This rotary indexing machine manufactures side-view mirrors for cars. Photo courtesy Item Industrietechnik GmbH. 

A quick-change horizontal clamp allows for the manufacturing of four types of side-view mirrors. Photo courtesy Item Industrietechnik GmbH.

Contrary to popular belief, mass production and flexibility are not antithetical concepts. A case in point is a rotary indexing machine designed recently by Itus-Industrietechnik und Sondereinrichtungen GmbH of Solingen, Germany. Custom-built for a German automotive supplier, the machine processes interior parts for right- and left-hand side-view mirrors. The machine accommodates four different mirror models.

Structural aluminum framing components and hardware from Item Industrietechnik GmbH play a key role in the machine’s flexibility and efficiency. The framing was used to build a stable base for the machine, as well as an enclosure around the dial. The components were also used to make flexible fixtures for the parts.

To start the process, a worker uses a quick-change horizontal clamp to place a tubular workpiece on an aluminum-frame support. Once the machine automatically verifies the presence of the workpiece and the integrity of the tool, it performs a thread-rolling operation on the part.

Following thread rolling, the piece is automatically removed by a three-axis handling device with a pneumatic gripper. A touch screen allows the worker to program various operating parameters, as well as monitor each stage of the manufacturing process.

To increase production, the machine is designed so that no adjusting of the drilling units is needed after the workpiece carrier is changed. To avoid accidents, the side from which the workpieces are loaded is equipped with a light curtain. Any time someone’s hand or arm breaks that light, the process is immediately interrupted.

For more information on structural aluminum framing components, call 888-729-4500 or visit