A Tech-Con Automation Incorporated client is an automotive carpet manufacturer that needed to cut carpet into custom shapes fast, accurately and with reduced waste. The team combined four Motoman HP20 robots in a wall-mounted position fitted with Flow Ultra High Pressure hardware to meet the customer’s need.
Project Goals and Challenges
- Operator Interaction - The flexible nature of the raw and finished product makes it difficult to mechanically convey it into and out of the cell. Operators need to access the cell to place raw carpet and remove the finished carpet.
- Cutting speed - The cells need a very quick cycle time to meet cycle time requirements.
- Controlling waste - Cutting cannot damage the carpet. Many alternative cutting technologies would damage the product.
- Holding the product during cutting - Mechanical means of holding the product could damage the pile and affect carpet quality.
- Wall mounting robots - Mounting the robots overhead saves precious floor space and gives the operators maximum access for part loading and unloading. Overhead mounting allowed the team to program a “safe position”, which kept the robots out of the way of the operators. Easy operator access was key to minimize the idle time caused by operator loading and unloading.
- Four robots - The TAKT time was so short that the production needs could not be met with one robot. The team developed a method to use four robots simultaneously without damaging the carpet and without interfering with each other. This also allowed the robots to be slowed, and that produced better cutting results.
- Waterjet Cutting - The team chose to use high-pressure water as the cutting medium. This eliminates damage to the carpet and provides precise cutting without the need for tool sharpening.
- Part Fixturing - The team developed a suction tank that was integrated into the cutting fixture.
- The carpet was held down by vacuum. Water naturally drains into the tank, and carpet scraps can be collected by filtering the recirculated water.