Automating industrial processes using robotics used to be the preserve of large corporations who had the resources to make the investment and see the project through to completion.
robko – The Robot Company – is now making the benefits of advanced automation more accessible to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) with its new approach to building industrial robots.
“We want to redefine automation in SMBs with our powerful modular build toolkit,” says Konstantin Dressel, Head of Development at Robco. “This concept allows us to very quickly deliver a customized solution that can be immediately ready to use without any complicated programming or dependency.” on specialized skills.
Robco’s plug-and-play robot units can be quickly and easily assembled on site and can be flexibly transformed on site at any time to adapt to changing requirements, without the need for trained professionals. This approach gives manufacturing companies a cost-effective option to use advanced automation.
“Some solutions pay for themselves after only 30 days,” says Dressel.
To secure the necessary product approvals to bring these robots to market in Europe, Robco had to put the units through compliance testing.
At this point, the test house, TÜV, noted that the main power supply in the central control system was not certified to the appropriate EN 60204-1 safety standard (Safety of machines – Electrical equipment of machines – Part 1). A quick replacement was needed.
In search of a suitably compatible PELV (low overvoltage protection) power supply unit, Frank Thelin, co-owner of Robco through his venture capital fund “Freigeist Capital,” posted an inquiry on LinkedIn.
Frank is a famous businessman and investor, and a former panelist on the popular German flagship TV show The Lion’s Den. Unsurprisingly, many people saw his post, including Lars Foerster, market development engineer for energy at Arrow. “I knew we could come up with a solution to the Robco problem,” Forster says.
Forster continues: “We have 22 partner plants in the Arrow power supply group in Europe, and our responsibility is to maintain an in-depth knowledge of the companies, their technical teams and all of their products. This allows us to quickly propose the optimal solution to meet the needs of each customer.”
Forster phoned Constantine and a few days later they met with Harald Hack, Business Development Manager at Arrow Energy Supply Partner. Recom Electronic.
Together with two application engineers specializing in AC/DC power supplies, one from Arrow and the other from Recom, the group was able to define all application requirements, from safety and electrical performance certifications to the essential details of a PSU installation.
Overall, these requirements were for an 800-1000W PSU with 48V output, 9″ x 3.8″ compact dimensions in an enclosed housing, with built-in protection against live parts contact, 4kVAC voltage isolation (reinforced insulation from input to output), and Class III overvoltages. (OVCIII) according to IEC 62477-1.
An important requirement of safety standards for machines is that the DC output voltage of the power supply should not exceed 60V, so that users cannot receive electric shock if they touch the unit.
Fanless operation was specified to prevent contaminants from entering, ensure quiet operation, and eliminate the fan as a potential point of mechanical failure. Fan failure usually results in complete failure of the power supply unit.
“This was an interesting project inquiry for a fanless AC/DC power supply under 1000W for a demanding industrial environment,” says Hack.
“The specifications we developed during this meeting suggested that the new RACM1200-V AC/DC cooled baseboard power supply would be a perfect fit. These PSUs are extremely compact in their class and offer high efficiency, at over 90 percent.
They can supply up to 1200 watts for short periods if required and are certified to medical and industrial safety, ITE and EMC standards, including EN 60204-1 as specifically required for this project. Protection against short circuit, overload, and overvoltage is included The power supply also features a hiccup mode to recover without system intervention.”
Optimal collaboration reduces design time
“We provided a prototype RACM1200-48SAV/ENC for testing, complete with the appropriate interface cables and connectors, so Robco engineers can start working with it right away,” says Hack.
Recom also provided direct technical support, including accurate measurements and advice on operating conditions such as the maximum permissible ambient temperature in the housing around the power supply unit.
Recom submitted reports documenting the relevant safety approvals for the RACM1200-48SAV / ENC, which helped Robco quickly obtain the necessary approvals at the system level, working with TÜV.
“We achieved a very rapid design in just eight months,” Forster says.
It usually takes at least a year, and often longer, to ensure that a power supply like this is properly implemented. Thanks to the quick work of all involved, the project made rapid progress and the first units were delivered ready to start production of Robco’s revolutionary robot modules.”
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