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robot

Small Part Bending Part IV

Small Part Bending Part IV

In the final post of our Robotic Brake series we will take a quick look at the part chute and error checking plus a video of the overall cell functioning at speed.

We don’t want to have to open the robot cell door to remove parts and we’d like to limit human interaction with the robot. We came up with an idea for a dual chute system and sensors. The robot is programmed to put different part numbers into different chutes plus it checks to make sure a part is present before grabbing the next one in the tray just in case it dropped one or a part got stuck in a bending tool.

Two sensors mounted using 3D printed brackets at the entrance to each chute. The sensors are a double check that the robot successfully grabbed a part, bent it, and got it out of the tooling.

Two sensors mounted using 3D printed brackets at the entrance to each chute. The sensors are a double check that the robot successfully grabbed a part, bent it, and got it out of the tooling.

A sheet metal chute loads out into two different part bins.

A sheet metal chute loads out into two different part bins.

Small Part Bending Part II

Small Part Bending Part II

We made a post in December about our new advancements in small part bending. The idea was to offload high volume small bent parts so humans don’t have to stand in front of a machine for hours doing repetitive work. A lot of the small parts we bend require the operator to have their fingers close to the brake press tooling which over long runs of parts can be dangerous. We’ve made some huge leaps forward now that our robot/brake cell is in full production.

The robotic bending project is complicated enough that we will break the updates into several posts. This post will focus on part loading.

One of the first changes we made was blank holding. The flat parts are now put into a tray and loaded in a rack ready to be inserted into the robot cell safely from the outside. The trays allow the robot to know exactly where each part is and grab it. A macro written in the robot allows it to sequence across and then down through the different parts in the tray. The trays are precise enough that a “bad blank” cannot be loaded therefore checking the parts as the operators load them.

An empty tray ready to accept the flat blanks. These trays were put together in house using laser cut panels and 3D printed accessories.

An empty tray ready to accept the flat blanks. These trays were put together in house using laser cut panels and 3D printed accessories.

A rack to hold all of the trays. The top section contains different trays and the bottom stores completed parts in Kanban quantities for different customers.

A rack to hold all of the trays. The top section contains different trays and the bottom stores completed parts in Kanban quantities for different customers.

A tray loaded into the cell waiting for processing. The 3 sensors on the left allow the robot to detect which tray has been loading and automatically select which tooling to use.

A tray loaded into the cell waiting for processing. The 3 sensors on the left allow the robot to detect which tray has been loading and automatically select which tooling to use.