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Making a move on modular automation to increase production line flexibility

04 July 2022

Traditional assembly lines are undergoing a dramatic shift and modular automation is transforming production areas. This introduction to the next-generation production concept illustrates the roles of Oriental Motor BLV-R series and AZ series; ideal choices for modular automation systems.

There are many factors which are impacting the conventional production structure: lack of manpower, a rise in demand for small batch sizes, and limited available production space.

Modular automation is a concept where modular workstations equipped with automation machinery, such as conveyor belts and/or robotic parts replace the static assembly line. The appeal is that the modular workstations or robots allow a great degree of flexibility in the production area. They eliminate the static assembly lines made up of conveyor belts and large production equipment. 

The robots in modular automation enable an agile production process, where small batches for specialist orders or prototypes can be produced with ease. The concept is also lithe enough to allow a variety of products to be produced using the same machines.

Battery-powered operation means the compact, lightweight modules are agile enough to be located around the production line. They are not tethered to the mains power so the production line can be configured to suit requirements. They also have a small turning radius so less floor space is required. 

The compact and lightweight, DC-powered AZ series mini drivers and BLV-R BLDC motors are ideal for self-propelled and mobile equipment, and automated guided vehicles (AGVs) which can transport parts from one station to another. 

The well-designed and efficient motors and drivers, like Oriental Motor’s BLV-R series of brushless DC motors and the AZ series of mini drivers for motors and actuators are engineered for modular automation systems. For example, in a vertically articulated robot, the AZ series mini driver can drive various motors within a robot arm. The BLV-R BLDC motors are ideally suited to power the conveyor belt in transportation robots where parts are lifted and lowered before being placed on a transportation robot with wheels driven by BLV-R BLDC motors.

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