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Robotics Case Studies

Quad Robot Waterjet Cutting Cell Assists Automotive Client with Increasing Accuracy, Productivity and Quality.

Shape Process Automation (formerly Tech-Con Automation)

Our client, a leading global supplier of automotive components and systems, required an increase in production volumes in contour cutting of automotive interior components including periphery, holes and various geometries. Our team’s approach, incorporating FLOW International UHP equipment, was to design, manufacture, assemble, test and install our Quad Robot Waterjet cutting cell for this top tier automotive interiors supplier.

  • Waste Control: Alternative solutions for this specific application could have potentially caused unwanted waste and damage through pulling fibers and even burning of the product.
  • Operator Interaction: Based on the nature of this product, there was difficulty mechanically conveying the fixture in and out of the cell. Operators required access into the cell in order to remove the product from the 3D fixture.
  • Cutting Speed: As a result of operator interaction, the cell needed to reduce cycle time as much as possible where automation is concerned.
  • Holding Object In Place: Mechanical means of holding the product down could damage the pile and therefore affect product quality.
  • Inverting Robots: Inverting the robots not only eliminated floor space clutter but also eliminated the need for operators to weave their way around the robots to get to the fixture. By inverting the robots, our team was able to program a “safe position” for deactivation and kept them out of the operators’ way in a controlled reliable method that met all standards.
  • Running 4 Robots Simultaneously: Our team developed a method to run 4 robots simultaneously without interfering with each other or ruining the fixture. This resulted in a better quality cut that was achieved by slowing down the cutting speed of each robot. The reasoning behind this is that the previous cell cycle time was long and the length of time it took to cut around the perimeter of the object was too long for one robot.
  • Waterjet Cutting Tool: High pressure water was chosen as the cutting tool. This process eliminates damage to the object and cuts the exact profile without the need for tool sharpening.
  • Vacuum: The object was held down by negative pressure due to a suction tank that was integrated with the cutting fixture. Water naturally fell into the tank and excess carpet bits were retrieved the same way by filtering the recirculated water. This helped recover and collect the small amount of waste.
  • Increased Production Output Quantities: The high-speed cutting cell uses 4 inverted robots which reduces the cycle time to cut one part.
  • No Damage to Product: Holding and cutting the product resulted in no damage to the product. This also increases plant productivity.

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