The client required their product (part) to be rapidly moved and loaded into several different machine tool machines, due to the nature of the machining processes being performed on the parts, the work areas were individual machines. So the part had to be loaded and unloaded several times into different machines and the shop floor space was limited at this facility. For this type of machine loading and unloading, typically a robot would seem an obvious solution, but in this case a single robot could not work, it could not reach all of the numerous machines, a robotic solution would require two robots and that would take up too much shop floor space and also be cost prohibitive.
Control Systems International (CSI) was chosen because we provided a cost effective turnkey solution that involved the refurbishment of an overhead gantry system. This provided for high speed overhead loading and unloading that utilized a small top mounted moon roof style door on the machine tools. The gantry could quickly drop down for loading and unloading and then quickly travel horizontally to the next machine. This solution solved the shop floor space challenge and was better economically overall versus multiple robots.
CSI refurbished the existing gantry with the latest model Rockwell drives and PLC controls. CSI also developed a complete gripper solution that utilized a Schunk gripper that was suited to this application and type of environment.
Due to this being a retrofit and repurposing of an existing gantry, this work was done at the client’s facility. Daily updates on project progress were published through online project tracking software that was available to all project stakeholders. This provided up to date transparency on project status.
The client is a long time manufacturer of high precision steel automotive power train parts, they have been in business more than 20 years..
CSI is looking to solve more machine loading and unloading process problem through the use of gantries versus robots, during 3D modeling it was discovered that a gantry often allows for shop floor space savings and alternate machine orientations versus what robots require.
Robots are somewhat limited on reach versus how overhead gantry arrangements can be setup.
In some situations overhead gantries are the solution to go with.