I-Cubed Industry Innovators is a manufacturer of a broad range of industrial automation tools and custom-designed robotic machinery. But the Stoney Creek-based company faced a time-sensitive challenge they couldn’t solve alone.
The firm had a client that manufactures stone countertops and the pieces need to match up tightly, requiring accurate cutting. However, their water-jet cutting robot was out of spec and needed recalibration immediately – otherwise, it meant risking costly manual re-work and/or scrap.
Most precision machinery requires calibration, and for robots, FARO® laser tracking technology is typically employed. However, the specialized equipment is not something in I-Cubed’s arsenal.
“The FARO® Vantage Laser Tracker is an expensive piece of equipment that most places if they’re not utilized every day, won’t have access to,” says Kevin Hesch, business development manager at I-Cubed.
“Initially, I didn’t know where I could find the laser tracker so I reached out to FARO® directly, and they recommended the services of WAMIC [Walker Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre] at Niagara College.”
A secondary challenge for I-Cubed was needing the service done in an extremely tight turnaround. The WAMIC team pulled its resources and a technician brought the high-tech equipment onsite to assist in the recalibration of the water-jet robot.
“The WAMIC team was phenomenal and we are thrilled with the results,” notes Hesch, adding those results involved the robot going from a 5mm to a .4mm positional accuracy after calibration.
“I’ve already recommended this service to multiple robot integrators and we will continue to use this service now that we know it’s available.”
Research & Innovation’s FARO® Vantage Laser Tracker is a portable coordinate measuring machine (CMM) that can be used on a shop floor in any location for recalibration of precision machinery that has alignment issues after repeated functions.
“The WAMIC team was phenomenal and we are thrilled with the results… I’ve already recommended this service to multiple robot integrators and we will continue to use this service now that we know it’s available.”
I-Cubed is no stranger to working with WAMIC on collaborative applied research projects. In 2020, the company teamed up with WAMIC engineers for a project with Hamill Machine Co., when the Niagara Falls company decided to switch to Robotic Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW) and needed a prototype for an industrial fixture/jig to pneumatically hold parts.
The research team at WAMIC designed a fixture that interfaces with both the robotic cell and the robot welder itself and I-Cubed connected the robot to the welder and created a simulation of the robot path.
“I think it really helps to give the students some real-world project exposure and at the same time, allows for some grant money when companies work with educational facilities.”
Recalibrating large machinery and robots is just one of many of the technical services with state-of-the-market equipment at the Walker Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre. To see more capabilities and equipment available for industry partner needs, visit the Walker Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre.