Retrofitting and recycling old robot arms into positioners is the new and latest green technique, and this would provide customers low cost workcell components. The companies could reuse many of the parts from older versions of industrial robots.
Jarrod Bichon, who is the President of RobotWorx, reveals that they had successfully retrofitted almost a dozen positioners from old robots till date. This would be highly beneficial and advantageous for customers as they would cost only half of what a regular servo positioner would cost, with absolutely the same performance.
This kind of recycling could be done only with the older robot arms as the newer models have only a second axis and is cast as a single piece. The older robots such as the FANUC S430 and the Motoman SK120 are built in segments, enabling the removal of the top portion of the robot. The rest of the base then undergoes a cleaning and testing operation, after which it is fixed to a table top, and then combined with the robot controller.
Servo positioner tables play a very significant role in robotic workcells as they bring the components inside the work envelope of the robot. The positioners are important to the working of a robotic cell and also contribute to the overall price. But for those in the market wanting a robotic workcell, these servo positioners, which have been retrofitted are much more affordable, costing almost 50% less when compared to the new models. The models selected to be retrofitted are mostly those, which are in a bad shape, overloaded with tooling, or spot welding guns whose center of mass is too far for the robot to manage. Sometimes, even those models that have not been given proper preventive maintenance care are chosen, and these abused robots are altered into servo positioners. RobotWorx stocks all the robot parts, which remain unused from the robot’s upper half of the arm.