Automation for Plastic Processors

Injection Molding Solutions Case Study: Automation for Plastic Processors

Problem

Wilbert Plastics Services, a North Carolina based injection molding company, had a great project that required an automated solution that could meet their customer’s growing demand. They needed an automated solution to meet and exceed their customer production requirements. Meeting the high-volume demand would require multiple turnkey machines to automate the process of inserting heated nuts into a plastic part.

The challenge was designing a machine that could insert six nuts every 60 seconds and be managed by just one operator. They wanted a dependable and consistent solution that minimized labor and provided superior quality. Completing these operations manually wasn’t an option because of the high volume and rapid cycle time: The only solution was to design, engineer, and build an automation station.

Solution

The conversation began with discussion about the induction heating of brass nuts that AMS had developed for the automotive industry. The AMS team knew there would be challenges at first when starting the process, including hitting the pressing depths and the right amount of cycle time. AMS dedicated team members presented varied solutions based on success with automation specific to plastic processors. The team took on the challenge and worked closely with Wilbert to fine tune a custom nut insertion machine based on AMS’s proven Nut Insertion NI-401 machine design.

AMS built and delivered two robotic automation machines specifically designed to run press-side. The solution allows them to process and ship their product “within cycle” directly to their customer. The machines were custom-configured to add even greater efficiency to the automated process.

The automation is designed and engineered to be a two-up station, meaning two parts are working simultaneously using three robots in total. While two six axis robots are heating and inserting three M8 inserts in each of the two parts, the third additional 3-axis robot is also heating and inserting one M10 insert per part. At the conclusion of the cycle, the parts are turned upside down, swapped in the nests, and the other side is completed in the same sequence. These simultaneous operations provide great throughput while minimizing the station’s costs.

The machine design was based on the AMS Nut Insertion Platform NI-401. The build included LR mate 200id robots with R-30ib controllers from Fanuc.

Results

The AMS team provided a cost effective engineered approach to automation that provided this customer a dependable, consistent, and high quality automation cell. This solution has been in production daily for more than two years with no down time, providing the results this customer demanded.

Automation and engineered solutions provide for high quality and more consistent results. Most often they are more cost effective and can be used in many applications where fixed and flexible assembly is required.

Looking for Automation for Plastic Processors?

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Automated Machine Systems, Inc. (AMS) increases the productivity of manufacturers by helping them design, build and implement their factory automation systems.