How Test Fixtures Streamline the Robotics Repair Process

Robots are a critical part of today’s manufacturing. Keeping them running is a high priority, while minimizing downtime for repairs is essential.

In places like automotive plants, the robots can be massive, so sending them out for repair is not an option. Typically, when something goes wrong with one of these large machines, the problem can be traced back to a single component—a board or drive, a human-machine interface (HMI), a programmable logic controller (PLC) or a touchscreen, for example. Once the customer identifies the component that has failed, the next step is sending it out for repair or replacement.

Radwell International, a leader in industrial repair, distribution and surplus automation, maintains a $2-billion surplus, which is a great cost-effective alternative for a customer with a machine down. This this surplus also allows for their Engineering Department build efficient test fixtures. This huge on-site inventory of parts and robots means technicians can put the part in question through a full-load test in the same model robot as the one the customer uses. As a result, Radwell’s customers have confidence in the repairs and replacements because they know their components have been thoroughly tested. Radwell can also repair or replace teach pendants, control panels and any of the control components, as well as other parts such as servo motors.

This surplus and testing capability sets Radwell apart from its competitors and greatly enhances its capacity to quickly test components and replacement parts, so that its customers are up and running again as soon as possible. The extensive testing enables Radwell to offer its customers a two-year warranty (compared to the industry-standard of 12-18 months), and also keeps the warranty rate very low (4 percent versus the 6 percent industry average).

Watch a short video about the company’s robotic repair and test capabilities featuring the Kawasaki UX120F, a robot that improves production line efficiencies and general industry and automotive applications. The Kawasaki UC120F is just one of the many robots Radwell has available to test components.

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Equipment Overview: KH7050 Laser Engraving Machine

Recently we’ve acquired a new machine at Radwell International headquarters to add additional repair services to our capabilities. Our latest addition is a KH7050 Laser Engraving Machine, which allows us to design and cut new graphic overlays and gaskets for our customers.

The major benefit to having this machine in a production facility is the amount of time it saves on repair turnaround for customers. Currently there is up to a four week turnaround for customer overlays and gaskets to be made when these items are outsourced during our repair process. With this machine, turnaround can be under two hours. With this significant time difference, better service can be provided to customers who need custom items created.

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Standards in Action: An Overview of the ISO Certification Process

ISO Certification is a process that enhances the offerings of a business. By showcasing how an organization meets or exceeds certain defined certification standards, they announce to the world the highest level of quality, safety, and efficiency in their daily methods of operation.

What is ISO? ISO is an independent, non-governmental international organization. Through its members, it brings together experts to share knowledge and develop voluntary, market-relevant International Standards that support innovation and provide solutions to global challenges.

The ISO story began in 1946 when delegates from 25 countries met at the Institute of Civil Engineers in London and decided to create a new international organization ‘to facilitate the international coordination and unification of industrial standards.' On February 23rd, 1947 the new organization, ISO, officially began operations. It operates in a similar way to this day.

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Staying Cool: Increasing the Lifespan of Your Electrical Components

Warm temperatures can wreak havoc on electrical components and other manufacturing machinery. Internal heat will cause the temperature of an enclosure to rise to unacceptable levels if it is not removed. High temperatures affect  drives, PLC's and other automation equipment in a very detrimental way. Heat may cause system failure, thermal aging and reduction in thermo-mechanical cycle life. To prevent catastrophic equipment failure,

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Basic Operations: Zebra140XiIII Plus Printer

Recently our Engineering Department completed a new project. They repaired a Zebra 140 XiIII Plus printer from a non-functioning state to fully operational by utilizing existing parts and in-house materials. Not only has this given us some functionality for labeling our own inventory and repair bins, but it has also given us additional repair skills so we can help our clients repair their printers.

Internally we use the Zebra printer to create barcodes which help us accurately track and manage our repairs and inventory bins through our operating system. In working through repairing this machine, our engineering department was able to address three areas that have been helpful in operating this printer: changing the printer ribbon, changing the print head and printing using an existing template.

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Package Printing Made Easy: Markem's Hot Melt Wax Printer

We've recently added a Markem Hot Melt Ink Printer to our engineering department and its an interesting addition. 

How does this printer actually work?

Markem ink jet systems use Markem Touch Dry inks. These inks are instantly drying, non-toxic solid inks that contain no solvents and require no special handling. The printer produces prints that are crisp and do not smudge. It is also suitable for printing on a wide variety of packaging materials.  Code changes and real time updates can be completed without any downtime too. The printer has a user-friendly control panel and easy-to-use screen graphics that allow operators to program the entire day's code changes only once. 

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The Benefits of Asset Recovery in the Manufacturing Industry

This blog was reposted with permission from Engineering 360-Powered by IEEE Global Spec-original post published May 30th, 2017:

Ever wonder where your circuit boards, motors and other electronic parts end up when you’re finished using them? According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), most meet their end in landfills, and sadly, many could be recycled and reused. Known as electronic waste, or e-waste for short, these pieces include far more than just the mobile phones and laptops of yesteryear. The EPA estimates that approximately 41.8 million tons of e-waste was generated worldwide in 2014 (data for 2015 and 2016 is not yet available), with the U.S. accounting for 11.7 million of those tons. By 2018, that worldwide estimate is expected to increase to 49.8 million tons.

Businesses with the tons of electronic equipment they use and discard annually – have the unique ability to make the biggest impact by recycling or upcycling their e-waste. An interesting trend has emerged in the electronics and engineering space, in which legacy equipment is sold off and warehoused by a third-party to resell to another company that is still using and in need of that equipment and accompanying parts.

Consider this: Company ABC purchased a large lot of sensors to test their own product, only to discover a few years later that a different sensor would help them better perform that test. They still had 5,000 new-in-the-box sensors from that first lot just taking up space in their warehouse, and when it comes time to move to a new facility, they consider throwing out those 5,000 sensors because it doesn’t make sense to move them to the new space. As far as Company ABC is concerned, those sensors are obsolete and completely useless. However, Company XYZ still uses the same sensors on a regular basis for a completely different application, and is finding that the inventory of their usual supplier is dwindling. They are spending countless man-hours trying to seek out these sensors, and wondering just how long they have before they need to change their operating procedures or product specifications to find a different solution.

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The Culture of Giving Back: A True Success Story

Like most companies, the story of Radwell International is one of humble beginnings. The company story began 38 years ago in Mount Laurel, NJ and has survived and thrived through many changes. Brian Radwell, too, has gone through his share of challenges, both personal and professional. To read the detailed story of Radwell, you can check out this blog post The Story of Radwell.

To truly understand the Radwell story, you have to understand a little bit about Brian Radwell's motivation, which stems from supporting his father who was the kindest man in the world according to many people within the company who knew him when he was alive. I had the rare opportunity to ask Brian Radwell a question about fear of failure and the family culture of giving back .

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HMI Systems: An Operational Cornerstone

In this day and age, human machine interfaces are everywhere. Think about every point of contact a human has with technology and it becomes a reminder that as humans, we interact with machines in just about every aspect of our lives today. Self-service checkout at the grocery store, plugging an address into your car’s GPS or getting some cash at the ATM are all examples of instances when humans interact with an interface designed to help foster human/machine communication.

As it applies to automation equipment in a manufacturing facility, human machine interface products offer the necessary electronics to easily control automation equipment in an industrial environment. HMI products can range from a simple design with basic screen controls to a more complex touchscreen with numerous features and windows. In most environments, whether for service oriented tasks or in an industrial environment, HMI systems must be resistant to dust, water, moisture, high or low temperatures and even chemicals.

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Gedevelop GFM System: An Overview

All over the world, manufacturers in the glass fiberizing and glass wool industry are interested in increasing the quality of their products. The Gedevelop GFM System is suited for this process. It works with glass flow and collects data in real time for optimum control of the manufacturing process. This system reduces material costs and shortens production downtime.

How exactly does this system work? The Gedevelop system uses a camera which looks at the glass stream and reads information for stream diameter and stream velocity. The information is then sent to the central unit and based on set parameters, calculates the glass flow. The glass flow meter continuously measures glass flow individually for each fiberizing unit and allows the pull to be controlled within .5%. It also checks that the quality of the glass stream is at the correct level and if it isn’t, the system can make adjustments. This glass flow meter is a
non-contact, optical measurement system that calculates the flow of molten glass that falls from the bushing into the fiberizer. Many installations worldwide have proven that glass flow measurement is a very profitable investment in a short amount of payback time.

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