Sustainability has been part of our DNA here at Stäubli since 1892, by which we mean that we have always taken responsibility for our social, economic and environmental activities, with the aim of creating value for all our stakeholders.
The rationale behind our actions rests on three “pillars”, namely value for customers (through the sustainable performance of our products and our commitment to customer proximity), the welfare of our employees (whose development, health and safety are paramount) and the protection of our planet (through preservation of the environment). These founding principles are reflected in our products, which are outstanding for their high durability, recyclability and energy efficiency. As a result, our products contribute significantly to making industry more sustainable.
Consequently, we at Stäubli welcome the shift towards greater sustainability and climate-neutral production from both an environmental and an economic perspective. The new markets for green technologies are already generating significant growth. For example, robots are now being deployed in the photovoltaic sector in considerable numbers. At the moment, however, these advances are almost exclusively taking place in Asia.
Question 2: What options do you already offer customers for this?
Pühringer: On the one hand, we focus on long maintenance intervals and above-average service life. Here we also offer general overhauls of our robots, with which we make the machines fit again for a second life and thus make a decisive contribution to minimizing resources. On the other hand, we are fully committed to digitization. All robots are Industry 4.o-compatible and can be easily integrated into smart environments. They also have all the necessary interfaces for virtual commissioning, AI applications and the like. And very importantly, our four- and six-axis robots meet the high requirements for use in lithium-ion battery production as well as in fuel cell production. In battery production, the robots must be able to work in an extremely dry environment with a relative humidity of less than one percent; in fuel cell production, they should be able to cope permanently with the corrosive production environment. Our robots have been approved for both applications.
Making production more energy efficiently and conserving resources with Stäubli products and solutions
The adoption of robotics helps in many ways to lower energy consumption in manufacturing.
Thanks to extensive research and development, the robotic systems themselves are becoming ever more precise and efficient, which reduces energy consumption.
On the new generation of TX2-TS2 robots, Stäubli Robotics has developed a new feature to program the robot’s standby mode. This new feature saves energy by reducing the energy consumption of the robot by up to 50%. New Stäubli CS9 controller generation consume less energy than previous generations.
Sustainability also means long life and digitalization
The high-quality workmanship of Stäubli robots extends service life – and if a robot does reach the end of its life cycle, it is not simply disposed of and replaced, but refurbished and reused again.
Stäubli is also making a huge contribution to sustainability with its digitalization offensive. All robots are Industry 4.0-compatible and can be readily integrated into smart environments. They also have all the necessary interfaces for virtual commissioning, AI applications and the like. This saves users time and money as well as reducing their CO2 emissions.
As the global population grows and resources dwindle, we have a greater responsibility than ever to make our actions more sustainable. With internationally defined goals, the United Nations wants to create humane living conditions worldwide and preserve our natural resources. Here, robotics makes a decisive contribution as an enabler technology for various fields of development.
The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), were launched by the United Nations in 2015 to fulfill our responsibility towards future generations. In the meantime, many governments, associa-tions and organizations are using the SDGs as a global reference framework to align their actions with these goals and work together to achieve a certain level of prosperity and a peaceful world for all by 2030.
Towards a healthier society (SDG 3)
One goal where robotics is making an important contribution is the improvement of global health care and individual well-being. Here, advancements in medical technology are driving societal progress, with robots performing complex microsurgical procedures with even greater precision and safety.
At the same time, robots for aseptic environments simplify and accelerate the sterile and automated production of cell and gene therapies or vaccines, paving the way from laboratory research to series production.
While their use significantly reduces the risk of contamination, this form of production also brings significant cost reductions and facilitates access to these sometimes vital therapies.
Accompanying the energy transition (SDG 7)
In times of climate change, independence from fossil fuels and affordable access to renewable energy are becoming increasingly important.
In terms of SDG 7, „Affordable and Clean Energy“, Stäubli automated guided vehicles (AGVs) built for heavy-duty transport can significantly facilitate the construction of wind turbines. This can be achieved, because they transport components for offshore wind turbines weighing several tons every day and contribute to flow production on an XXL scale through the synchronized operation of several vehicles.
Underwater robots in the decommissioning of nuclear reactors – automated dismantling of reactor pressure vessel components at Brunsbüttel, Germany, nuclear power plant.
Orano developed a special concept in which the cutting process is semi-automated and takes place under water. This keeps the radiation exposure within the permissible range. Prerequisite to the success of this concept was a TX200 HE robot capable of working reliably under water for months on end. The work was done by a standard robot in order to save development time and to ensure uninterrupted spare parts supply.
The production of solar panels can also be carried out much more efficiently and on a larger scale, and thus more cost-effectively, using cleanroom robots: They cover all steps of module production or assembly and ensure safer handling, resulting in less material breakage, for example. In addition, as in many other areas, they guarantee less machine downtime and high-quality output in large quantities for a market where demand is growing strongly.
Responsible use of resources (SDG 12)
In the long run, however, robots not only reduce intensive labor, but also the resources used. In food and drug production, for example, Stäubli robots ensure that ingredients are processed with minimal losses and that the packaged portions or filling quantities can be precisely dosed.
Fully automatic cheese handling and maintenance with a Stäubli TX200L HE robot.
The quality of cheese ultimately depends on proper storage and aging. This is why the Leupolz Emmental cheese dairy in Germany opted for an innovative, fully automated storage and maintenance system in which round cheese loaves, each weighing approximately 80 kilos, are handled by a large Stäubli 6-axis machine. The correct maintenance and care of these huge cheeses is a laborious business. With an average maturation time of 4 months, the cheeses have to be washed, brushed and salted between 40 and 50 times, which is potentially costly in terms of labor and expenditure.
Robotic systems help relieve employees of monotenous or physically demanding tasks.
Easy and safe working conditions for performance and precision
Reliable and durable connecting solutions for safety and efficiency
Sustainable energy through safe and reliable connections
More and more companies are paying attention to a positive CO2 balance, especially in the production environment. To avoid the environmental impact associated with the production of new machines, refurbishment is a resource-saving alternative – especially if the product is more efficient after the refit.
The same applies to the robots themselves. In addition to energy consumption, their service life is the determining factor for sustainability. For its robots, Stäubli relies on drive technology developed in-house with a service life that is far above average.
Of course, the operating conditions play a decisive role in the durability of a robot. A six-axis robot in a clean room is subjected to much less environmental stress than one that feeds a machine tool and is exposed to permanent emulsion. Depending on the load, the machines undergo a general overhaul between 50,000 and 100,000 operating hours.
"The quality of our robots is so good that we overhaul old ones and send them into a second life freshly updated. The drives perform with the same dynamics and precision as on day one. "
Peter Pühringer | Managing Director Stäubli Robotics Germany
A real plus for sustainability comes from the flexibility of robots. A classic, highly automated production line with stationary conveyor technology in automotive manufacturing, for example, lives just as long as the vehicle model it is used to produce.
The situation is different in the smart factory: here, robots and AGVs take over all process steps in a highly flexible manner, including transport from one station to the next. This means that model changes can be implemented by simply reprogramming; the successor model can be manufactured on the same flexible and highly productive line as its predecessor. This is not only a considerable cost advantage, but also saves resources.
Robots for aseptic environments simplify and accelerate the sterile and automated production of both cell or gene therapies and vaccines, paving the way from laboratory research to series production.
For a long time, robotic systems have been helping to relieve employees of monotonous or physically demanding tasks. Examples of improved working conditions range from the food industry in handling heavy wheels of cheese to the manufacturing industry in welding and polishing operations. In recent years, collaborative robots are making their way into various industrial sectors, taking over monotonous or unhealthy work steps in direct interaction with workers – particularly in assembly where the cobots contribute to greater safety and relief.
When it comes to sustainability, energy efficiency and the responsible use of resources, robot automation can make further valuable contributions. Examples include the dismantling of nuclear power plants, where robots are used in areas that no human could enter; the manufacturing realization of lightweight construction concepts in the automotive and aerospace industries; and additive manufacturing that does not require the production of tools – robots are setting milestones for the preservation of our environment in many areas today.
The combination of automation and sustainability has another dimension. For example, when batteries or electric motors for e-mobility are manufactured in large series, new markets for automation solutions are created.
Stäubli Electrical Connectors
Our connectors for primary circuit lines guarantee reliable power supply to welding units. Small in size and high in performance, they feature both highest contact reliability and current-carrying capacity.
The quality of a plug connector is determined by the sum of the resistances Rtotal (Rcrimp1 + Rcrimp2 + Rcontact). The lower the overall resistance, the smaller are the power losses Pv in the plug connection. Small power losses are characteristic of an efficient, environment-friendly connector.
Comparison Stäubli/Ordinary connector suppliers: