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Lifetime of ABB robots


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When ABB Robots were first installed at Magnussons I Genarp …

When ABB Robots were first installed at Magnussons I Genarp
AB’s anonymous looking building in the midst of rural southern
Sweden, ABBA topped the charts worldwide, oil cost $13 USD
a berral and the world’s population numbered 4 billi

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  • 1. ABB Robotics Old-timers with uptime What is the lifetime of an ABB robot?What is the lifetime of an ABB robot? When ABB Robots were first installed at Magnussons I Genarp AB’s anonymous looking building in the midst of rural southern Sweden, ABBA topped the charts worldwide, oil cost $13 USD a berral and the world’s population numbered 4 billion. ALmostThat’s a question one Swedish 4 decades and 7.7 million cycles later, the robots are still at firm can’t answer yet – four Picking up and polishing tube bends with a touch that seems almost human.IRB 6 robots it installed in the early1970s are still polishing bends today. In 1973, Leif Jonsson, CEO of the family run engineering firm Magnussons came across an ASEA stand at an exhibition in Stockholm. ASEA, today known as ABB was displaying world’s first electrically driven, microprocessor controlledA time-tested solution robot, the IRB 6. Jonsson immediately saw the robot’s produc- tivity potential for his business and purchased one. Today the workshop is still running it and three additional IRB 6’s that Jonsson bought soon afterward• Robots: 4 x IRB 6, with S1 controllers Magnussons produces steel bends for use in a variey of indus-• Cycle time: 4–6 minutes trial applications. The company takes six-meter-long stainless steel tubes of various diameters, cuts them into sections and• Daily production: approximately 260 then bends them. The bending process is a closely guardedbends polished per robot per day secret, but the result is a bend with no thinning or distorting of the metal. Magnussons customers include Alfa Laval and Tetra• Total production: around 7.7 million Pak.bends since the mid-1970s
  • 2. The robots pick a bend from a vertical magazine that can holdbetween 12 and 35 units and carry it to a sanding band. Withwhat looks like the greatest of care, it moves the bend backand forth over the rotating band, stopping after about a minuteto set the bend down, gently pick it u p f rom t he o ther e nd, and c ontinue sanding. Once sanded, the robot swings aroundto repeat the process with nylon brushes to give the bends abrushed finish.The whole process takes about four to six minutes.The reasons for investing in robots, such as safer working Document ID    © Copyright 2008 ABB. All rights reserved.conditions and higher productivity, are the same today. “This isdirty, monotonous, repetitive work,” says Mats Jönsson, whohas worked at Magnussons since joining in 1980 at age 18.“It’s tough on the shoulders when done manually, and thewomen who did the polishing before the robots arrived wouldget injured over time.”Mats estimates that a robot is about 25 to 30 percent moreproductive than a human. “An experienced worker could prob- ABB IRB6 at Magnussonsably work as fast as the robot,” he says, “but robots don’t needbreaks.” “And anyway,” he adds with a smile, “I don’t think we could because you can’t connect a laptop to the control system.”Yellowing newspaper clippings from the 1970s kept by Mag-nussons carry headlines such as, “An employer’s Understandably, spare parts can be tricky to acquire; so far,dream-worker: no sleep, no holiday, never sick.” Another the company has managed to track them down on the Internet.proclaims: “You have no chance: here is the robot that will put “Touch wood, we haven’t had to do many repairs,” says out of a job.” Mats says, “Robots were new and revolution- During the last six years, for example, the robots have onlyary then, and some of the workers thought, ‘The robots are caused three stops.coming – we’re going to lose our jobs!’” But despite employ-ees’ initial fears, no jobs were lost at Magnussons; the workers After almost two million cycles each, the robots are still fairlywho had done the polishing by hand were put to work on other low-maintenance. Mats just needs to check on them from timetasks. to time as he works with other tasks. He says of the robots, “They are worth their weight in gold.”Huge international demand for Magnussons bends in the 70s So how much longer can these robots keep going? Magnus-and 80s meant that the four robots worked every day, all day. sons has no idea; but it plans to produce bends in the same“My father would finish work at four, then come back here at 10 way for years to the evening to fill up the magazines,” says Mats. “And therobots would carry on for another six hours. The only limita-tions on running them unassisted are that the magazines For more information please contact:require filling up with new bends, and the sandpaper wears outand needs replacing.” ABB Robotics 5 Lane 369 ChuangYe RoadThe S1 control systems for the robots are still running on the KangQiao Town, PuDong Districtoriginal cassettebasedsoftware. Says Mats, “There is no need Phone: +86 21 6105 6666to update the software because they’re still doing the same job Fax: 86 21 6105 6677as they were doing in the 1970s. Note: We reserve the right to make technical changes or modify the contents of this document without prior notice. With regard to purchase orders, the agreed particulars shall prevail. ABB Robotics does not accept any responsibility whatsoever for potential errors or possible lack of information in this document. We reserve all rights in this document and in the subject matter and illustrations contained therein. Any reproduction, disclosure to third parties or utilization of its contents – in whole or in parts – is forbidden without prior written consent of ABB Robotic.