Case Studies / Die Casting / Automotive Differential Castings

Motoman Robot Handling, Unloading and PalletizingFlexible robotic automation solution meets or exceeds all project objectives for material handling and inspection of automotive differential carrier castings. Motoman Robotics' solution achieves customer’s required 15-second cycle time. Robotic unloading of trim press, loading/ unloading of automated inspection and part marking station, and loading of wire baskets ensures that only good parts are stacked in the containers. Robot places non-conforming parts onto a reject conveyor. Robotic handling decreases direct labor costs and improves safety by eliminating lifting and repetitive motion injuries associated with manual handling of the heavy castings.

Project Challenges

  • Provide a flexible robotic system that can unload two sizes of large automotive castings (differential carriers) from a trim press, load/unload an inspection station, and stack the parts into wire baskets in nested patterns. The 22.2 kg (49-lb) castings are stacked 42 to a container in a 3H x 5W or 3H x 4W arrangement. The 30.8 kg (68-lb) castings are stacked 30 to a basket in a 3H x 5W x 2D arrangement. Containers are 1,016 mm L x 1,016 mm W x 2067.4 mm H (40" L x 40" W x 81" H).
  • Parts are oriented gasket side down, with axle bores facing the side of the press and the pinion bore offset towards the robot. Parts can be rotated as necessary to fit in the baskets.
  • Achieve cycle time of 15 seconds to unload parts from the press, load/unload the inspection station, and load parts into wire baskets located at two stations.
  • Reduce direct labor and improve safety by eliminating lifting and repetitive motion injuries associated with manual handling of heavy castings.

Motoman Robotics Solution

Motoman Robotics provided a custom HP165XP material handling solution, including:

  • Motoman HP165XP foundry-hardened robot with NX100 controller.
  • DeviceNet module.
  • Robot base riser.
  • Custom end-of-arm tool – three-jaw mechanical I.D. gripper.
  • (2) Basket locators.
  • Inspection and part marking station with adjustable change-out details for each part type.
  • Table with part-present sensors to hold two master parts.
  • Controls package, including top-mount controller expansion cabinet, Allen-Bradley SLC 5/04 PLC and Panelview 1000 HMI.
  • Safety PLC.
  • Cell guarding package that meets ANSI/RIA 15.06-1999 safety standard, including: 2.44-m (8') H woven-wire perimeter safety fence; and (2) operator access gates with positive-break safety switches and dual-channel safety hardware.

Fixtures/Tooling Details

Motoman Robotics provided a custom three-jaw mechanical gripper that uses part-specific details to handle individual parts using the inside diameter (I.D.). Gripper includes gripper open/closed sensors. Motoman Robotics also provided a custom-designed inspection and part marking station that uses a combination of contact and linear probes and lasers to check each part within a three-second cycle time. Depending on the part feature being inspected, accuracy of 0.15 mm, 0.2 mm or 0.23 mm (±0.006", ±0.008" or ±0.009") is required. Good parts are identified with a Customer supplied part marking system. The robot transfers any non-conforming parts to a Customer supplied reject conveyor. Manual changeover of inspection station details is required between part runs.

Ref: ACS-107

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