Sch­malz new clamp­ing sys­tem of­fers more flex­i­bil­ity for 3D free-form sur­faces

Auto components India - - CONTENTS - ACI Bu­reau

The Ger­many-based Sch­malz is the global provider of au­to­ma­tion, han­dling and clamp­ing sys­tems. The com­pany sup­plies to cus­tomers in nu­mer­ous in­dus­tries in­no­va­tive and ef­fi­cient so­lu­tions based on vac­uum tech­nol­ogy. Sch­malz prod­ucts are used in a wide va­ri­ety of pro­duc­tion pro­cesses, for ex­am­ple, as grip­pers on ro­bot arms in the pro­duc­tion of car bod­ies, in CNC ma­chin­ing cen­tres as clamp­ing so­lu­tions for fur­ni­ture pieces, or used by an op­er­a­tor to lift items rang­ing from boxes to so­lar mod­ules. Sch­malz cus­tomers can ei­ther choose from a di­verse line of com­po­nents or they can ben­e­fit from a com­plete so­lu­tion that is cus­tom-tai­lored to their re­quire­ments.

For more flex­i­bil­ity in the au­to­mated pro­duc­tion en­vi­ron­ments, Sch­malz has de­vel­oped the Suc­tion Cup Bal­ance SSCB: A grip­ping and clamp­ing sys­tem with au­to­mated con­ver­sion ca­pa­bil­ity for 3D mould sur­faces. With the same sys­tem, work­pieces of dif­fer­ent con­tours can be gripped and clamped - a great ad­van­tage in the au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try.

The Suc­tion Cup Bal­ance SSCB avoids ex­pen­sive and lengthy con­ver­sion times: It adapts flex­i­bly to dif­fer­ent and com­plex shaped com­po­nents. This al­lows for smaller lot sizes to be pro­duced eco­nom­i­cally. The sys­tem con­sists of a sturdy alu­minum body with a vac­uum and sev­eral com­pressed air con­nec­tions. A flex­i­ble bellows suc­tion pad from the re­sis­tant Vulkol­lan polyurethane elas­tomer is used to grip the work­piece. Around it 8 cylin­dri­cal po­si­tion­ing pins are ar­ranged with wear-re­sis­tant bear­ing ma­te­rial for op­ti­mum adap­ta­tion to the re­spec­tive 3D ge­ome­tries.

At the start of the grip­ping process, the po­si­tion­ing pins are adapted to the work­piece ge­om­e­try. The suc­tion cup uses a com­pressed air sus­pen­sion to ini­tially ex­tend the pins and then to fix ac­cord­ing to the de­sired po­si­tion by in­ter­rupt­ing the com­pressed air. The con­tour of the work­piece is ob­tained by the suc­tion cup from the ro­bot soft­ware. Af­ter a few sec­onds, the pins form the out­line of the work­piece - it is an au­to­mat­i­cally pre­pared grip­ping sys­tem. In or­der to ad­just a clamp­ing sys­tem for the same work­piece con­tour, the pins are ini­tially po­si­tioned in the same way. The grip­per moves over the con­gru­ent built clamp­ing sys­tem. The grip­per pushes in the pins of the clamp­ing sys­tem all at once un­til the neg­a­tive con­tour of the grip­ping sys­tem is achieved. This way the work­piece can be gripped from above and clamped from be­low.

Sch­malz of­fers 2 vari­ants of the suc­tion cups: First each pin can be fixed sep­a­rately on a sin­gle com­pressed air line, and all pins to­gether via a cen­tral com­pressed air line. For sim­ple setup pro­ce­dures there is the vari­ant with cen­trally con­trolled po­si­tion­ing and re­duced valve tech­nol­ogy. For au­to­mated back op­er­a­tions there is the vari­ant with in­di­vid­u­ally con­trolled po­si­tion­ing pins to re­pro­duce the 3D mould sur­face.

The Sch­malz in­no­va­tion of­fers users a num­ber of ad­van­tages: The work­piece is al­ways cus­tom­ized to the po­si­tion­ing pins. Con­ven­tional me­chan­i­cal po­si­tion­ing man­drels or mould blocks are no longer re­quired.

Ex­pen­sive tool­ing no longer ap­plies for fit­ting pro­cesses, which oth­er­wise must be kept ac­cord­ing to the work­piece. A sin­gle tool­ing with Suc­tion Cup Bal­ance SSCB is suf­fi­cient - the sys­tem makes an im­por­tant con­tri­bu­tion to the flex­i­bil­ity of au­to­mated pro­duc­tion and as­sem­bly lines for com­plex com­po­nents.

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