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Flexible Automation

Flexible automation is playing an increasing role in production processes requiring automation.  Robots, the most common form of flexible automation, are often employed to perform critical tasks within a process.  Isthmus Engineering has successfully designed and installed numerous projects requiring robotic integration across a wide range of applications.  These include:

  • Material Handling
  • Assembly
  • Palletizing
  • Machine Tending
  • Material Removal
  • Dispensing

The inherent properties of robots make them ideal for flexible automation:

  • Programmable motions
  • Compatibility with other control systems within an application
  • Capacity for positional accuracy

These traits make robots the tool of choice when an application calls for handling multiple parts on the same machine platform.  The robots can be programmed to execute the proper motions to accommodate variations between part types.

One of the most critical aspects in robotic integration concerns the design of the robot’s end effector.  This is the mechanical interface with the product being handled.  A poorly designed end effector will limit the effectiveness of a robotic application.  Isthmus Engineering’s end effector designs are developed to incorporate all aspects of the robot’s environment, including the part being  handled, part fixturing and the robot itself.

Industrial robots are classified by a number of major types, each of which is suited for specific applications:

  • Cartesian (X-Y) transfer
  • Serial Link
  • Delta

When presented with an application, Isthmus uses its wide range of experience to identify the most appropriate type of robot.  End effectors are designed and built in-house, then fitted to the robot.  Finally, the robot is programmed to perform the tasks required and integrated into its environment – the flexible automation solution.


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