Case Studies / Material Removal / Steel Tubes for Heavy Equipment

Motoman Robots Plasma Cutting and HandlingRobot solution provides seven to eight times higher productivity than previous process, even with additional hole and feature cutting, chamfering and part identification operations. Previous process required 15-16 minutes per tube. Robot system processes a bundle of eight tubes in approximately 17-18 minutes. Robotic system also provides additional capability to use Robot 1 to chamfer ends of some tubes and Robot 2 to etch part identification onto each tube. System can run tubes in batches of same part model or kits of specified part models, based on operator input from an easy-to-use HMI.

Project Challenges

  • Provide a multi-function robotic plasma cutting and material handling solution that can accurately cut holes and features in rectangular steel tubes, chamfer one end of some tube sizes, and etch part identification numbers.
  • Parts are 3" x 6", 4" x 6" and 5" x 8" rectangular steel tubes in four lengths from 107-145" L. Part wall thickness is 3/16" or 1/4". Maximum part weight is 120 kg.
  • Achieve cycle time of 75 seconds (47 parts per hour) to 109 seconds (33 parts per hour), depending on tube model.
  • Provide flexible system that can run tubes in batches of same part model or kits of specified part models. Operator must be able to select part numbers to be run using a simple, error-proof method that requires minimal system changeover.

Yaskawa Motoman Solution

  • (2) Motoman extended-reach plasma cutting robots.
  • Motoman 350-kg payload material handling robot.
  • (2) Hypertherm HPR130 HyPerformance power supplies with torch packages. (One includes automatic gas console.)
  • (2) Motoman touch-sense packages.
  • Custom end-of-arm tool for material handling robot – vacuum gripper.
  • (2) Headstock/tailstock servo-controlled positioners.
  • Fixture packages for automatic (robot-loaded) station, and manually loaded/operated station.
  • Infeed conveyor with adjustable-length alignment brackets.
  • Set-down stand for raw/cut parts.
  • Two-level outfeed rack.
  • Computer operator station with MotoHMI at Station 1, and secondary operator station for Station 2.
  • Cell guarding package, including perimeter fence with safety-interlocked access gate; arc flash protection curtains; and light curtains at manual load station and outfeed station.

Fixtures/Tooling Details

Yaskawa Motoman provided a three-zone vacuum gripper. Sensors allow handling robot to confirm part length and search for a part on infeed rack before picking it up. Motoman also provided custom automatic fixtures for one positioner consisting of two pneumatically actuated spring-assisted parallel grippers. A similar manually controlled pneumatic fixture on second positioner is loaded/unloaded via overhead crane.

Ref: ACS-118

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