Mold Load Unload Robot Cell

Application: Material Handling and Inspection System

Industry:  Automotive

Project Criteria

Solara Automation’s customer is a bearing manufacturer. The automation requirement was to support the overmolding of three plastic parts.  The equipment needed to bulk feed substrates, load into mold press for 2nd stage process, unload finish parts from mold, inspect parts for defects, and package into totes.

Solara engineered and built a three-robot cell.  For flexibility, a hopper-fed, vibratory-bed feeder was used to orient and singulate parts.  The first robot uses a vision system to image and orient its gripper to pick the substrates from the feeder and load them into a transfer rack.

To minimize mold-open time, the change-out end-of-arm tools on the second robot can hold up to eight parts at a time for 4-cavity molds. It picks up to four of the substrates at a time from the transfer rack and waits above the mold. When the mold opens, it picks the finished parts with the unload side of its gripper, spins the gripper, and places the substrates into the mold.  The robot then exits the mold and places the finished parts onto the transfer rack.

The inspection, packing, and reject handling needs of the three parts are all different. The third robot has flexible change-out tools which adjust part spacing for the different stations.  A 5MP vision system over a dial verifies that each part has the correct diameter. Parts are either stacked on posts or placed into layers in totes. The totes are fed in and out on tote conveyors and precision located with the robot’s vision system.  The robot also picks slip sheets from a feeder to separate layers.   Reject parts are placed into different drawer locations by type of defect and by mold cavity they were processed in.

Project Features

  • 8 parts / minute
  • 3 Fanuc LR Mate robots
  • Change out tooling and end-of-arm tools for 3 different parts
  • Vibratory bed feeder
  • Tote conveyor with infeed and outfeed
  • Slip sheet feeder
  • Inspection indexing dial
  • 3 vision systems: Fanuc iRVision to orient to parts and locate totes, Cognex 5MP to inspect for quality
  • Omron PLC controls

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