Case Studies Of Industrial Robots

Robots in action can be found everywhere. Robot Manufacturers give examples of robot applications in different industries.

Fanuc Europe Corporation - IFR-Partner

Wall builder robots stack-up at Verbo-B

Ploegsteert Brickworks recently celebrated the 50th anniversary of its 'Thermoblock' building product and used the occasion to officially inaugurate its Vero-B, automated prefabricated brick wall production line.  Verbo-B, a subsidiary of Ploegsteert Brickworks, uses FANUC industrial robots, conveyors and transfer systems to produce highly accurate, custom designed brick walls. 

Verbo-B was established to accommodate the growing market for prefabricated load bearing walls which are ideally suited to larger projects such as social housing programmes, nursing homes, care centres, housing estates and apartments.  A new, ultra-modern production unit was built for this purpose at their headquarters in Ploegsteert. The line has a production capacity of 250,000m²/year and can produce wall variants from 10mm-40mm thickness, lengths up to 9.5m and heights up to 3.75m. 

Developed and built by ceramics sector specialists Ceratec, the new production line has two units - a surface mounting process for wall build and a cutting unit for completing walls to size and position doors and window openings to customer requirements.

Individual blocks are initially sized on a grinding table to ensure each layer is the same height - this process ensures a strong bond between layers using a thin layer of adhesive.  Pallets of bricks are unpacked by a robot and transferred to the grinding machine on a conveyor belt. After grinding the stones are stacked again on a pallet by a second robot. Both of these robots are FANUC M410iB/450 robots. They are then moved by forklift to the stock area or to the Verbo line, where the actual walls are put together. 

Prefabricated walls are built layer-by-layer on a base pallet; a metal beam construction, which serves as a transport pallet later in the process.  Full pallets of bricks are delivered to the assembly unit at three feeder locations, the first is for full bricks, the second is for half bricks, and the third is for lintels of suitable lengths. The bricks are removed from the pallet by a FANUC M410iB/300 robot and placed on a conveyor belt until they form a full wall row. The bricks are stacked closely together. Openings are left in places where doors or windows are required. 

Half bricks are added by a FANUC M710iB/70 robot via line tracking at the beginning and end of the wall and at window and door openings as required.  For the layers above windows and doors, lintels are added at the correct locations. 

Each 'finished' layer is transported by the conveyor belt to the transfer location where an XY robot picks it up complete and places it accurately onto the previous layer.  Every time a new row is added - and before the next layer is put in place - a layer of adhesive is added by a second XY robot on the upper row of bricks

Built walls, which are accurate to within half a brick length, are then sized in the cutting unit to within 2mm of original design requirements in both width, height, door and window apertures.  

Cutting is completed by a FANUC R2000iB robot fitted with a high pressure abrasive (sand) water jet system.  Mounted on a linear axis the robot is able to traverse the full width of the wall receiving programme locations in real time corresponding to customer requirements.  Smaller walls are produced two at a time (side by side) allowing the system to operate at capacity.  

Walls are built to customer specifications using bricks manufactured from the same batch for each wall.  Dimensions from original customer drawings are fed into the system hierarchical controller which feeds positional data to the intelligent FANUC robot controllers.