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Fabrik select Stäubli for six axis plastics automation

Stäubli Robotics

Fabrik Molded Plastics of McHenry, Illinois, USA, specialise in injection moulding, producing around 155 million components a year for the automotive, aerospace, domestic appliance, electrical, electronic and medical markets. They operate an impressive array of 63 Engel moulding machines ranging from 40 to 600 tons capacity.

Fabrik have employed for some time simple Cartesian automation systems on many of their IMMs. However, a demanding insert loading task for an electrical connector component being produced on an Engel 85 vertical IMM required a range of movement outside the capability of the standard pick and place systems. Fabrik considered it was time to move into six-axis automation.

Three suppliers of six axis robots were contacted and their products evaluated. Stäubli was selected as the chosen partner to develop the automation for this new system, Fabrik being impressed with the accuracy and speed of their robots as well as the competitive pricing.

The insert requirement was to load eight terminal pins (two pins from each of four feeder bowls) into the mould. Four inserts into each cavity on a two-cavity mould. The placement tolerance was 0.0008” +/- 0.0002”. Cycle time for the moulding was 36 seconds during which the robot needed to desprue the moulded components and place each component in a non-random bin for inspection by the operator; then pick up the eight inserts ready for the next cycle.

Stäubli analysed the requirements of automating this currently manual operation and recommended two of their RXplastics90 robots and their CS8 controller. Fabrik accepted this solution.

Fabrik Engineers integrated the cell internally; being particularly impressed with the ease of programming the robot using the PC based CS8 controller. Stäubli’s Plastics package comes complete with SPI hardware allowing direct connection to the IMM reducing considerably the time needed for integration.

The first installation took place in Spring 2004 and has performed well, achieving all of the targets on speed and quality Fabrik had set.

Fabrik’s appreciation of the success of the Stäubli system has been confirmed with follow up orders being placed for 3 more six axis robots.

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