The road to automation

New robot in parts production

The employees in the parts production department have had a new colleague since November. The new support is called Yaskawa GP 25 and is an industrial robot. With this robot, another important step towards the automation of production processes has been taken.

The robot is used on the Mazak lathe. "We already worked there with the bar storage system in a partially automated way," explains Klaus Selbeck. For various reasons, the area was suitable for starting a fully automated process there. Now the system from the Deggendorf-based manufacturer Rile has the task of loading the lathe with raw parts and unloading and cleaning the finished parts. Depending on whether long shafts or flange parts are being machined, a two-finger or three-finger gripper arm is used.

 

"The robot is linked to the lathe, so it gets a signal when a part is finished being machined. It then removes it, washes it and blows it off to place it in the deposit without cutting it," says Selbeck. Immediately the process starts again, the robot picks up a blank from the storage and places it in the clamping device of the processing machine. The machine door closes automatically and machining starts again. In parallel, the operator can remove finished parts from the parts storage of the loading cell/robot cell? and insert new blanks. In the best case, the system can operate self-sufficiently for more than 30 hours with its parts storage. The exact/precise? work of the system. It always grips the same position to within 0.02 mm.

 

The comparatively simple handling of the loading cell was one reason why the robot was up and running within a very short time and already runs overnight or on weekends. This is how the production capacities are to be expanded. "Especially at times of strong incoming orders, we have often reached our capacity limits so far." Of course, automation is also a way to compete against cheaper competition from Asia, as series parts can be produced more cheaply. However, the machine is not meant to be a substitute for human labour - on the contrary, as Selbeck emphasises: "The employees can take on more valuable tasks and supervise the production of more demanding parts in the time they gain. The electronic helper takes care of changing and washing simple parts." On the one hand, this sets new impulses, and on the other, it is another step towards a successful future.