The increasing technological advancement, improved product design, and customizations result in better quality, energy saving, reduced maintenance, and reasonable costs.


Hence, we shall look into the following aspects before choosing our brand and initiating the approach

Select between Radiator type and Thermo-Chiller:

Radiator type may fail because:


Select between Water-Cooled and Air-Cooled Chiller

Water-Cooled Chiller: These chillers transfer the heat from the refrigerant to the atmosphere with the help of a humid air stream. These are preferred when there is an existing cooling tower on the premises. It can be used in the condensation process, thereby reducing the processing time and attaining the desired temperature which would remain constant throughout the cycle.
The key benefits are:

  • High Efficiency
  • Smaller size
  • Cheaper

Air Cooled Chiller: The only difference in the functioning of an Air-cooled chiller is that it uses a current of ambient air for carrying out heat exchange. These do not need the cooling tower as the heat transfer takes place using the atmospheric air, though the processing time varies with the weather conditions, the operating and maintenance cost reduces significantly.
The key benefits are:

  • Low maintenance costs
  • Easier to operate and control-tower freezing and tower bypass absent
  • Water cost is reduced
  • No problems related to water in case of disaster
  • Chemical costs avoided

Increased operating cost due to use of Tap water:

Tap Water- The tap water can be recirculated and reused for carrying out the heat transfer process instead of being wasted. The storage tank level can be monitored using a ‘Low Level’ Indicator.

Essential features to be considered while buying a chiller:

Temperature Stability:

In various operations like Laser cutting or Arc welding etc., the temperature of the tooltip is a factor that has a direct impact on the quality of the product.

If the temperature is not stable it may spoil the surface or deteriorate the quality of the product, Hence, the operating temperature needs to be kept stable irrespective of the operating or the ambient temperature.

Anti-freezing function:
This feature is mandatory in low-temperature regions as antifreeze prevents the water, to be used for heat transfer, from freezing.

Heating Function:
This feature will eliminate the need for an external heater even when the ambient temperature is very low. These chillers use the discharged heat from the refrigerant thus making them cost-effective.

Self-Diagnosis function:

Quality of the product, productivity, efficiency, and cost are prerogatives of the production process and the machines being used. It becomes very essential to diagnose the machine to attain the best of the above-mentioned parameters

This feature not only does the self-diagnosis of the machine but displays it with the help of an alarm, making it easier to identify the problem.

 

 

 

 

 

SMC is offering many solutions in the areas of Lab science and analytical equipment applications include mass spectrometry, gas chromatography, MRIs, CT scanners, radiation therapy machines, and other medical equipment.

 

Providing various options in mounting type, recirculating coolant, temperature stability up to ±0.1℃, and many options for every application are mentioned in the catalog.

Learn More:

Scope of Energy Saving in Pneumatics

Save Energy Save The EnvironmentEnergy conservation is something we are hearing more and more of with each passing day. With rising energy costs and depleting energy resources, it has become imperative that all of us start taking steps to conserve energy very seriously. In India, we are not able to produce enough energy to meet our demand. The most economical way to counter energy shortage is to conserve energy. It is estimated that India’s industrial sector has an energy conservation potential of around 35-45%. Energy conservation in simple words means to get a similar output while reducing the input energy required.

Well, If we talk about Pneumatics industry we can follow a couple of simple steps to promote energy saving in the plant

  • Identify the potential areas for improvement - Internal studies conducted by SMC show that typical industrial units follow the following compressed air usage pattern – 10% for actuators, 20% lost as leakage and 70% for air blow applications as shown in the graph below. Energy Savings can be done all 3 areas, however, Air Blow applications and leakage losses have major scope of improvement.

                                          Energy Saving Chart

  • Quantify the losses – Calculate the amount of money you are using for compressed air consumption and the amount you are losing directly to leakages.

Calculations will typically use these values:

  • 8,760 hours of operation (24 hours/day x 365 days/year)
  • 85% electrical motor efficiency (0.85)
  • 4 CFM per BHP (Brake Horsepower)
  • Rs.6 per Kw hour (average INR estimate)

Annual Cost for compressed air generation = (BHP x 0.746 x Hours of Operation x Cost per kWh)/Motor Efficiency

For a 2000HP compressor,

                                            Annual Cost = (200 x 0.746 x 8760 x 6)/0.85

                                                                = Rs. 92,25,826

Therefore, potential estimated savings by reducing air leakage by 50% = (9225826 x 20%) x 50%

                                                                                                                = Rs. 9,22,582.6

  • Take measure to control the air consumption of the plant

There are a few measures which you can take for efficient energy utilization in the plant.

  • Air pressure should be at the minimum required level
  • Pneumatic components should be sized as per the actual performance need
  • Prepare the compressed air in an appropriate way
  • Use energy efficient products wherever possible
  • When not in use, isolate the plant with the help of 2 port valves
  • Stop air blow when not needed
  • For better efficiency, use multi-stage ejectors with vacuum switches
  • Keep a check on air consumption in the plant
  • Minimize air leaks

SMC has come up with Energy Saving Solutions for various applications in Pneumatics. Some of the Energy Saving Solutions are-

  • Air Saving Valves - Air Saving Valves Series ASR/ASQ reduce the air consumption by operating return- stroke side of an air cylinder at a reduced pressure. Pressure regulation is done with the help of a Regulator with a backflow function. To know more about ASR/ASQ valves, Click Here
  • 3/4/5 Port Solenoid Valves - Energy-saving Model of SY series valves can reduce the power consumption by approximately 1/3 by reducing the wattage required to hold the valve in an energized state. Energy-saving valves Series SY with power saving circuit consumes only 0.1W of power as compared to the conventional model which consumes 0.55W. To know all about these valves, Click Here
  • Coolant Valves -  Low Power Consumption, High Flow Type Coolant Valves SGC Series reduce the coolant blow energy consumption by - 1. Reducing the pressure loss of the coolant which is done by making the effective area in the upstream side larger & attaching a nozzle; 2. Applying intermittent blow as the machine bed washing is topped when blowing for cutting or jig by means of a valve. The power consumption of these valves can be as low as 0.35 W (at 24 VDC). To know all about SGC Series Valves, Click Here

For more insight on SMC Energy Saving program and products, download the catalogue given below-

SMC's Energy Saving Solutions