Assembly in Action: Robots Support Meteor Machines
Meteor Maschinen AG (Hünenberg, Switzerland) manufactures winding machines for electrical coils. As a rule, wire with a diameter between 0.01 and 0.7 millimeter is processed on up to 16 spindles. The modular machines can operate alone or be combined with other processing equipment to create complex production cells.
In the Meteor Compact System (MCS) coil production cell, an automatic winding machine is equipped with a linear loading and unloading axis. In addition, parallel process stations are located on a rotary table in the cell. Modular, replaceable components are also used, such as soldering or welding systems, wrapping and labeling equipment, and testing stations. A Turboscara robot from Bosch Rexroth AG (Stuttgart, Germany) links the parts supply, winding machine and rotary table. The robot handles workpieces in the MCS cell. The gripper modules were developed by Meteor. Depending on the requirement, up to three individually controllable grippers are accommodated in a compact gripper head. In addition, the gripper head can be equipped with a swivel unit and three additional grippers.
Up until a few years ago, the winding cells were built by customer-oriented handling facilities. By using the Turboscara robots, no design or assembly is required. Moreover, programming and commissioning time is drastically reduced. An entire cell can be programmed and commissioned in 1 or 2 days. The large working radius of these robots allows the MCS coil production cells to be equipped with a variety of process stations. With four-axis movement, the robots can place the workpiece in various positions. A later change in processing order can be performed by replacing or adding individual components.
The work sequence for the Turboscara robot in an MCS coil production cell is always the same. If the workpiece is fed automatically via feeding systems, such as conveying bowls, the robot positions the coil bodies onto a loading rake in preparation for winding. The rake cycles to the winding machine and back on the CNC-controlled loading and unloading axis. The robot must transfer the wound coils from the rake to the workpiece stations on the rotary table. Here, the robot can perform additional handling operations, such as rotating, holding or positioning the parts. When the finished coils have passed 100 percent testing, the robot sorts out good and bad coils and loads them onto pallets.
The cycle Arial in an MCS cell depend primarily on the winding process variables, such as the wire thickness, number of turns and number of spindles. In the case of fast winding cycles, individual parallel processes can determine the cycle time. An example is the station where wound coils are wrapped with adhesive tape. Here, the adhesive’s reaction time must be followed. The maximum speeds of the robot (axis three can lift objects up to 1,600 millimeters per second and axis four can rotate up to 1,200 degrees per second) have not been needed. So the robots offer sufficient reserves for additional tasks.
Standard components allow for various applications. An example is the programmable loading and unloading axis with the loading rake. This axis approaches the spindles according to their number and positions, and it also permits additional positions along the path. This enables implementation of manual parts feeding, which is good for small lots where automatic parts feeding would not be economical. Further parts handling, from the winding machine to the rotary table, can take place by robot, either with or without changes. This increases the model variety attainable in an MCS cell with a varying degree of automation.
To fully use the variety of combinations offered by independently usable mechanical components, the control concept must be modular. Therefore, all major components in an MCS coil production cell have their own controls. This starts with a PC-based control for the winding machine. It offers specially developed functionality and a user interface adapted to the machine configuration. There is a superordinate master control for the cell. This master control assumes control tasks for the entire periphery. All controls for the independent process modules are connected via controller area network bus. This also includes the control for the robot.
For more information on robotics, call 847-645-3600 or visit www.boschrexroth-us.com.