When it comes to choosing spare parts for your robot, Magnus Gronlund, global head of spare parts and Logistics, of ABB Robotics highlights the issues with opting for non-genuine parts.
With their flexibility, speed and accuracy, today’s robots are helping companies transform their operations, making them more efficient, competitive, and productive. While robots offer a wide range of benefits over conventional machines, they do require the same levels of care and attention to keep them in peak operating condition to enable them to operate at the highest levels of performance.
This requires a comprehensive maintenance program that may involve holding spare parts in stocks to quickly remedy any issues and keep production on track. With spares classed as inventory, it’s tempting to opt for non-branded or generic parts, sourcing them through third party suppliers – a move that can potentially prove to be a false economy.
Non-genuine parts risk losses
Some of the pitfalls and risks with buying non-genuine spare parts are brought to life in the case of smart phone manufacturing. Large consumer electronics companies source finished products from contract manufacturers, who rely on robots at various points in the production process.
One critical stage is the polishing of the aluminium frame found in all mobile phones, a task which is often performed by robots. Using non-genuine parts – such as a motor - increases the risk that calibrated settings and parameters may be wrong, which could affect the accuracy of the polishing process.
An incorrectly calibrated motor can have a major impact on a robot’s ability to deliver the precision and accuracy needed in electronics production processes. If a component such as a motor pinion is wrong, the precision of the robot’s movements and the pressure exerted on the surface of the component or workpieces could all be incorrect.
Even a small variation in precision can make a big difference. Impaired path accuracy can cause the positioning of displays or other components to vary, possibly causing failures in connections and functionality. While this is detrimental to the production of phones and wearables, it can be more serious for products such as medical parts, where no defects can be tolerated.
Developers of smart phones typically contract manufacturers to produce a certain number of units in an agreed number of hours, meaning that the factories producing the units operate on very slim margins. Poor quality units resulting from inaccurately controlled robots can drive up costs and additional production time and potentially result in reputational damage for the contractor.
Why it pays to use genuine parts
Another risk of using non-genuine parts is damage to the robot itself. Opting for non-standard cables and wiring can lead to downtime and repair costs through damaged power distribution boards. This not only damages the robot but also voids its warranty.
With no warranty, the part cannot be sent back, and users end up paying for another, genuine, item through the official channels, doubling their outlay and incurring additional delays.
It also pays to be cautious when buying a genuine component from a non-verified vendor. Although few ABB robot users would risk installing non-ABB motors in their robots, there’s potential to make wrong assumptions even when sourcing a genuine motor. Despite it being an ABB part, it may not have the correct specification, temperature range or protection standard for the particular application.
ABB has a world-wide network of service engineers, with a comprehensive customer database knows what parts fit best. This is based on a deep knowledge of the specifications of the customer’s application and the equipment they are using.
This database, known as SSI – Smart Service Information – stores recorded maintenance data, R&D cases, cause analysis cases, etc, and can be used to trace down applications and discover the causes of problems. This knowledge can be combined with ABB’s expertise and product range to ensure the right parts will be available as and when needed.
Buy from the people who made it
Unlike sourcing parts through unofficial or third-party channels, getting genuine parts from ABB comes with a host of benefits. Among these are the guaranteed fit. ABB spare parts are the perfect fit for an ABB robot, ensuring customers get an exact replacement of what was fitted previously.
By choosing ABB parts, users can reduce the total cost of ownership and save money in the long term by extending the lifetime of the robot, guaranteeing its reliability and robustness with a 12-month warranty.
Customers can choose between new parts, exchange parts, repaired parts, preventive maintenance kits, and repair kits. More than 35,000 spare parts support the ABB robots being produced today. ABB can diagnose parts and solutions according to a robot’s serial number and can advise users on which parts they should have on stock. Refurbishment or full replacement is offered to take advantage of new features, improved performance, and safety.
Committing to a maximum three-day turnaround on orders, ABB fulfils this through three distribution centres in China, the US and Europe. With over 1,600 experienced robotics service technicians in more than 50 countries around the world, help with robot spares and maintenance is never far away.