Guyson Corporation has integrated a robotically loaded automatic blast system with external component handling accessories that allow the installation to run up to one hour without an operator present.
The Model RXS-900 indexing table blast machine has six rotary spindles and two active blasting stations inside the process chamber. Two clusters of four suction-blast guns are bracketed in position at both blast stations at the correct angles and distances for coverage of the upper and lower faces of the disk-like components, and the pre-arranged guns traverse horizontally at programmed speed and stroke by means of a roof-mounted linear actuator. The blast system is designed to recognize disks of various standard diameters and automatically recall and execute the nozzle motion program associated with that size component.
A Fanuc M-10iA robot fitted with a vacuum gripper is positioned on a pedestal in front of the blast machine within reach of two in-feed carriages and a take-away belt conveyor. A perimeter cage with safety interlocked access doors excludes workers from the load/unload zone.
The custom-engineered transfer carriages designed and fabricated by Guyson are essential to uninterrupted operation of the robot-loaded blast system. Each of the two carriages has four loading stations, with interchangeable posts corresponding to the arbor hole diameter of the components, to accurately position a stack of same-numbered parts for robotic picking and placement. To load an empty carriage, which can be done while the blasting system is in operation, an attendant shuttles the empty cart out of the cage to the staging area by making a selection on the touch-screen HMI and placing both hands safely on photosensitive thumb switches. So long as all components on an individual post are the same, stacks of different-diameter parts can be loaded in any sequence at the four stations, then the carriage is similarly indexed back into positive position beside the robot loader.
Electronic sensors are used extensively in the external material handling portion of the automated blasting system, as well as the blast cabinet itself. When the machine-tending robot is picking up a finished part or one to be loaded, a sensor on the gripper signals when the vacuum cups are fully in contact with the component, so automated loading continues smoothly at the established pace, even though the individual stack of parts gets shorter on the carriage and as the stack of finished parts gets higher on the take-away conveyor. Part presence is detected at each of the eight load stations on the transfer carriages, so the robot does not attempt to pick parts from an empty stack. The diameter of the components in each stack is sensed and signaled to the system PLC. When the height of the stack of finished parts on the out-feed conveyor reaches a set maximum, the belt indexes to make room for a new one.
As manufacturers reorganize and streamline production operations to eliminate wasteful processes, combine multiple compatible machines in functional work cells and introduce flexible automation to reduce costs and maximize efficiency, Guyson engineers anticipate more opportunities to design robotic automation systems.
Prospective users of automated or robotic blasting equipment are strongly encouraged to submit sample components for free laboratory testing and application engineering evaluation at the Guyson factory in northeastern New York State.
View a YouTube video clip of the RXS-900-RB in operation: http://youtu.be/7ds2XbHhfyA