K 2013 WRAP UP: ROBOTS & AUTOMATION
Research & Development
Plastics: Auxiliary Equipment
Plastics: Technology Advances
Wealth of new robotic technologies
French robot maker Sepro Robotique offered a product line at K 2013 that was almost entirely new since K 2010.
The Sepro booth featured two six-axis articulating-arm robots operating together with three five-axis Cartesian robots – the five-axis 5X line was based on Sepro three-axis beam robots and a two-axis Stäubli servo wrist; the 6X Visual line of robots combined a Stäubli six-axis articulating robot with an easy-to-use Sepro Visual 3 controller.
Sepro’s new 5DA line of dual-arm robots have been specifically designed for applications involving three-plate molds. The main arm pulls the molded part, while a secondary arm picks the sprue. The 5DA line includes units sized for machines from 30 to 500T. They incorporate a servo-driven 3-axis arm (with 0 – 90° pneumatic wrist) that allows for simple pick-and-place of molded parts, as well as a secondary 2-axis servo arm for sprue unloading.
Also, a Sepro Multi-Inject 20 robot, shown for the first time at K, operated on a multi-material, in-mold labeling application with a Sumitomo press with 210 metric tons of clamping force, molding ice scrapers with a soft-touch grip.
Finally, an s5-15 axial robot ran insert molding on a 60-tonne Arburg press; the robot was set up so that the horizontal beam ran parallel to the injection unit, and produced a toy car with wheels and metal axles.
Sepro America LLC (Pittsburgh, Pa.);
Dier International Plastics; (Unionville, Ont.); 416-219-0509
Industries Laferriere (Mascouche, Que.); 450-477-8880
Long-lasting, energy efficient robot, plus new control system
The new W833 pro robot is designed for injection molding machines with medium clamping force, up to 650 tonnes. Consistent application of lightweight construction technology for the axes in combination with the drive concept Wittmann developed especially for linear robots makes the W833 very dynamic, Wittmann said, while maintaining extraordinarily low energy consumption at the same time. The resulting minimal use of moving lines for energy transmission and interconnection further extends the service life of the equipment.
Also, holding brakes with an automatic test function are built into all of the main axes as standard equipment, thereby allowing electrical power consumption to drop almost to zero and further increasing safety while the robot is at rest.
In addition, a new robot control system, the R8.3, makes it easy to set up a robot without the need for formal programming. The current evolution of the R8.3 places particular emphasis on user-friendly operation along with easy communication and interaction with the injection molding unit. It was also designed to be as straightforward as possible for new users to learn to operate. For that reason, the text editor which has proven effective for many years now was retained, but is now assisted by a powerful, graphics-based programming aid.
The new QuickNew assistant makes it possible to generate a complete programming sequence in just seven steps, Wittmann said. Supported by images and animation, the QuickNew assistant guides the user through the process of programming the system. The creation of a program begins with the selection of the type of ejection (vacuum or gripper), followed by the type of deposition. After defining whether quality parts should be stored separately, for example, or gates have to be ejected, the motion sequence in the mold area is specified – and then the basic program is generated. The teaching of the actual positions is then carried out conveniently using the QuickEdit function already familiar from the previous versions.
Wittmann Canada (Richmond Hill, Ont.);
New automation simulation tool visualizes it
KraussMaffei Automation showcased a new tool for simulating production lines, which can be used to visualize the differences between particular system solutions at the early planning stages.
According to KraussMaffei, the tool allows users to visualize not only complete production processes with injection molding machine and automation but also individual processes, such as part demolding, realistically on a computer. The simulation can help decide which solution to opt for when trying to choose between different production processes. It also offers numerous advantages when commissioning a production line, as it can be used in the preliminary stages to check the existing processes between machine and automation and simulate expansion options.
The new simulation tool is another addition to the WizardX, VisuX and other features of the MC6 machine control system. The WizardX and VisuX programming and operating wizards integrated into the MC6 control system make operating automated production cells significantly easier, the company said. With the WizardX graphical programming wizard, the linear robots used in the injection molding area can be programmed quickly and without error. The programming wizard enables error-free program code to be generated even by operators with no knowledge of programming. The advantage of automatic programming is that it saves the laborious and time-consuming task of troubleshooting program code. In Expert mode, the automatically generated program code can be modified and adapted by users provided they have a sufficient knowledge of programming.
VisuX, meanwhile, offers a user interface that conveniently provides the operator with all the necessary information about the industrial robot, such as program selection, counter, times or current axis position. In VisuX, all information is grouped and clearly presented over a small number of pages. The operator is therefore able to diagnose the current manufacturing process at any time and make any necessary adjustments.
KraussMaffei Corporation (Florence, Ky.);
Dier International Plastics Inc. (Markham, Ont.); 416-219-0509
Versatile shelf-mounted robots
For the special requirements of the plastics industry, KUKA Robotics market-launched the KR Quantec line of shelf-mounted robots at K 2013.
This series comprises eleven models in two product lines – KR Quantec K prime and KR Quantec K ultra. Thanks to the optimized payload and reach intervals, KUKA said, the customer is always able to select a robot that is ideally suited to the specific application. The dead weight has been reduced and axis 2 is located further forward, allowing the KUKA shelf-mounted robots to cover the working space ideally, achieving high dynamic properties and allowing short cycle times.
With a maintenance interval of 20,000 hours, the new robots require very little maintenance and offer superior reliability.
KUKA Robotics Canada Ltd. (Malton, Ont.);
Very fast, with low-cost
A new version of Yushin Precision Equipment’s HSA series servo traverse take-out robot, with a cycle time as fast as 0.23 seconds, was said to be the fastest robot on display at K 2013.
The HGSA-150 robot was demonstrated removing approximately 1-gram parts from a 16-cavity tool.
When the robot debuted at K 2010, it was cycling at 0.32 seconds. Further refinements to the control software, however, have enabled to
the robot to work even faster, Yushin said. A velocity control algorithm minimizes vibration under fast cycling, allowing precise take-out.
Designed to be almost as fast but more affordable, the HST-150 robot on show at K 2013 was capable of a take-out cycle of 0.38 seconds for the same application, with the robot costing 25-30 per cent less.
Yushin America Inc. (Cranston, R.I.);
En-Plas Inc. (Toronto); 416-286-3030