Robots Help Explosives Industry Leader Stay on Top
Noted actor and film director Mel Brooks told viewers often in his 1981 film “History of the World Part I” that “it’s good to be the king.” What he failed to say, though, is that it’s hard to stay the king, or leader, of a big industry for a long time. Managers at Shenzhen King Explorer Science and Technology Co. Ltd. (SKEST) will definitely attest to this fact.
Founded in 1994, SKEST is the largest equipment and technology provider in China’s civil explosives industry. It is certified by the Chinese government as a “high-tech enterprise,” and has built more than 150 production lines for factories within China and more than 20 lines in facilities in Southeast Asia, North Africa, Russia and Mongolia.
The company also operates nearly 100 automated production lines that produce emulsion explosives, which are increasingly being used worldwide in place of dynamite for mining, military and basic blasting applications. Each production line has a picking area where a robot picks up and creates a stack of finished tubular explosives, then places the stack on a conveyor that feeds into a boxing area.
In early 2013, SKEST spent $1.l million to install two to four overhead-mounted Quattro s650H parallel robots on each line, depending on throughput.
According to Gang Ming, CEO of
SKEST, the robots were purchased to limit worker exposure to potentially dangerous tasks.
He says the company chose Omron Adept Technology Inc. as the supplier because of its extensive industrial automation experience in high-speed packaging, and the Quattro s650H for its durability and speed (picking and stacking more than 150 explosives per minute).
Unlike most parallel robots, which feature three linked arms, the s650H features four. This design, combined with a large working envelope (1,300 millimeters) and advanced control algorithms, ensures fast and smooth robot motion.
The robot’s accuracy stems from ultra-compact SmartServo controls that feature integrated temperature sensors to prevent servomotor damage due to heat. High-resolution encoders further enhance robot precision, as well as consistent cycle times.
The s650H can carry a 6-kilogram payload and comes with a diagnostic display that enables easy calibration and fast troubleshooting. It is also equipped with multiple sensors and a vision-guidance system.
These latter technologies enable SKEST to automatically trace which explosive was placed in which box and when.
Shortly before purchasing the Quattro robots, SKEST acquired Trussville, AL-based Zukovich, Morhard & Wade (ZMW) LLC. ZMW is an emulsion explosives supplier that has worked in more than 580 explosives and detonator plants in 95 countries worldwide.
SKEST also has three other subsidiaries. One manufactures bulk explosive equipment such as trucks, mobile manufacturing units and underground charging units. The other two manufacture emulsifiers and composite fuel for emulsion explosives sold in north and south China.
Omron Adept complements its parallel robots with SCARA and six-axis models designed for assembly, handling, packaging and testing applications. The supplier also offers motion controllers, application development software and vision-guidance technology.
For more information on parallel robots, call 800-292-3378 or visit www.adept.com.