June 16, 2020

Global Powder Metal Manufacturer Improves Part Unloading Process with FANUC Robotic Cell and iRVision

Customer Problem

The customer produces a variety of parts in small batches. The current process requires an operator to manually unload hot parts and hot tiles from a sinter furnace. The parts are then stacked in patterns on a pallet and the tiles are stacked separately on a cart. Three different sizes of sinter tiles need to be loaded onto carts for return to the front of the furnace. A skilled operator is necessary due to the many different stacking patterns the parts utilized. The customer was interested in exploring robotic cell automation technologies and control systems in an effort to increase throughput.

Adaptec Robotic Cell Solution

We provided a turnkey solution including design, programming, and commissioning of a robotic cell. The robot, using FANUC iRVision, picks parts from the sinter furnace and places them in a specific pattern on one of two pallets. The assembled pallet load is multi-layered with a cardboard slip sheet between each layer of parts.

The robot automatically changes its tooling based on a marker tile located on the furnace belt that identifies the start of a new part run. The palletizing pattern is automatically adjusted to the new part run. This automated system produces a 30% increase in throughput over the previous manual method. System run rate is 500 parts per hour.

Products used

  • FANUC M-20iA robot
  • FANUC iRVision (dual camera setup)
  • FANUC line tracking with encoder feedback
  • Keyence laser sensor used for Z-axis offset
  • ATI tool changer
  • Schunk quick change gripper fingers

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