FANUC America Corporation, Rochester Hills, MI, is committed to cutting business costs and passing savings onto the customer. One way of achieving that objective is to reduce the time required for field installation of the company’s painting robots, which are used extensively within automotive and numerous other general industrial manufacturing facilities. Remarkably, the company has done so in dramatic fashion, reducing installation time from four weeks to just four days.
FANUC implemented a number of changes to its paint booth installation process that helped reduced install times from weeks to days, and a key to this success has been the use of Roxtec cable seals. These seals minimize the risk of field installation failure, protect the equipment and improve the robot life cycle.
Today’s paint booths are amazingly complex, offering companies a safe and efficient way to apply paint. When FANUC designs a paint system, it provides the hardware, software and process equipment, which includes everything from the sprayers and application robots to the controls that interface with operators and manufacturing zones up and down the line. Paint color and spray patterns can be changed in seconds, with up to 24 different colors of paint available in one booth. Color change cycles can run from about 18 to 24 seconds depending on the type of paint being used, allowing for greater flexibility in the manufacturing process. Application robots are equipped with vision systems and encoders that report the amount of force the robots apply. With such complicated and sensitive systems, simplifying installation provides a great benefit.
Randall Schroeder, Director of Controls Engineering & Product Operations at the Paint Shop Automation Group of FANUC America explained that reduction of installation time is made possible because a large number of cable glands and cord grips can be replaced with just a few easy-to-use Roxtec seals.
“The Roxtec solution was one solution that helped us save time, but at the same time insured that we didn’t cause failures. Before the Roxtec solution, we used to use a gland, which meant you would have to disconnect the connectors on the cable to pull the gland through the wall and then reassemble the connector. If you made a mistake putting the connector back together, you could short out and cause some major damage to other components, which used to occur quite often,” noted Schroeder.
Roxtec seals further meet the demands of FANUC’s customers for speed and efficiency by eliminating the need for reworks in the field. Because pressurized paint robots must be gas-tight, cable-seal reliability, made possible by the Roxtec seals, protects entire systems. Additionally, the simplicity helps with system maintenance.
“It helps us with repairs. If we have to replace a cable, we can do it a lot quicker, because the Roxtec comes apart and we can pull a cable out and put in a new one, but it really reduces the cost of installation.”
Each component is approved for hazardous areas and contributes to nonstop operations. Roxtec seals secure operational reliability in motors and controls and help ensure overall cost efficiency.
Suppliers to FANUC America have also discovered the benefits of Roxtec sealing solutions. EDSI, Engineering Design Services Inc., manufacturers of the main control enclosures for FANUC painting robots, use the Roxtec EZEntry™ cable entry seal on top of enclosures to simplify cable routing, enabling EDSI to deliver cabinets and enclosures that remain tight, look clean and withstand the washing of the paint booth.
When asked how FANUC customers responded to the Roxtec solution, Schroeder noted, “A lot of customers really like it. In fact, other customers are now using it more and more on their installations and their designs, because it is very flexible and it is forgiving.”