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Fanuc Robotics Europe S.A., Luxembourg - IFR-Partner
All electric route keeps medical device moulder clean
Technical injection moulding specialist, Sovrin Plastics, has equipped its latest dedicated moulding facility with electric moulding machines each fitted with an electric robot arm. Five FANUC ROBOSHOT moulding machines, each equipped with a six axes FANUC Robotics M6iB robot, help to maintain a clean room standard of Class7 (class 10,000).
Sovrin Plastics has earned a reputation in the industry for its ability to turn technically challenging customer projects round quickly from concept through to manufacture and the new facility was no exception. Set-up to meet the needs of a customer to produce high volumes of a drug delivery device, Sovrin drove the new facility project through from concept to manufacture and validation in less than six months.
Peter Wigmore, Business Development Manager, Sovrin Plastics comments, "We're not the largest moulder in the medical sector but we're known for making decisions quickly and being able to implement them. We strongly believe in the importance of partnerships with customers and suppliers alike and because of this we can drill right down to what's needed and drive projects through to manufacturing. In this instance we worked closely with FANUC Robotics and FANUC ROBOSHOT to help work within the clean room standards set - Class 7 clean room (class 10,000)."
The machines are currently dedicated to the manufacture of one product comprising 5 moulded components. Each FANUC ROBOSHOT moulds a different component which is removed from the mould tool by the FANUC robot mounted on the top of each machine. Mouldings are placed onto an indexing conveyor, allowing them to cool, which then transports them to a vibratory feeder. Correctly orientated parts then converge at a dedicated Mikron assembly machine where the device is finish assembled.
Selecting the ROBOSHOT machine was a straight-forward decision for Sovrin - they already had several machines in operation and were satisfied that the electric control of the press gave them everything they needed. Accuracy is core to the operation and ROBOSHOT provides this with a high degree of process control, good energy efficiency and the inherent cleanliness of electric control.
Adrian Hill, project engineer for Sovrin Plastics comments, "The selection process was straight-forward - we weren't asking for anything demanding from the robots and in terms of price, operation, features and capabilities most robot makes were comparable. For us it came down to service and lead-time - FANUC Robotics has worked with us before and its TEAM is very supportive. From the start where we had simulations produced using FANUC Robotics RoboGuide software and ROBOSHOT cad files, we were able to see exactly how the system would perform. This gave us the confidence to build the system at our own facility, without pre-build or commissioning off site, saving us valuable time."
The FANUC ROBOSHOT machines, although inherently cleaner than hydraulic machines, have the barrel end positioned out of the clean room to reduce heat and unavoidable material ingress. Robots are mounted on the top of the platen and remove mouldings from the top of the machine, reducing contamination risks.
Operating 24 hours a day, five and a half days a week, the system has proved to be absolutely reliable as have the other 15 FANUC ROBOSHOT machines, some of which are equipped with robots at Sovrin Plastics. Now with 52 moulding machines, 22 of them all-electric, with a further 2 on order - 25 in Clean rooms - Sovrin Plastics has a significant capacity to flexibly react to the technical demands of its customers in both medical and non-medical sectors.