WHAT IS AN INDUSTRIAL MANIPULATOR?
Pneumatic manipulators, lift assists, ergonomic manipulators, material handling equipment, jib cranes, vacuum lifts and hydraulic arms are just a few of the many ways people have come to describe machines that move any type of manufacts.
If you’re looking for one of these products, it’s important to have a clear understanding of how each machine works and how well it will integrate into your current workflows. Here’s what you need to know about it.
INDUSTRIAL MANIPULATOR OR CABLE BALANCER?
An industrial manipulator is a machine with a rigid steel manipulator arm that allow complex pneumatic tilts and rotations — even when the product being moved is handled outside it’s barycenter.
An operator leads the manipulator, allowing for easy and precise movement of the manipulator to lift, lower and otherwise transport a manufact.
Industrial manipulators are frequently used when:
A manufact is too heavy for a person to move manually
A manufact must be moved to a location that is not easily or quickly accessible for a person to reach, like a very tall shelf
When a worker will be put at risk for injury if they move a product manually
When a person will quickly fatigue from moving products manually
A high volume of manufact must be moved in a timely fashion
The handiness for the manipulator to move products outside of its barycenter becomes more appreciated as you start working with heavier loads or manufacts that are not regular- shaped, as other types of machines (including balancers with cables) are not so efficient if not with light or standard shaped products.
HOW DOES AN INDUSTRIAL MANIPULATOR DIFFER FROM A CABLE BALANCER
A cable balancer
As touched on above, cable balancers, are best for moving lighter objects that are in standard shapes.
Cable balancers use steel or nylon cables to move products up or down.
On cable balancers built by Dalmec, use a system of cables and pulleys wrap around pulleys paired with a pneumatic cylinder. As those cylinders stretch or withdraw, the cables wrap and move vertically up and down the product.
Some small manipulation of product can happen through the tooling even if the manufact’s barycenter does not coincide with its center of mass.
WHO USES MANIPULATORS AND CABLE BALANCERS?
Manipulators and cable balancers are used in a wide range of industries across the globe to help companies move with efficiency and safety. Some of the many industries that rely on these machines include:
Packaging and packaging lines – Textiles – Chemistry – Food – Mechanics – Electromechanics – Foundry – Automotive – Wood
WHICH TYPE OF MANIPULATOR SHOULD YOU USE IN YOUR WORK ENVIRONMENT?
If you aren’t sure if a cable balancer or a manipulator would be right for your work environment, consider the following factors:
The weight of the manufactt you need to move
The size and shape of the manufact you need to move
The trajectory of the movement you need the machine to perform
Lighter weight manufacts (usually those less than 200 lbs) and standard shapes that only need to be moved up and down are good candidates for an arm with cables.
Heavier manufacts (up to 2,000 lbs), products with odd shapes and manufacts that need to be moved and repositioned both horizontally and vertically are best suited for manipulators.