De­mand for gen­tle, se­cure and safe prod­uct han­dling

DEMM Engineering & Manufacturing - - PRODUCT WATCH - DE­TAILS, SALES@AIR­SPRINGS.COM. AU

The re­lent­less ad­vance of au­to­ma­tion and ro­bot­ics in coun­tries with high man­u­fac­tur­ing pro­duc­tion costs is driv­ing de­mand in Aus­tralia and New Zealand for prod­uct han­dling tech­nolo­gies that per­mit high op­er­a­tional speeds with­out high prod­uct wastage.

“Some­times me­chan­i­cal, ro­botic or au­to­mated ma­te­ri­als han­dling sys­tems used in food, bev­er­age, elec­tron­ics and plas­tics in­dus­tries, for ex­am­ple, may lack a de­gree of touch’ or sen­si­tiv­ity needed to ma­nip­u­late del­i­cate prod­ucts or pack­ag­ing con­tain­ers. Wastage or dam­age can re­sult, with the as­so­ci­ated costs and clean-up safety haz­ards” says Air Springs Sup­ply Tech­ni­cal Prod­uct Man­ager, James Maslin.

An in­ter­na­tion­ally proven re­sponse to such is­sues is pro­vided by Fire­stone’s eas­ily in­stalled pneu­matic AirPicker and AirGrip­per end ef­fec­tors, for which Air Springs Sup­ply is na­tional dis­trib­u­tor and for which a Prod­uct Ap­pli­ca­tion and Se­lec­tion Guide is avail­able (air­springs. com.au/prod­uct- cat­a­logue- picker- grip­per). This ma­te­ri­als han­dling sys­tem – de­vel­oped among the so­phis­ti­cated and di­verse in­dus­tries of the Ja­pan and the USA - gives firm but safe and gen­tle han­dling of prod­ucts dur­ing man­u­fac­tur­ing and pro­cess­ing, says the dis­trib­u­tor.

The AirPicker and AirGrip­per ranges com­prise pre­ci­sion- en­gi­neered rubber prod­uct han­dling de­vices which in­flate gently and evenly to ma­nip­u­late del­i­cate prod­ucts or con­tain­ers, giv­ing the de­gree of touch or sen­si­tiv­ity re­quired, says Maslin.

AirPicker and AirGrip­per end- ef­fec­tors com­bine pneu­matic pres­sure con­trol with the phys­i­cal at­tributes of rubber. The re­sult is an in­no­va­tion that can give ro­bot­ics or me­chan­i­cal han­dling sys­tems an im­por­tant de­gree of touch and al­low prod­ucts to be han­dled se­curely and gently.

AirPicker end- ef­fec­tors are in­serted into a prod­uct while de­flated, then in­flate out­wardly to “hold onto” the prod­uct’s in­te­rior walls. AirGrip­per end- ef­fec­tor col­lars around the prod­uct, then the sleeve in­flates in­wardly to form a grip around the prod­uct’s ex­te­rior.

Mod­els are avail­able with var­i­ous in­fla­tion pres­sures to han­dle light to heavy loads, typ­i­cally from 50g to more than 20kg. This cush­ioned trans­port­ing can help elim­i­nate dam­age, break­age, and other pro­cess­ing prob­lems. AirPicker and AirGrip­per end- ef­fec­tors have al­ready been proven in assem­bly, load­ing, shift­ing, con­vey­ing and many other man­u­fac­tur­ing op­er­a­tions around the world.

“Noth­ing holds, moves and/or grips like the AirPick­ers and AirGrip­pers, which are de­signed to in­flate evenly, with in­side di­am­e­ter and out­side di­am­e­ter gripers pro­duc­ing a wide, shock-ab­sorb­ing and slip-free con­tact sur­face for sure move­ment,” says Maslin.

Air Springs Sup­ply’s com­pre­hen­sive web­site of­fers prod­uct spec­i­fi­ca­tions and se­lec­tion cri­te­ria, in­clud­ing de­tails of a range of more than a dozen pick­ers and grip­pers in ma­te­ri­als in­clud­ing stain­less steel, plated steel and alu­minium. Cer­ti­fied to ISO 9001: 2008 Qual­ity Man­age­ment Sys­tems – Re­quire­ments, Air Springs Sup­ply has more than 30 years’ ex­pe­ri­ence in pneu­matic en­gi­neer­ing, with a long- es­tab­lished na­tional sales, ser­vice and tech­ni­cal sup­port net­work to help pro­vide so­lu­tions for in­dus­try

CUTAWAY OF AIRPICKER TECH­NOL­OGY, DE­FLATED, LEFT, AND IN­FLATED, RIGHT, AS USED WITH GLASS AND PLAS­TIC BOT­TLED PROD­UCTS AND CYLIN­DRI­CAL CON­TAIN­ERS IN­VOLVED IN PROD­UCT ASSEM­BLY.

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