Assembly Magazine

How To Utilize Advancements in Automated Screwdriving

March 5, 2014

The increase in miniaturization in the electronic as well as the non-electronic industries has resulted in a need for assembly of miniaturized devices with tight constraints on the installation conditions. The assembly process of screwdriving is often challenged due to these constraints. Replacing manual screwdriving with an automated process reduces costs and improves the quality of these complex products. 

With its extensive functionality and compact design, the Automation Appliance™ mini H-gantry EXCM provides an optimal solution for automated screwdriving. The module is a compact planar surface gantry that provides precise and fast positioning.  The EXCM module is designed for handling applications in confined spaces.  The EXCM mini gantry uses a single belt to drive both X and Y-axis, which allows both motors to be stationary.  The recirculating toothed belt moves the slide within a two-dimensional area (X and Y- plane).  The fixed motors are connected to the parallel-kinematic mechanism, resulting in low moving masses.

A series of EXCM modules can be placed together to provide a complete assembly or automation solution for an automated assembly line.  The modular design reduces engineering time and allows fast and easy integration and minimizes assembly time.

Screwdriving process

While the feeding of components, presenting components to the power screwdriver, and feeding and inserting a screw/bolt are critical steps in the process, the screwdriver is the heart of the process. The screwdriver must be positioned over the screw/bolt hole, start the screwdriving operation by rotating and advancing the screwdriver, and stop the screwdriving operation once a certain screw-in depth or torque has been achieved.

Fast positioning – high functionality

Using the ready-to-install Automation Appliance™ mini H-gantry allows fast positioning at speeds of up to 500 mm/s as well as repetition accuracies of ±0.05 mm. These capabilities make the compact mini H-gantry ideal for applications in electronics production and small parts assembly. Applications include the feeding and screwing in of small components, setting adhesive points, electronics testing such as contact points or resistance, the flexible positioning of workpieces and components in assembly operations, palletization and depalletization, desktop manufacturing and assembly.

This substantially reduces moving weight, inertia forces and requirement for cable management, while delivering high level of functionality process reliability in a very small installation space. 

The EXCM modules can be easily interconnected with upper level supervisory controllers including PLCs, PCs and tablets.

  • Available stroke X axis 100 – 700 mm / Y axis 110 – 360 mm
  • No engineering design cost
  • Compact design
  • Flexible mounting interface for Z-axis, or end of arm tooling
  • Working loads up to 2 kg
  • Max acceleration 10 m/sec2
  • Max speed 0.5 m/s
  • Repetition accuracy +/- 0.05 mm
  • Minimal commissioning and easy integration

The Automation Appliance™ gantry requires very little commissioning and can be integrated quickly into machines. With the pre-assembled kinematic and drive package, users can focus on their core competences rather than the details of automation technology. The flexible interface concept provides users with a choice of Ethernet (TCP/IP), CANopen and I/Os for up to 31 positions. Supplied fully assembled and tested, these ready-to-install systems can be delivered directly to the machines and plants.

Optimal flexibility

 EXCM modules can be easily configured to handle different tasks, products and operations making them the ideal solution for flexible automation in not only screwdriving operations, but also material handling, testing, and fluid dispensing.  With the change of the end of the arm tooling, the gantry modules can be re-used in other manufacturing cells and can evolve with the process and demand.  The modular design of the EXCM gantries, reduces fixed manufacturing cost and time to market by allowing manufacturers to quickly adapt to new production requirements.