Why Robot Maintenance is a Must for Industrial Efficiency

Author : Pierre-Étienne Germain

March 26, 2024

Importance of Preventive Maintenance

In the realm of industrial automation, the role of preventive maintenance cannot be overstated. Regular maintenance is the heartbeat of industrial robots, ensuring they operate at peak efficiency and averting the costly consequences of downtime or system failures. Here are the pivotal aspects of preventive maintenance:

 

Routine Procedures:

At the core of preventive maintenance lie routine procedures such as cleaning, lubrication, and thorough inspections. These actions are fundamental in maintaining the robot’s mechanical and electrical integrity, which in turn, minimizes wear and tear and extends the lifespan of the equipment.

 

Maintenance Plan Benefits:

Implementing a maintenance plan is a strategic move that brings a plethora of benefits. It significantly reduces the frequency of failures and downtime, enhances safety, and ensures that robots are functioning at their highest capacity. A tailored maintenance plan also lowers the total cost of ownership by maximizing equipment lifespan and improving return on investment.

 

Preventive maintenance is a multifaceted approach that includes:

Daily, Monthly, and Annual Checks:

These range from visual inspections for external component damage to more comprehensive checks like replacing batteries and completing functional tests to ensure the robot meets specifications.

 

Predictive Maintenance:

Utilizing cutting-edge technologies such as AI and machine learning algorithms, predictive maintenance anticipates potential failures before they occur. This proactive strategy is supported by sensor-based monitoring systems and data analytics, which are instrumental in enhancing robot performance and longevity.

The importance of preventive maintenance is further underlined by its ability to improve safety, increase productivity, maintain product quality, and ensure energy efficiency. By scheduling regular maintenance checks, companies can maintain productivity and prevent errors that could disrupt the manufacturing process.

Developing a Maintenance Schedule

To ensure the longevity and peak performance of industrial robots, developing a comprehensive maintenance schedule is paramount. This schedule should be meticulously crafted, taking into account the manufacturer’s specifications and the unique operational requirements of each robot. Here’s how to establish an effective robot preventative maintenance program:

Manufacturer Specifications:

Begin by consulting the maintenance manuals provided by the robot manufacturers. For instance, FANUC recommends specific checks at daily, every 600 hours, and every 5,000 hours intervals. Similarly, Epson outlines daily, monthly, quarterly, biannual, and annual inspections. Tailor these guidelines to fit the specific models and functions of your robots.

 

Custom Maintenance Calendar:

Create a detailed calendar or checklist that includes all the necessary maintenance tasks, such as daily inspections and yearly part replacements. Prioritize these tasks based on urgency & importance, and ensure that they are communicated clearly to all stakeholders.

 

Training:

Ensure that all relevant employees are trained to perform the maintenance tasks. This builds a knowledgeable team that can anticipate and address issues promptly.

 

Reassessment:

Regularly reassess the maintenance plan to accommodate any changes in production or robot performance. Utilize data analytics and predictive maintenance technologies to refine your approach, ensuring that your robots remain in top condition.

Remember, while Probot Systems can offer expert guidance and services for robot maintenance, it is crucial to have a solid internal schedule that is adhered to and regularly updated to reflect the dynamic nature of industrial environments.

Key Maintenance Tasks

Regular inspection and maintenance of industrial robots are critical for ensuring their optimal performance and longevity. Adhering to a structured maintenance routine can prevent minor issues from escalating into major problems that could disrupt production. Here are key maintenance tasks that should be incorporated into a robot’s maintenance schedule:

Daily Maintenance Tasks:

Conduct visual inspections for signs of damage and wear

Remove any dust or debris that may have accumulated

Check for oil, grease or pneumatic leaks in the system

Listen for unusual noises that could indicate a problem

 

Monthly Maintenance Tasks:

Clean and ventilate the controller’s cooling fans to prevent overheating

Back up the robot controller’s memory to secure important data

Observe the robot in motion during a visual inspection to detect any irregularities

 

Quarterly Maintenance Tasks:

Inspect all connections for security and integrity

Check unit cables for wear and damage

Tighten bolts to ensure the robot’s structural stability

Inspecting teach pendant and overtravel limits

Perform a detailed cleaning of the mechanical unit to maintain cleanliness

 

Annual Maintenance Tasks:

Replace batteries to prevent memory lost from power failures

Inspect the operation of the brake system for safety

Cleaning the robot and greasing necessary joints and gears

Cleaning vents, cooling fans, and replacing filters

Complete thorough functional tests to confirm the robot meets all specifications

By following these maintenance tasks, businesses can minimize production downtime and uphold product quality. Regular practices such as predictive maintenance, cleaning air filters, and lubricating robot parts are essential components of a robust robot maintenance plan. Additionally, tasks like robot calibration, programming, wiring, lubrication, cleaning, and safety checks are crucial for preventing operational issues.

Advanced Maintenance Techniques

In the pursuit of industrial excellence, advanced maintenance techniques elevate the standard of robot maintenance, combining expertise and technology to ensure peak performance:

 

Specialist Collaboration:

Engaging with specialists in industrial robot maintenance is invaluable for their technical competence and efficiency. They perform thorough testing and provide speedy resolutions, ensuring high value in maintenance operations.

 

Maintenance Management Software:

Leveraging robot maintenance management software streamlines the maintenance process, offering capabilities such as:

Real-time monitoring of equipment health

Automatic generation of work orders for maintenance tasks

Scheduling of preventive and predictive maintenance activities

 

CMMS Integration:

A Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) serves as a centralized database, crucial for:

Storing all maintenance-related information

Facilitating easy access to maintenance records and schedules

Enhancing communication between maintenance teams

 

Modular Design:

Implementing modular components in robots offers significant benefits:

Minimizes downtime during maintenance

Reduces maintenance costs with easy part replacement or upgrades

 

Proactive Upgrades:

Regularly identifying and upgrading outdated components ensures:

Compliance with international safety and performance standards

Continued safe and efficient operation of industrial robots

These advanced techniques are part of the comprehensive services offered by Probot Systems, ensuring that your robots function at their best, contributing to the overall efficiency and productivity of your production processes.

Conclusion

Ensuring the smooth operation and efficiency of industrial robots is not only about technological advancements but also about comprehensive, regular maintenance. The strategies and maintenance schedules discussed illustrate the importance of preventive and predictive maintenance in avoiding downtime and maximizing robot lifespan. Probot Systems’ expertise in bespoke maintenance solutions is a testament to their commitment to industrial efficiency and underscores the significance of specialist collaboration in maintaining these sophisticated machines. To achieve uninterrupted productivity and optimal performance, it’s imperative that businesses adhere to the outlined maintenance tasks and embrace the advanced techniques available. As industries continue to rely heavily on robotic automation, the value of meticulous maintenance cannot be overstated. For those seeking to enhance their maintenance regimen, book your next preventive maintenance with Probot Systems and join the ranks of companies experiencing the tangible benefits of Probot’s exceptional service.

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