Automated Knurling Machine - Midwest Engineered Systems

Midwest Engineered Systems Inc. provided a valve plate knurling machine automated solution for a metal fine blanking company. This robotic integration is used to fully automate the knurling process for a high volume automotive industry application.

 The Challenge

  • Machine automation system must be capable of being programmed for four (4) different part numbers
  • Must achieve and automated process speed of one (1) part every 2 seconds
  • The automated work cell must have a compact design to optimize floor space
  • The automated production system must be capable of flipping parts that are loaded up-side-down
  • It must have sensors to detect the radial orientation of a part on the in-feed conveyor to insure correct orientation in dial table nest
  • The system must be able to operate within the high pressure and high forces exerted by the knurling process
  • Built-in quality assurance throughout the knurling and handling process. The automation system must also detect defects on the top and bottom surfaces of the part, such as:
    • Missing features
    • Slug marks
    • Missing holes
    • Missing or additional material
  • The automated production system must have the ability to log part failure information to an operator interface including:
    • Part number
    • Defect type
    • Quantity of each type of defect
    • Time and date stamps

The Solution

After a full evaluation of the project’s challenges and goals, Midwest Engineered Systems designed and built the customer a complete solution, which included:

  • Heavy duty common base for simple install and portability
  • Fanuc LR Mate 200iD industrial robot and R-30iB robot controller with Fanuc 2D robotic vision camera for part orientation identification on in-feed pick-up locations and placement on dial process system
  • Robotic End of Arm Tool
    • Magnetic gripper
    • Sensors
  • In-feed Flip Station with two (2) position shuttle escapement
  • Two (2) TOX 30-ton, air over oil, presses
  • Twelve (12) position, servo driven, dial table
  • Three (3) position, servo driven, out-feed flip station
  • Out-feed conveyor
  • Four (4) camera PPT vision system
  • Control System
    • Electrical enclosure
    • Servo motor control system
    • PLC with EtherNet IP communication
    • Robot to PLC interface
    • Operator HMI display
    • Arc flash compliance
    • Safety system and enclosure with components, programming, and layout per ISO 13849-1:2006 Category 3 safety guidelines and ANSI/RIA R15.06-1999 specifications
    • Complete electrical and mechanical engineering design
    • Midwest engineered systems provided complete robot, vision, PLC, and HMI programming
    • Complete electrical and mechanical fabrication, assembly, and system test
    • On-site installation, start-up, and acceptance testing
    • Technical training be MWES for operators, engineering, and maintenance

Impact to the Customer

  • Increased productivity – machine can run 1800 parts/hour
  • Less tooling than previous machine for faster changeover between parts
  • Decreased maintenance – fewer moving parts to wear than previous machine and less tooling to maintain
  • Increased reliability and up-time – Mechanically driven, hard tooled, walking beam replaced with programmable 6-axis servo robot and two (2) programmable servo driven dial tables
  • Increased floor space – MWES Robotic solution requires 20% less floor space
  • Improved quality – Multiple sensors are able to detect failures and immediately notify the operator
  • Failure reporting – Automatic data logging and tracking of failures

For more information on this equipment or other web handling needs please contact MWES.