Maintenance is an important component in the long-term efficiency and productivity of industrial robots and robot systems. Regular maintenance is important to keep your equipment on-line. Having a comprehensive maintenance schedule and checklist will allow you to stay on track and avoid costly repairs and extended down time. Scheduled maintenance and inspection intervals are an excellent way to ensure that you will catch most issues before they become a problem and cost you money in diminished production quality and lost production time.
Your regularly scheduled maintenance and inspection program should be comprised of the recommendations of the robot manufacturer along with the recommended maintenance and inspection procedures of the other component manufacturers of your robot system. Schedules are based on time period intervals or production usage. Industrial Robots maintenance and inspection program should encompass robot peripherals and system components like conveyors or parts feeders. Checking for faults or problems with the robot, tooling, controller and all the associated equipment during the scheduled maintenance and inspection program allows you to make adjustments to the system in a timely fashion. Preventative maintenance such as recalibrations, tooling adjustments, and bearing replacement can be performed before equipment failure occurs. A maintenance policy sets up company rules for when preventative maintenance should be done.
Following the recommendations for inspection and maintenance of your industrial robots and robot systems is essential not only from a productivity stand point but also from a safety point of view. Regular inspection and maintenance should prevent or minimize hazards caused by malfunction and breakage of the systems components. Service, maintenance and inspection records should be kept along with identification of who performed the tasks. Accurate record keeping ensures that your inspection and maintenance program stays on track.
Protecting maintenance and repair personnel can be difficult because their jobs encompass a wide range of activities placing them in direct contact with the robot and robot systems. Safeguarding techniques and procedures for maintenance and repair personnel are spelled out in the ANSI/RIA R15.06 standard. While maintenance and repair work is being performed, having trained and experienced personnel ensures that safeguarding techniques and procedures will be followed. OSHA guidelines for robotics safety, the ANSI/RIA standard, and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health publication on safe maintenance guidelines outline important considerations, techniques and procedures regarding robotic workstation safety.
Setting up a maintenance and inspection program entails taking into account manufacturers recommendations, use of safety systems/ procedures, and production issues. A well-planned program and maintenance policy ensures less production time lost, greater worker safety and better equipment performance.