Checking the Quality of Finished Plastics is Made Easier With the Help of a Cobot Arm


FMO Surface is a family-owned business located in Lemgo, Germany that has been in the plastics finishing business since 1999 Cobot Arm robotics studing. The business currently employs seventy-five people. Consumers in the automotive, electronic, aerospace, and mechanical engineering sectors are among the company’s clientele. Some of FMO Surface’s clients are companies that make bicycles and home appliances.


Several years ago, FMO Surface started automating related processes, such as the laser marking of approximately seven million plastic bus connectors with eight-digit data matrix codes (DMC) before they are installed in controllers. FMO Surface is not alone in having trouble luring human workers to perform tedious but important tasks like checking DMCs.

Bus connector quality control is where the company has found a use for its new KUKA LBR iisy collaborative robot arm. Reliability is crucial for module-level traceability because multiple components are marked with a DMC and are interdependent Cobot Arm. As a result, FMO Surface has historically relied on human workers to manually scan the Data Matrix codes for quality assurance purposes, despite the fact that automated scanning technology exists.

Tim Hertz, laser department foreman at FMO Surface, remarked, “We save an enormous amount of time using the LBR iisy because we no longer have to scan each part individually.” And if the cobot detects a problem, we can fix it without opening the cage or shutting down the entire system, just by swapping out the faulty component. The production and finishing costs can be reduced thanks to this type of quality control.


The LBR iisy cobot has two Keyence cameras for DMC inspection. There are 200 plastic pieces in each of the trays that fit under the LBR iisy. The second camera checks the fullness of the codes while the first performs the quality inspection with the help of associated software.

Hertz elaborated, “The first step spot checks the quality of the codes based on 20 parts.” All codes must be readable and all 200 parts must be present for the cobot to proceed with the inspection.

The robot will come to a halt and identify the faulty bus connector if it detects a problem with a piece of code. The faulty component is then replaced by a human coworker, and the robot rechecks the tray before, hopefully, releasing it. Maximum security and productivity are both benefits of this human-robot partnership.

Both the KUKA smartPAD pro and the KR C5 microrobot controller make it possible for workers with minimal exposure to robot programming to successfully operate and educate the cobot.

The new iiQKA.OS operating system, on which the LBR iisy is based, simplifies installation, configuration, and programming, as explained by KUKA’s Robert Korte. The cobot is not only ready to go in a matter of minutes, but it can also quickly adjust to novel circumstances. It’s a huge plus for Fest: Since we don’t have any engineers on staff, it’s crucial that everything be simple to set up.

FMO Surface’s MD Bastian Fest talked to Korte about the LBR iisy collaborative robot’s benefits at a trade show best Cobot Arm. Fest then visited the KUKA subsidiary in Siegen to examine the LBR iisy up close.

The LBR iisy has all the features we need in one convenient package: adaptability, programming simplicity, and suitability for teamwork. According to Fest, “that’s why we bought it, even without actually knowing where we wanted to use it.”


The FMO Surface staff welcomed their new coworker with open arms.

In a single shared workspace, “collaboration with people is possible thanks to the safety features,” explained KUKA sales engineer Robert Korte.

When it comes to DMCs, quality control of this nature used to take up a lot more time Cobot Arm robot. When Hertz said, “When checking for completeness, we had to scan each part individually,” he wasn’t kidding. Someone on staff had to remove the parts from the tray and replace them. The LBR iisy has made this process much quicker and more accurate in recent years.

Pad printing is another field where the LBR iisy cobot, according to FMO, may soon be able to contribute significantly. The organisation also anticipates deploying the LBR iisy’s larger variants, which can carry 11 and 15 kilogrammes of cargo, respectively.

The two companies have worked together before on the use of a KR CYBERTECH nano (KR 10 R1420) robot arm for palletizing and laser system maintenance at FMO Surface. Two years later, FMO Surface put in place yet another KR CYBERTECH-series industrial robot for finishing plastic components by turning them over, measuring them, and lasering them.

Automation is crucial for a medium-sized company like ours, FMO Surface said, because of the severe shortage of skilled workers.

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