Guyson Corporation has developed a new automatic tool changing system that extends the versatility of its robotic blasting and shot peening machines. The new technology is being demonstrated to the manufacturing public for the first time at IMTS 2014 in booth N-6066.
When the production processing routine for a particular component or a range of similar parts requires using two or more different sizes or types of blast nozzles, the tool changer allows multiple custom-designed and interchangeable blasting tools to be automatically selected by the robot according to the programmed process recipe for that specific component. For example, a straight nozzle for blasting exterior surfaces may be interchanged with a lance nozzle for blasting inside diameters or a different size straight nozzle or lance.
The collection of blasting tools is housed in a rack outside the blast chamber and accessible to the nozzle-wielding robot through a sliding door. Each blasting tool is engineered with mechanical features for secure attachment to the robot’s end-of-arm tooling (EOAT) and with an electronic signature to positively identify the tool, which must match the one specified in the programmed recipe for the component to be processed.
Combined with vision and scanner technology to positively identify each part and automatically recall the correct recipe, digital sensing and closed-loop control of key parameters such as blast pressure and media flow rate, tool recognition must be considered a powerful addition to the process control regime, since it provides a means to verify that the correct nozzle is actually used. All these elements are needed to comply with stringent process specifications, including SAE AMS-2432 for aerospace shot peening.
Tool changing capability not only enables multi-tasking of the robotic blast system, allowing it to perform more than one blasting operation, in many cases, it eliminates the need for multiple automated blast machines for separate blasting steps in the production sequence. In fully automated processing, the new robotic tool changer enables unmanned operation of the multi-function blast system and also makes additional external material handling or transfer equipment unnecessary.
Prospective users of robotic blasting equipment are encouraged to submit sample components for free laboratory testing and application engineering evaluation at the Guyson factory in northeastern New York State.