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Case Studies

Tech-Con Automation Successfully Installs Thermoform FANUC Robot Press Handling Machine to Increase Productivity

Tech-Con Automation Incorporated

A global supplier of household appliances approached Tech-Con with a requirement to increase their productivity. The client required multiple stacks of incoming product with accurate location to unload and serve a finished part to an exit conveyor thus allowing the finished part to exit the cell and serve the following fixtures.

CHALLENGES
  • Destacking: The part shape and size wasn’t ideal for easy stacking. The stacks that were made manually weren’t very square or even.
  • Effective method to move part off the machine to next process: With manual labour, precautionary measures would have to be taken to safely remove object from machine manually, which is a time consuming, risky, tedious process.
  • Reducing manual labour: Manual labour, done in this type of dangerous environment can only be done to a certain level of accuracy and precision. Robotic transfer of product to and from racks and machine requires placement in a very uniform manner.
SOLUTIONS
  • Automate stacking process: The Tech-Con team decided to use a robot to manage the product being loaded and unloaded. Originally, the stacks weren’t very square and uniform, but using gravity, and dropping the product, which fell into corner tooling, the robot loaded and unloaded the object in a fast paced, accurate way.
  • Providing a safer working environment: Without taking away from time or quality of stacking the object and moving it through the process, the robotic transfer of parts to and from the racks, eliminated safety precautions that manual labour would have involved. Five light curtains were used, two on each of the load areas and one on the unload conveyor, which allowed safe and uninterrupted production.
  • Handling of flat plastic sheet: A sensor device ensured that the robot did not pick up 2 sheets from the stack, by lifting the sheets in a fashion that prevented the pick-up of multiple sheets if they were held together by vacuum. After picking up the formed part and exiting the loading/unloading area of the thermoform machine the part was flipped 180 degrees and placed on the finished part exit conveyor.
BENEFITS
  • Fully automated process: Eliminates manual lifting of heavy sheets into a hot, dangerous environment.
  • Using robots to replace manual labour: Eliminates human fatigue and man power, because this job would require 2 or 3 people. Using robots in such a dangerous environment is safer.
  • The conveyors automatically evacuate the finished products: Serving multiple stacks which can continuously keep running, saving time.
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