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Barr & Paatz to Iitegrate idustrial robots

Process automation and robotics specialist, Barr & Paatz of Totnes, has become an integration partner for the world renowned range of Comau industrial robots. As an authorised systems integrator for the manufacturer's UK operation, Comau Estil, Barr & Paatz will focus on the new generation of SMART NH, NJ and NX robots, capable of handling payloads up to 800kg.

“No-one else manufactures robots of this size and they combine very high payloads with extreme precision of movement and positioning, as well as outstanding reliability,” says Stirling Paatz, MD of Barr & Paatz. “We're very choosy about the robots we specify and Comau's superb machines, particularly in the 220kg to 800kg scale, open up a whole new area of industrial applications that we can cover. We're especially excited about the prospect of developing automation solutions for handling aggregates, building materials, timber and animal feed, as well as different areas of factory machining, assembly, welding and warehousing tasks.

With a sixteen year track record of automating production processes for such major names as Ford, Bookham Technology, Clearlab, Dunlop Slazenger, BA Systems, ReedHycalog and GE Healthcare, Barr & Paatz is already an authorised systems integrator for Stäubli, Mitsubishi, Bosch Rexroth, Cognex and Festo, positioning itself as an early adopter of new flexible automation technologies. Employing state-of-the-art hardware, it designs, builds and commissions automated manufacturing systems, including assembly lines, production cells, test rigs and materials handling installations, employing multi-disciplinary skills in robotics, mechanical design, electronics, machine vision, control systems and software programming.

“Barr & Paatz is an ideal integration partner,” says Byron Griffiths, Comau Estil's Robotics Manager, “because they can build complete automation solutions around our class-leading robots. We are providing specific product and software training for their people and in-depth technical support from Comau's UK operation and the Italian factory. Barr & Paatz will also have access to our powerful SMART CimStation 3D simulation tool for optimising robotic system designs.”

The name Comau dates back to 1973, when the Consorzio Macchine Utensili was formed to amalgamate the technological equipment capabilities of a group of Turin manufacturers. Now employing more than 13,000 people in eighteen countries, Comau is a world leader in automotive assembly systems and a prime mover in the development of industrial robotics, with a reputation for such innovations as a 'hollow wrist' robot arm on the SMART NH4, wireless man-machine interfaces (WiTP) and robotic laser welding (SmartLaser™ and SwingLaser™).

Comau invests continuously in robotics, in order to maintain competitive advantage in the applications field, and its latest generation of SMART robots exemplifies this market edge. All feature a reduced installation footprint and large work envelope, plus new brushless motors with in-built encoders for enhanced precision and positioning, with no motors fitted on the wrists of SMART NH2, NH3, NH4 and NJ models, for increased payload capacity and improved access to confined spaces.

The 6-axis SMART NH3 floor and shelf mounted models offer payloads up to 220kg, standard IP65/67 protection, repeatability up to 0.9mm and the option of an extra-long 3.4m horizontal reach, for best-in-class working area. The bigger SMART NJ, in 370kg @ 2.7m and 290kg @ 3.m versions, features class leading payload/reach ratios, extremely high structural stiffness, thanks to its innovative balancing system, and a highly space-saving design.

Comau's SMART NX1 is the world's most powerful robot, available in a 6-axis, 600kg and a 4-axis, 800kg configuration, with a precision repeatability of 0.2mm; it is particularly suitable for replacing dedicated, fixed automation machines, with highly flexible, robotised modules. All of the SMART series robots are supplied with the latest C4G controller, offering 50x faster processing than its predecessor, and equipped with a Windows-style handheld TP4i operator interface, the lightest on today's market.

Barr & Paatz will exploit the advanced features of Comau SMART industrial robots when designing customised robotic systems, employing in-house simulation and programming software to optimise work cell layout and functionality. It will build selected SMART robots into flexible automation solutions, incorporating conveyors and other devices for material infeed/outfeed, tooling and grippers for workpiece manipulation, safety guards for protecting processes and personnel, light barriers for safeguarding access points and including the integration of all system components and processes.

“We're confident that the Comau portfolio will allow us to address a whole new sphere of heavier applications, in quarrying, forestry, food processing, plastics, pharmaceuticals and general factory automation, helping to extend our service to customers,” concludes Stirling Paatz.

Further enquiries to Barr & Paatz, 7-11 Paragon Units, Ford Road, Totnes Industrial Estate, Totnes TQ9 5LQ, telephone 01803 869 833, email s.paatz@barr-paatz.co.uk

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