This ModelPlan (171) has been designed to demonstrate how a Meccano robot can controlled by a computer and used to demonstrate a manufacturing process.
The robot chosen is the ArcAngle robot which is of simple design and built in such a way that its motors and mechanisms are easily accessible. In order for a robot to function in a satisfactory way, each motion must have feedback to the operating computer, and this is provided by potentiometers. The ArcAngle, although small in size, does not differ very much in operation from its factory equivalent.
A conveyor has been designed which operates in conjunction with the robot, and its job is to convey coloured blocks to a place where the robot can pick them up. The blocks are sorted according to their colour, and the system has been designed in such a way that yellow blocks are accepted, and blue blocks rejected. The robot places the blocks in their appropriate boxes. The program records the total number of blocks and the number rejected. It does this by counting the number of blocks under a photo cell, and using a colour recognition cell. An interrupter is situated on the conveyor and if it is activated, the whole machine stops and the time of inactivity is recorded. A speed control is provided for the whole operation.
The machine therefore demonstrates industrial Operating
Efficiency Evaluation (OEE) and also shows the way in which a robot can be
integrated with other machinery on the factory floor.
The Model provides an excellent introduction to robotics and Meccano and an opportunity to examine the operation of movement under computer control and the constructions and programming involved could be the basis for further experimentation with industrial automation processes using Meccano.