Sustainable solutions that reduce energy consumption

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Customer focus is an important word for us at Wemo, just like sustainability. An automation solution from us shall create added value for you as a customer.

In Wemo’s range you will find robot systems, material handling solutions, grip systems and accessories that give you smart and safe production. In addition to our automation solutions creating a safer and more efficient production, they give you the opportunity to reduce energy consumption. In this article, we present two ways that keep energy consumption down for customers mainly in the plastics industry; Eco mode and Air Saving Control (ASC).

To tell you in more detail about the various tools, we enlisted the help of Per Andersson, who works in Wemo’s department for Electrical Hardware Design.

Through the Eco-mode function, energy consumption can be reduced. Is it easy to activate Eco-mode?
Yes, it’s simple. Either you activate the function with a button on the operator panel or you use a variable in the program to automatically activate/deactivate the Eco-mode function.

Do you recommend always having Eco-mode activated?
No, unfortunately it doesn’t always work, but it depends on how you use our robots. The Eco-mode function is only suitable when the cycle time is reasonably constant.

If you are unsure whether the function is suitable for your robot, please talk to the Wemo service center.

How does Eco-mode work?
The robot measures the time from when the robot is ready to pick up a part until the injection molding machine opens the tool. If the measured time is longer than a preset maximum time, the speed/acceleration of all movements outside the injection molding machine is reduced. If the measured time is instead shorter, the speed/acceleration is increased. The measurement is repeated continuously until a stable waiting time is reached and this then becomes the robot’s Eco-mode speed.

So how much energy consumption can you save?
It depends on the robot’s running cycle, but in general you can say that our own test programs show that you can save up to 25 percent, depending on the application.

There is also another advantage of the Eco- mode function, apart from the pure energy saving, and that is that the wear and tear on the robot is reduced because it does not go faster than it needs to.

Another way to reduce energy consumption is to activate ASC (Air Saving Control) when you use vacuum cups. What can you tell us about ASC?
ASC works for all vacuum cups where the part to be gripped is smooth and tight so that air leakage is minimal. If instead the detail is porous, heavily patterned or if there is leakage for some other reason, ASC is not suitable.

ASC is default and it’s activated/deactivated in the program settings.

Wemo gripper with vacuum cups

How does ASC work?
When desired vacuum level is reached, the vacuum ejector is switched off. The level is constantly monitored and if it goes below the set value, the ejector starts again. This process continues until you choose to turn off the vacuum.

If the leakage in the vacuum circuit becomes too large for the ASC, the ASC is automatically switched off until the vacuum is switched on next time.

If the part is smooth and tight and the gripper doesn’t leak air, what are the advantages of using ASC?
Producing compressed air requires fairly high electricity consumption, at the same time compressors are expensive in both purchase and maintenance – in other words, compressed air is expensive. With the ASC function, you can reduce compressed air consumption by an incredible 90 percent!

Thanks, Per!

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