ABB Launches CBM Service for Robot Users and Expands Its Machine Automation Offering

By Ralph Rio

Company and Product News

ABB Launches Condition-Based Maintenance Service for Fleet and Individual Robot Assessments

ABB’s new Condition-Based Maintenance (CBM) service enables robot users to create a preventive maintenance schedule for individual or robot fleets based on real-time operational data, to optimize productivity and minimize downtime.

CBM uses real-time data on robot operations to help identify any potential issues that could affect performance, including duty, speed, acceleration, and gearbox wear.  These variables are compared against other robots in ABB’s worldwide robot database to calculate the likelihood and timeframe of a potential fault or failure.

Aimed at customers with large fleets of robots, ABB’s CBM tool can advise whether remedial action is required, involving either repair or replacement of affected parts.  By identifying which parts are likely to fail and when, spare parts can be purchased and prepared without having to hold them in stock, helping users to plan their budgets and ensure that resources are available to carry out the work when required.

Previously, it was difficult for users to determine whether key parts, such as gearboxes, were becoming worn or in need of replacement.  This meant that problems were either undiagnosed until a failure, or parts were purchased unnecessarily or were unavailable when needed, disrupting production while the robot is offline.

The new CBM tool gives customers the insights they need to create a preventive maintenance schedule based on known performance to help keep robots in good working order and to maximize performance.  Monitoring also minimizes the likelihood of premature failure and extends the Mean Time Between Failure (MTBF) rate, as well as prolonging the operational life of the robot.

To help customers decide which preventive measures to take, a report is provided for the robot, including its serial number, summary table, data analysis, individual maintenance recommendations, conclusions, and rating of the system.  Using this data, the customer can then design an appropriate maintenance schedule, with help available from ABB if required.



ABB Expands Flexible Manufacturing Portfolio with Innovative Magnetic Levitation Shuttle System

ABB is partnering with Canada’s PMI to expand its machine automation offering:  The integration of PMI’s magnetic levitation technology into the company’s Machine Automation Division’s (B&R) portfolio will accelerate industry’s transition from strictly linear production to an open, adaptive manufacturing space.  This will support B&R customers in the transition to highly flexible and precise manufacturing in response to the fundamental shift to batch size one production and shorter product lifecycles.  Furthermore, ABB has taken a significant equity stake in PMI as part of the agreement.

PMI, founded in 2017 as a startup is based in Vancouver, Canada.  It is a leader in magnetically levitated planar motors, designing and producing smart conveying robot systems.  PMI’s intelligent shuttle technology has been integrated into B&R’s portfolio and launched under the product name ACOPOS 6D.  It will offer B&R customers flexibility in manufacturing, assembly, and packaging.

ACOPOS 6D is a rail-free product transportation system, with intelligent shuttles that move independently between stations, without being bound to a rigid, sequential production flow.  The ACOPOS 6D shuttles are contactless, noiseless and precise, gliding freely above a surface, accelerating and maneuvering in every direction with six degrees of freedom – they can even move vertically on walls.

With no mechanical friction or resulting contamination, the technology is particularly timely given rapid shifts in manufacturing accelerated by the current pandemic and the need for a sterile environment in industries that are accelerating automation as a result, including food & beverage, healthcare and pharmaceuticals.

Similar to automated guided vehicle systems (AGV’s), customers benefit from the freedom of movement of objects carried within or between several machines.  With ACOPOS 6D, machines can simultaneously manufacture different product variants or even entirely different products, with each shuttle able to navigate its own way through the production process, among a swarm of other shuttles, taking its individual product on a unique path to the stations it needs for customized production.

B&R is a unit of ABB’s Robotics and Discrete Automation business.

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