[- shoe material information] most manufacturers are keen on automatic production as long as it can be completed economically and efficiently. This goal also applies to keen Inc., a Portland, Oregon based company that produces outdoor and lifestyle footwear. Keen's shoes were founded by Martin keen and Rory Fuerst in 2003. They are sold in more than 1000 retail outlets in the United States and globally.
The company has developed rapidly in recent years, which requires it to further realize production automation. Earlier this year, for example, keen's engineers worked with house of Design LLC, an ABB robotics supplier based in ID Nampa, to develop a robotics unit.
The battery, called uneek, is equipped with two ABB IRB 120 robots that weave together the upper part of each shoe. In addition to being a signature feature of keen footwear, these cords also provide comfort by naturally conforming to the shape of a person's foot.
In the summer, the company showed uneek cells at Salt Lake City's outdoor retailer summer market and took them to its Portland headquarters. According to Rory Fuerst Jr., director of innovation at keen, the robot's interlock wire in the battery is twice as fast as when it's done manually. It also complements the company's large ABB Robot portfolio for a variety of machine management and material handling applications.
"Robots are best suited for highly repeatable and precise tasks," says Fuerst. "Given the flexibility and speed of the robot, [we] will continue to explore the next exciting next step in the future application of the uneek platform."
John bubnikovich, vice president of robotics and application sales and marketing at abb, said uneek is a good example of the flexibility of today's industrial robots. "It shows that they can be used for complex, almost custom work, in addition to dealing with the large, repetitive work they primarily know."
As ABB's smallest six axis multifunctional industrial robot, the IRB 120 weighs only 55 pounds. It has a maximum payload of 6.6 pounds, a vertical wrist payload of 8.8 pounds and a maximum load of 1.9 feet. The lightweight model offers flexibility, accuracy, speed and 10 micron repeatability for applications requiring smaller footprint and shape.
There are also white room ISO 5 (Class 100) and 120t models. In applications where the workpiece requires a large amount of reorientation and where shafts 4, 5 and 6 are mainly used, the latter can reduce the cycle time by 25%.
In addition to industrial robots, abb robots also provide robot software, peripherals and modular manufacturing units for assembly, welding, handling, painting and finishing, picking, packaging, palletizing and machine management tasks. The company has sold more than 250000 robots worldwide for the automotive, plastic, metal manufacturing, foundry, electronics, machine tools, pharmaceutical and food and beverage industries.
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