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Case Studies Of Industrial Robots

Robots in action can be found everywhere. Robot Manufacturers give examples of robot applications in different industries.

Wittmann, Austria - IFR-Robot Supplier member

Consistent use of automation ensures quality and productivity

Busch-Jaeger, today a member of the ABB group, can look back on more than 130 years of corporate history. The company employs some 1,000 associates, of whom 260 are working at the Bad Berleburg Aue facility, where several million parts are produced annually. The vast majority of the numerous injection molding machines there are equipped with robot systems, which ensure efficient production in every respect.

State-of-the-art production equipment guarantees market success

Even though the products made by Busch-Jaeger have either remained basically unchanged or changed only very slightly for decades - i.e. flip switches, of which several millions are produced every year - working with ultramodern equipment is still an absolute necessity in order to keep pace with the market.

One of the secrets behind Busch-Jaeger's success is that their existing injection molding machines and automation components have been consistently kept on par with the state of the art or have been replaced with machines or components that do. This has led to Busch-Jaeger operating an extremely large number of WITTMANN robot systems today, which have been acquired over the years. The W312, which was used back in 1994, was subsequently followed by various models from the robot series W6 and W7, and most recently by the new W821 model with an IPC control system, which can be equipped with all current software modules.

This process of constantly renewing and updating the machinery admittedly increases the investment costs, but it also consistently reduces the cycle times and continues to contribute to improving quality standards - in short: the proportion of good parts per time unit keeps rising. The experience of past decades has shown that a consistent, attractive return on investment can be achieved in this way, since the quality and time advantages outweigh the higher investment costs. Two examples of the further development of technical standards in injection molding automation will be described here, but they are representative of many others:

SmartRemoval and SoftTorque. Both are newly developed software modules which are compatible with the R8 control system generation and facilitate easier and, in many cases, significantly faster parts removal.

The SmartRemoval function calculates the fastest and most effective removal process from the entry of just a few coordinates, which facilitates the work of the programmer and/or machine operator substantially.

The SoftTorque function allows the finished part to be pressed into the robot gripper with the help of the ejectors. In this process, the demolding axis of the robot can be actively pushed backwards, thus compensating the forces pushing in the opposite direction. In this way, the mechanical components are preserved effectively over a long period of time.

Robot design to corporate standards

Over the years, Busch-Jaeger has made agreements with its suppliers concerning certain modifications and the design of interfaces for the grippers and automation components developed in-house, which make both standard processes and quick mold change extremely simple and trouble-free.

Various further processing steps which follow parts removal are normally handled by peripheral appliances, which are either produced by Busch-Jaeger's own service team or by automation specialists to Busch-Jaeger's specifications. These processes are combined in production cells and then controlled and monitored by the WITTMANN robot control system. The engineering department of WITTMANN Robot Systeme in Nuremberg is recognized and appreciated at Busch-Jaeger as extremely cooperative, which explains why this partner has been chosen again and again.

Pushing in luminous caps, laser printing, assembly of metal brackets, packaging - all of this happens within only a few seconds. Prior to packaging in shipping cartons, the sets of parts are subjected to a brief quality check by well-trained staff who can identify defects or missing parts within tenths of seconds.

For operating its equipment, Busch-Jaeger relies on the competence of its own staff - and in the case of robots they rely on the fast, very well-trained and absolutely reliable 24-hour service team of WITTMANN Robot Systeme GmbH, based in Nuremberg.