Thinking about automating some of your assembly processes and finding the costs prohibitive? Perhaps you're looking at collaborative robots, or cobots, as a cost-effective way to achieve this. A good idea, but cobots do have their limitations, particularly when it comes to direct-driven tools in high torque tightening applications. Atlas Copco has a solution.
Manufacturers often see opportunities for automation in their production yet do not see products that will make it easy, cost effective and reliable. In response, we have developed the LRT PowerHEAD (LRT stands for Low Reaction Tools) link to LRT website and we invite our customers to partner with us and continue to develop this product in real assembly situations.
More agile approach to product development
With the LRT PowerHEAD Atlas Copco is trying a different approach to product development. Instead of developing and industrializing a product from a specification, we are being more agile and including our customers in the development process.
We developed the first version of the LRT PowerHEAD and encouraged early adopters to try it. We want them to work together with us to evaluate, improve and eventually finalize the concept.
Some customers are already collaborating with us on this. For instance, we have six LRT PowerHEADs with LRT Tools operating in a plant in France. This was a cost-effective solution for the company since they didn't need to purchase heavier tools, large industrial robots and comprehensive safety equipment.
High reaction forces are a challenge
With tightening tools where there is a direct connection between the outgoing shaft of the tool and the motor, at higher torque levels of 25-50 Nm the reaction force is too high for most cobots to handle.
Our solution is the LRT PowerHEAD, a cost-effective way to automate some tightening processes. Compatible with the products of most cobot manufacturers, the LRT PowerHEAD has two main functions; it secures the LRT Tool to the cobot and enables the tool to be started remotely by the cobot or PLC.
Enables torques of up to 150 Nm
The LRT PowerHEAD paired with an LRT Tool enables even the smallest cobot models to handle torques of up to 150 Nm (110 ft lbs). In Atlas Copco’s LRT range of high productivity pulse tools and nutrunners, the reaction force has been virtually eliminated and almost none is transmitted to the operator's hand. Likewise, with an LRT PowerHEAD, the reaction force is not transmitted to the cobot. Therefore the LRT PowerHEAD allows high torque levels to be achieved on small cobots.
Integrated in the Power Focus ecosystem
The PowerHEAD is fully integrated in the Atlas Copco Power Focus ecosystem link to AC website PF offering with the attached tool controlled by its own virtual station in the Power Focus controller. The controller can handle multiple virtual stations, one for each LRT PowerHEAD and tool.
There are two versions of the LRT PowerHEAD. One has interfaces for battery or power supply and the other has an integrated battery charger, taking power from the cobot.
A cost-effective step into automation
Working in harmony, LRT PowerHEADs, LRT Tools, and Power Focus controllers are suitable for automating a complete range of tightening applications where LRT battery or cable tools are currently used, such as in an automotive plant. A customer who already has LRT Tools and Power Focus can just add cobots.
Cobots are becoming increasingly easier to program and, compared to robots, are more cost effective. So, all-in-all, it's a good way to get into automation.
Feedback has led to improvements
The response from customers is generally positive and so far we have received very practical feedback that has resulted in important improvements. Now, we invite your company to join us in the continued development of the product. It could be a soft start for automation in your assembly operation.
Interested in a collaboration of this type? Please contact us!