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Palletization and storage of parts to be sintered

Palletization and storage of parts to be sintered

PROBLEM:
automatic loading of very fragile “green parts” into the sintering furnace.

 

SOLUTION:
green parts are made of pressed metallic powder and come out from two hydraulic presses, each one served by its own conveyor belt. At the end of each conveyor belt is located its own palletizing robotic cell: a scara robot pick the parts from the moving conveyor belt, guided by an evolute vision system, and dispose them onto ceramic pallet. Ceramic pallets have been proved suitable for heat treatments in furnace and are supplied by a Cartesian robot. Full pallets get into a temporary warehouse, where the green parts wait their turn to be loaded into the fornace. According to Production scheduling, pallets are moved onto the furnace loading conveyor belt: a third scara robot disposes pallets on one or two layers, using calibrated spacers. If furnace capacity is exceeded or Production scheduling is unexpectedly changed, pallets can be disposed automatically into Customer hand tracks and manually taken to other heat treatment units.

 

ADVANTAGES:
green parts are very fragile before heat treatment and manual handling can cause damages and production waste. Accurate robot movements and fine force control on the grippers let green parts be handled safely with no damages.
Moreover an incredible flexibility is reached together with a simple management of the whole plant:
– pallets can be loaded into furnace in one or two layers in order to optimize the furnace heat capacity and according to Production demands;
– full pallets can be loaded into Customer hand tracks to follow changed Production requests;
– presses can work continuously even in case of furnace exceeded capacity or alarms: the warehouse is sized to hold their whole daily output;
– easy management of the furnace scheduling lets Production satisfy market demands and optimize costs.

 

DESCRIPTION:
this automatic plant is designed to manage the whole green parts flow, from the presses output to the furnace loading. The conveyor belts (realized in a special intertwined stainless steel wire) smoothly guide pieces along curves, climbs and slopes, saving them from reciprocal contacts or border collisions. Last generation vision systems guide scara robots to pick pieces from the moving belts: accurate and rapid movements put the grippers in line with the target part and the fine force control let them grasp it with no scratches or damages. Pallet layout is automatically optimized according to piece size. In each palletizing cell there is a “parking area” where green parts is disposed in case of downline alarms: this let the robot balance an irregular material flow with no expensive stops for presses. Fast Cartesian robots move full pallets from the cells to the warehouse and from the warehouse to the furnace loading area. A special robot is responsible for hand tracks loading. The availability of single or double layer loading is a great advantage to keep uniform furnace heat capacity. The whole system is user friendly: new codes can be easily trained in a short time and the Operator can manage the working plant through the HMI.

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