January 29, 2021

Job Shop Automates Forging Process with FANUC FoundryPro Robot

Customer Problem

The customer wanted to improve their forging operation. Their shop did not have any automation prior but did have fully-functional mechanical presses.

Adaptec started the project by identifying the project goal: to provide the customer with a forge loading package that is flexible and easy to change over. This particular forger was a job shop. They identified about 30 part numbers all with varying billet sizes (1-3” diameter range and 4-7” length range).

Adaptec Forging Solution

Adaptec developed a project scope which included conveying hot parts to the loader and monitoring the billet temperature. Cold parts were to be saved, hot parts scrapped, and just-right parts were advanced to the forge. The forge setup was a 3-hit process-bust, forge, and finish. The customer wanted to load the forge and advance the billet from bust to forge station.

Adaptec designed a transfer conveyor that had an air operated diverter to send cold billets to a salvage bin. The conveyor had a breaker wheel at the load end to separate billets that welded together, along with quick-change, adjustable side rails to accommodate the diameter change. A clever pick nest was added to accommodate the billet variety.

A heavy-duty, FANUC FoundryPro robot was used for this application. Forge duty robots have better seals on the robot joints, epoxy finishes, and stainless fasteners. All motors are covered to prevent overspray from sticking to the motor/encoder.

The billet for these parts was loaded axis vertical. The billet started out as a cylinder and looked like a thick disk after the first hit. Since the part had to advance, Adaptec used a dual jaw setup on the end-of-arm tool (EOAT) to accommodate the diameter range.

To minimize the number of points, parametric programming was used for the robot. This approach uses the user defined diameter and length to guide the robot to the proper positions. New parts can be added by entering the diameter and length before and after the first hit.

The robot was installed in the side window of the press so the front door could stay open for the operator(s) and die change out. DCS zones prevent the robot from moving off a very narrow path, even if jogged via the teach pendant.

The project resulted in a 35% increase in production and increased part quality. Die life improved about 20% over manually loaded parts.

Products used

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