Preventative Maintenance for Industrial Robots


Posted on: June 24th, 2020 by SDC

By Ashley Belliveau

It’s crucial to conduct regular preventative maintenance for industrial robots. When industrial robots are properly maintained, they can last for many years before needing to be replaced. Not only does this improve the return on investment on equipment, but it also helps ensure high performance, reduce repair costs, and keep production moving.

Two FANUC LR Mate robots.

How Often to Perform Preventative Maintenance

Different robot manufacturers, such as FANUC, Epson, Yaskawa/Motoman, and ABB, all have their own maintenance manual that you’ll want to refer to for scheduling preventative maintenance. For example, FANUC recommends conducting certain preventative maintenance checks daily, every 600 hours, and every 5,000 hours of operation. Meanwhile, Epson provides daily, monthly, quarterly, biannual, and annual maintenance inspection checkpoints.

Use these manufacturer-recommended timetables to schedule your preventative maintenance and follow through on it. Regularly inspecting your industrial robots helps keep small problems from escalating into larger issues, as well as allows your maintenance team to work around peak production schedules.

Robot Preventative Maintenance Checklist

While every type of robot will have its own maintenance schedule, there are many different maintenance items you’ll want to account for during your routine checkups. Here are some general recommended maintenance tips:

  • Back up controller memory
  • Inspect brake operation
  • Inspect teach pendant
  • Check overtravel limits
  • Monitor robot in motion, inspecting robot, harness, and cables
  • Check robot repeatability
  • Listen for excessive audible vibration and noise
  • Tighten external bolts
  • Check for defective seals and grease/oil leakage
  • Clean chips and debris from robot
  • Grease joints, bushing, and balancer housing
  • Check controller cables, cable connections, power suppliers, and safety equipment; replace if necessary
  • Test batteries in controller and robot arm; replace if necessary
  • Clean vents and cooling fans with compressed air; replace filters if necessary
  • Clean light curtains and sensors

The Importance of Preventative Maintenance for Industrial Robots

When robots don’t have regular preventative maintenance checks performed, it can cause parts and components to break down or malfunction. Should you fail to provide regular preventative maintenance, you may experience issues, such as:

  • Position deviation: The robot functions outside of its intended perimeters.
  • Repeatability issues: The robot is unable to perform consistent, repetitive movements.
  • Cable damage: Wear and tear on power and data transmitting cords, wires, and cables can cause electrical fires.
  • Loss of programs: Controls software breaks down and important information and data is lost.
  • Safety issues: The robot behaves unpredictably, resulting in a risk of injury for your staff.

Should any of these issues occur, you’ll likely experience a decrease in productivity levels and may even be forced to completely shut down production.

With over 20 years of experience as a robotic integrator for FANUC, Epson, Yaskawa/Motoman, and many more, Steven Douglas Corp. understands the importance of preventative maintenance to keep your automated systems running as efficiently as possible. Contact SDC today to discuss your upcoming automation project. In the meantime, check out some of our past projects.

 

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