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Robotic Saw Line RoboSaw
In today's metalworking industry, most manufacturing processes are apparently carried out mechanically or automatically. At second glance, however, you can see that in most cases these are hybrid systems of man and machine or partial automation.
Small batch sizes in metal processing make automation difficult
The metal cutting or sawing of sheets and blocks is carried out by machine. Nevertheless, numerous upstream and downstream activities must be carried out by an employee before production begins: The required material must be searched for, checked, arranged and brought to the workplace. Various sawing parameters, which are matched to the respective material properties, must be set. After the sawing or between the sawing, the material that is no longer needed must be viewed and stored. The material to be reused must be reoriented and the sawing parameters changed again. A similar amount of human effort can also be found as a side effect during turning and milling, especially for small production lots.
In a sawing center, a large number of customer orders must be processed within short delivery times and usually with the smallest batch sizes (often unique pieces) with a wide range of materials and a wide variety of cutting sizes. Full automation therefore did not seem feasible so far, as too many steps required human intervention and new individual solutions had to be found. However, the Augsburg-based automation specialist AROTEC shows that it is possible to have the production process carried out almost entirely by machine despite the smallest batch sizes with its robot system RoboSaw.
stack of empty pallets
robot incl. EOAT
AROTEC presents a solution
The robot system essentially consists of two towers/long bar storage systems, two vertical band saws and a 6-axis industrial robot with end effector, which is mounted on a 16m long traversing unit to increase the robot workspace. Within the robotic system, a master computer developed by AROTEC takes over the order management, order sequence planning, material and inventory management (of the warehouse and saws) as well as the entire system control and monitoring.
Even the storage of the materials is semi-automated. The raw material (sheets and blocks, 80 different grades, magnetic and non-magnetic materials, maximum dimensions 1000 x 500 x 150 mm, maximum weight 200 kg) is fed to the saw line on a graphical user interface (GUI) by means of a conveyor belt after entering the quality and position of the rolling edges. There, it is captured by a 3D vision sensor and measured with millimeter precision. The information is transferred to the master computer. With the help of the integrated mixed palletizing software PALGO mix developed by AROTEC, it selects the most suitable storage location on all storage pallets in the tower warehouse, in which the lowest surface waste is created, and the entire warehouse is thus ideally utilized. The storage on the storage pallet is then fully automatic. The storage and retrieval can take place at any time, even parallel to the sawing processing in the robotic system RoboSaw.
If the warehouse has a minimum stock of material, the customer or saw orders can be processed or processed. For this purpose, the customer's ERP transfers the sales orders directly to the database of the plant control computer. The order data contains, among other things, information about the customer, the agreed delivery date, the cutting dimension, the material quality and the quantity.
Robotic sawing line RoboSaw - AROTEC Automation und Robotik GmbH
At periodic intervals, the master computer checks the orders available in the database. It is checked whether sufficient suitable material is available. The master computer with the integrated waste optimization algorithm independently selects which material cuboids are best suited for order processing and cause the least possible waste. Taking these and other criteria into account (such as the delivery date), the plant master computer determines the order in which the orders are processed. The entire subsequent sequence of steps is initiated by the plant master computer. From the procurement of materials from the warehouse to the setting of the saw cut to the storage of the residual material, the processing is fully automated.
If an order with the current material stock cannot be processed, this is immediately displayed to the order planner or plant operator on the web-based system visualization. The order scheduler can then become active and adjust the material stock. He can also change the prioritization of the order to meet delivery dates. The comparison between the order sequence and the delivery dates takes place automatically on a regular basis and includes parameters such as a changed stock or a manually set prioritization in the optimization of the order sequence.
The fully automatic sawing line developed and implemented by AROTEC is unparalleled worldwide and is a prime example in the age of Industry 4.0. The sawing line shows what is technically possible today and what potentials can be exploited in the field of metalworking, especially in high-wage countries such as Germany.
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