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Small Part Bending Automation

We have set out to build a robotic bending cell!  We did an analysis on all of our bent parts and a large percentage of them are small enough to be bent by a robot on a 4ft press brake.  Trying to be distruptive in manufacturing, we are stripping the brake of all controls and writing all of the logic into the robot controller.  As far as we know, no one has attempted to use a “dumb” brake in combination with a “smart” robot.  We found a “no name” press brake and we are using Motomans newest and best material handling robot.  We are at the very beginning of this project but wanted to share some progress of the cell coming alive.

One may ask the question; what does Lean Machine know about building equipment?  The answer is nothing!  We do know our own equipment well and it takes a lot of in-house technical knowledge to keep it performing at it’s peak. We also know how to integrate technology into our customer’s part manufacturing process and this project is an extension of that knowledge.  As with all projects at Lean Machine this is to give our customers a better price on parts with a higher level of quality!

This is the first part we want to bend.  It’s small so the operator has to over-ride the safety light curtain  on each hit which means the activation pedal gets hit twice per bend (4 times per part) which is brutal on an operator when a batch of 500 is the norm.   

This is the first part we want to bend.  It’s small so the operator has to over-ride the safety light curtain  on each hit which means the activation pedal gets hit twice per bend (4 times per part) which is brutal on an operator when a batch of 500 is the norm.

 

Here is an overall view of the robot and brake.  Lots of wires still hanging around during testing and start up. 

Here is an overall view of the robot and brake.  Lots of wires still hanging around during testing and start up. 

Mill and Turn all in one

Our awesome new Okuma lathe isn't just a lathe! This machine can turn round parts but can also mill perpendicular and parallel to the part.  Here is a video of us making weld flanges for piping assemblies.  The entire part is done in one process instead of turning the part in a lathe and then sending to a mill to put the bolt pattern in. 

The CAD drawing for the part shows the blind, tapped holes. 

The CAD drawing for the part shows the blind, tapped holes. 

 

 

Machining Raw Material Transfer

Relating to our previous post about Lathe cost reduction, here is a view into the world of how we transfer our raw material into finished product. 

 

The first step when a work order is posted to the shop floor is to log into our Inventory system and find the correct raw material to use.  This computer screen is one terminal that runs a mobile app that we've created.  The App can be viewed on any device and is 100% cloud based. 

The first step when a work order is posted to the shop floor is to log into our Inventory system and find the correct raw material to use.  This computer screen is one terminal that runs a mobile app that we've created.  The App can be viewed on any device and is 100% cloud based. 

The Inventory tag matches up to the record found in the App. 

The Inventory tag matches up to the record found in the App. 

The material is loaded into one of our saws.  Here is the back-end of our Hydmech S23-A band saw.   The "-A" in the saw model number denotes it's fully automatic feeding capability. 

The material is loaded into one of our saws.  Here is the back-end of our Hydmech S23-A band saw.   The "-A" in the saw model number denotes it's fully automatic feeding capability. 

A very underrated piece of our equipment is our S-23A band saw. This machine can automatically cut to length round bar, flat bar, tube, and pipe by entering in the length and quantity required. This video is cutting 4" sch40 aluminum pipe to length.
Presto, finished parts come out the other end!  Not really.  Once the raw material processing is complete, many different part routings can take place such as these parts that have been through the saw and lathe. 

Presto, finished parts come out the other end!  Not really.  Once the raw material processing is complete, many different part routings can take place such as these parts that have been through the saw and lathe. 

New Deburing Machine

Our new de-buring machine has arrived!  This machine takes flat parts that are cut on other machines and breaks the sharp edge.  It can also get rid of slag or burrs that are produced during the cutting process.

The machine can also refinish the surface of the material to give it a brushed finish. 

 

Here is an overall view of the machine from HK Laser & Systems.  Even though Lean Machine's official color is red, we are starting to get a lot of blue in the shop! 

Here is an overall view of the machine from HK Laser & Systems.  Even though Lean Machine's official color is red, we are starting to get a lot of blue in the shop! 

Here inside the machine you can see that large brushes spin and the entire assembly rotates depending on the setting you choose for grain direction, etc. 

Here inside the machine you can see that large brushes spin and the entire assembly rotates depending on the setting you choose for grain direction, etc. 

Here is an aluminum laser cut part about to be fed into the machine.  Laser cutting aluminum usually leaves a burr all of the way around the cut edges.  A part such as this could take someone approximately 2 minutes to debur properly. The small holes you see in the conveyor are actually vacuum ports which help to hold the part in place while the brushes do their work. 

Here is an aluminum laser cut part about to be fed into the machine.  Laser cutting aluminum usually leaves a burr all of the way around the cut edges.  A part such as this could take someone approximately 2 minutes to debur properly. The small holes you see in the conveyor are actually vacuum ports which help to hold the part in place while the brushes do their work. 

Here is a view of the brushes about to do their work on the part!   The shape of the "fingers" on the brushes makes sure that the inside of every hole and cutout are well looked after.

Here is a view of the brushes about to do their work on the part!   The shape of the "fingers" on the brushes makes sure that the inside of every hole and cutout are well looked after.

The finished part exiting the machine is completely free of burrs and sharp edges.  You'll also notice the large surface of the part has received a slight brushed finish which helps eliminate small scratches on the surface of the part. 

The finished part exiting the machine is completely free of burrs and sharp edges.  You'll also notice the large surface of the part has received a slight brushed finish which helps eliminate small scratches on the surface of the part.