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Robotics Case Studies

Injection Mold Machine Tending/Material Handling

by Paul Carrier
KC Robotics, Inc.

A company that makes molded plastic seats asked KC Robotics to design, build, and integrate two (2) robotic IMM tending systems to transfer plastic molded seats from presses to cooling racks, from the cooling racks to a Veriply machine, and  then from a Veriply machine to an outfeed conveyor.

Project Challenges

  • Provide a robot system with the required reach and payload capacity to work in the customer’s existing work area layout.
  • Provide a modular four (4) position cooling rack with active cold air blowing over each part. The air will be cooled with a water chilled chamber using customer provided in-house water chilled to 50 degrees F.
  • Equip the cooling rack with changeable location features to accurately position the part for cooling and interface.
  • Provide a custom mechanical robotic gripper that will grasp and locate the part securely when extracting it from the press and transferring between the other stations.
  • Provide a manual tool changer to connect the gripper to the robot wrist.
  • Provide a custom controls package with large touch screen HMI and control cabinet. Most robot controls must be accessible through the HMI.
  • Provide a technician at the customer’s facility for three (3) weeks for startup and training on the system. The first week is for system installation and programming; the second and third week are for training and production launch assistance.

Solution

  • Two systems were ordered. Each system used a KUKA KR 90 R3100 EXTRA robot with a payload capacity of 90 kg, and maximum horizontal reach radius of 3,100 mm.
  • The Cooling Rack, custom mechanical gripper, custom controls package, and safety system were designed, built and programmed by KC Robotics. Other purchased components and KC Robotics services listed above were integrated into systems that transferred parts as specified.
  • System Safety Package. Meets ANSI/RIA R15.06-2012 standard. 

Results

  • The system designed by KC Robotics fit into a limited area in the customer’s facility.
  • The custom controls package with large touch screen HMI created a simplified user interface for both the robot and the IMM.
  • By meeting all the project’s challenges, KC Robotics provided efficiencies in time and labor for the customer.
  • Product quality improved.
  • Employee job satisfaction improved as a result of robotic training and improved safety.

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