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Robotics Case Studies

Robotic Press Break-Automated Metal Bending

Midwest Engineered Systems Inc.

Midwest Engineering Systems Inc. (MWES) provided a Robotic Brake Press Tending System to automate the metal part bending process of a Bystronics Brake Press for a metal fabricator.  The goal is to completely automate the brake press to bend a variety of different parts.

The Challenge:

  • Must be capable of handling as many different parts as possible.
  • Some parts need to be bent in more than one location.
  • Ability to automatically change tooling.
  • Part weights were upwards of 500+ lbs.
  • Our customer provides product to the automotive and military industries and must maintain high quality standards on shipped finished goods as well as throughout the manufacturing process.
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During the proposal stage, MWES performed a thorough evaluation of the current situation to provide a solution option.  In order to achieve all of the project’s goals, multiple solution options were analyzed before a final path was chosen.

The Solution:

After a review of existing specifications, process data, programs, and interviews with the engineering team, production managers and machine operations, MWES was able to execute a successful solution to our customer.  The comprehensive solution included:

  • ABB Robot System
  • Three Robot EOAT’s with Tool Change
    • Capable of handling many parts
    • Automatic tool changer/swivel unit
    • Vacuum/Magnetic Gripers to handle parts
  • BendWare Robot programming software
  • Part squaring table to justify the sheet metal blanks to be formed
  • Part re-grip station
    • Used to re-grip parts between bending cycles
    • Vacuum or magnetic grippers
    • Part present sensors
  • In feed and out feed station including guides and sensors
  • Implemented robot safety equipment, which meets ANSI/RIA standards for robot cell safety.
  • Electrical Enclosure with electrical panels and brake press control interface
    • Allows communication with brake press system
    • Discreet electrical interface connected to robot via Ethernet
  • Electrical & Mechanical Installation and on-site operator training at customer facility.  
  • On-site operator training at customer facility

Impact To the Customer:
The final solution added new features and capabilities to the press brake.  Some key enhancements are:

  • Increased productivity.  Machine can run 24/7
  • Improved worker safety by taking operators out of extremely heavy lifting situations
  • Improved quality variance of finished parts
  • Easy to operate user interface

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