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8/1/2001 | 5 MINUTE READ

Greater Pickings in Robots for Injection Molders

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The newest crop of robot automation for injection molding machines, displayed recently at the Platex show in Osaka, Japan, and the Plast-Ex Show in Mississauga, Ont., continue the trend toward six-axis jointed-arm models and improved servo-driven, beam-mounted units seen at last year's NPE show in Chicago. The latest introductions also include new controls for servo-driven robots, new units designed to work in palletizing cells, and a range of new sprue pickers in servo and pneumatic models.


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New six-axis units

Heavy payload applications are the target for the new six-axis R-2001i/165F robot and R-J3i Model B controller from Fanuc Robotics North America, Rochester Hills, Mich. The compact servo-driven unit is designed to be 10% lighter than its predecessor, the S-430i, and also occupies 25% less volume and needs 5% less ceiling height. The servo-motor design contributes to an 18% reduction in robot width, while load capacity for the wrist axes is increased by up to 27% to a maximum of 363 lb. Speed ranges from 105°/sec up to 210°/sec, depending on axis, and accuracy is ±0.012 in., Fanuc says. Maximum reach is 104.3 in.

The R-J3i Model B controller is based on Fanuc's R-J3 control but has increased speed, memory, and I/O capacity, as well as an improved communication processor. It will run programs written for the R-J3 with little or no modification.

On-board PC control is featured on a new six-axis unit for assembly, small-parts handling, or lab automation. The new UPJ model from Motoman Inc., Carrollton, Ohio, has a 6.6-lb payload capacity, and reach from 7.4 to 20.9 in. Its base width of only 7.9 in. allows the unit to fit in confined spaces. Position repeatability is said to be 0.001 in. The unit is controlled with a compact, PC-based JRC controller that features two programming options: one for simple operations and a more expensive enhanced version with a color touchscreen and direct programming of robot positions. Programming can be performed with the simple teach pendant or off-line on the PC.


Servos on the scene

Side-entry robots in servo- or pneumatic-driven models designed for injection presses from 128 to 268 tons are new from Chen Hsong Machinery Co. Ltd. of Hong Kong, with new offices in Keswick, Ont. Its new Swift series comes in two servo versions. The SR-1200 and SR-1600 (for thin-wall molding) reportedly offer take-out speeds of 0.6 and 0.7 sec, respectively, with positioning accuracy of 0.3 mm. The pneumatic CR-1200 model has a 1-sec take-out time and 3-sec overall cycle time. The robots have an adjustable center height and linear guide rails with sealed ball bearings on the linear axes.

A new large servo-driven, three-axis beam robot from Star Automation Inc., Menomonee Falls, Wis., is sized for presses from 1600 to 2500 tons. It can handle payloads up to 132 lb and has positioning accuracy of ±0.2 mm. It also has 2500-mm vertical stroke, 550- to 2150-mm stripping stroke, and 4000-mm traverse. This model MHY-2000FMIII-3 has a take-out time of 3.7 sec and overall cycle of up to 24 sec. The unit also features Star's new STEC-460 servo controller, which can handle up to eight servo axes and store up to 50 mold set-ups. It also features a new built-in production monitor with daily, weekly, and monthly production tracking.

Place parts either beside a machine or at the clamp end with a new compact, top-entry model from Husky Injection Molding Systems Ltd., Bolton, Ont. Its new model TE-45 for large presses has servo drives on the main axes and can achieve a mold in/out time of 1.6 sec carrying a full 99-lb payload. It is also repeatable to ±0.5 mm, Husky says.

In addition, robot control is now built into the operator interface of Husky's new Polaris PC-based injection-machine control. The touchscreen controls provide for “intuitive” programming, Husky says.

A brand-new line of three-axis servo robots for presses from 50 to 6000 tons comes from AEC/Automation Engineering, Windsor, Conn. The AE series features fully programmable CNC control of each axis via the teach pendant. The six units in the line are the fastest ever from AEC, and are also said to have higher payload capacity for their size. Standard control features include full teach programmability, easy-to-apply palletization programs, 40-program storage capacity, and PC interface for off-line programming and extra program storage. Quick-disconnect tooling is also standard.

Star Automation introduced new small single- and dual-arm models for unloading presses from 15 to 40 tons. Model TS-350FMIV-5 is a two-arm unit with three servo axes and 4.4-lb payload capacity, including the chuck weight. Positioning accuracy is ±0.1 mm. Model T-350FMIV-3 is a single-arm version.

New from Yushin (Yushin America is in Cranston, R.I.) are two economical Airliner AT models with servo-driven traverse axis and pneumatic vertical and stripping axes. The AT-120 is a small model with a single-stage arm; it is aimed at machines of 50 to 250 tons. For slightly larger machines (200 to 500 tons), Yushin's Airliner ATII-300 has a compound vertical arm.

Harmo Co. Ltd. of Japan (represented here by Conair, Pittsburgh) expanded its HEC series of pneumatic pick-and-place robots with two new models for injection machines of 40 to 100 tons. The new HEC-80S and 80G single- and two-arm models feature low-maintenance, oil-less and rodless traverse cylinders, lightweight and durable aluminum components, wrist-flip axis, and programmable PC controller. Minimum take-out time is 1.5 sec, and minimum overall cycle time is 6.0 sec.


Pallet packers

Approximately 8-12 picks per minute can be achieved with Motoman's new pre-engineered robotic system for low- to medium-volume case palletizing. Its Pallet WorldLite system is suited to a maximum pallet size of 40 x 48 in. and case sizes from 10 to 18 in. square. The system utilizes a Motoman UP20 robot with a 44.1-lb payload, 65.3-in. reach, and positioning accuracy of 0.002 in. Other system components are menu-driven palletizing software, infeed roller conveyor, robot riser, common base, and on-floor pallet locator.

Star Automation introduced a parallel traverse unloader that is designed to work with a pallet-changing stock system. The new T-600FMHIII series comes in three models and can be used with injection machines from 30 to 100 tons. Take-out times range from 0.7 to 1.1 sec, depending on model, and overall cycle times are 3.6 to 4.4 sec. Compact design of the traverse units reportedly can trim floorspace requirements up to 30%.


The pick of the pickers

A two-arm sprue picker for three-plate molds on 30-180 ton machines is new from Yushin. The Twinhop-M model features 90° wrist actuation. Flexible four-point vacuum tooling is standard.

Star Automation introduced its SP-FIII series of swing-type sprue pickers for injection presses from 30 to 250 tons. Three air-driven models have maximum chuck weight of 4.4 lb and a chuck twist designed for easy changeover of extractor tooling. Other features include storage and retrieval of up to 15 different mold set-ups and a step-motion pendant for programming.


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