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Sherlock Ohms

Can a Robot Bend a Part?

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William K.
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Platinum
Can the robot bend the part? or throw the part?
William K.   4/22/2013 10:42:23 AM
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I have seen a robot throw a part quite a distance. The part in question was part of a clutch-pack assembly being removed from a leak-test operation in a transmission plant, and the throwing problem was created by a lack of adequate air pressure for the part gripper. The tooling designer had not included a positive grasp means on the fingers that gripped the part, and instead relied exclusively on a friction gripping to retain the part for the unloading sequence. The problem developed as a combination of a change in the unloading path and a reduction of gripper clamping air pressure, which was intended to reduce compressed air usage as a cost reduction. So at one point in the unload path the change in direction allowed the three pound part to slip out of the gripper's fingers and fly about ten feet through the air. It was very fortunate that nobody was in the area where the parts flew, since an injury would undoubtedly been inflicted.

The solution included an adjustment of the path and an increase in clamping air supply pressure.

Dave Palmer
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Platinum
Re: Diecasting
Dave Palmer   4/22/2013 1:22:26 PM
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@GlennA: The clamp force on most diecasting machines is measured in the thousands of tons, so I have a hard time believing that you could build up a few thousandths of an inch of dirt on the die blocks.  You were there, and I wasn't, but I'm still a little skeptical.  In-cavity buildup is one thing, but on the surfaces of the die blocks? I'd have to see it for myself to believe it.

I'd be more inclined to believe that the die was being held open by excessive parting line flash, due to inadequate venting.  The amount of flash could increase over time as the die heats up, which would fit with your theory.

As you say, thermal control is extremely important in diecasting.   Were they pre-heating the cavities? Did they have thermocouples to measure the cavity temperature in different places? Did they have water lines in place? These are things that are mandatory in order to make good die castings.

Anyway, I think we both agree that the problem had nothing to do with the robot, and that the solution to the problem ultimately lay in the toolroom.  Unless the tool was designed by a robot, robots were not to blame here.

GlennA
User Rank
Gold
Re: Diecasting
GlennA   4/22/2013 10:05:30 PM
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Dave Palmer;  I think the lock-up on this machine was 250 tons, and it was the biggest in the plant.  There were no thermocouples for temperature monitoring.  The initial die heating was done with a radiant heating element placed between the die halves.  After several hours, several cold shots were taken.  The first cold shot parts were only partial as the molten aluminum was still heating the die.  When the die was hot enough that the parts were full, the automatic cycle of the robot unloading the part was started.  The die was water-cooled.  The operator adjusted the water flow until it looked 'right'.  There was talk of implementing a vacuum system, a thermal oil heat control system, and a Nicolet shot monitoring system.  None happened while I was there.

The build-up was causing the parting line to thicken.  These dies were about 4 feet wide and 3 feet tall.  The mating surfaces at the parting line were probably about 8 square feet.

GlennA
User Rank
Gold
Re: Great logic
GlennA   4/22/2013 10:10:00 PM
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William K;  The trim press could also have been deforming the part.  The trim press was part of the automated process, so it was easier to take the part completely out of the automated robot and trim press cycle and use the band saw.

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