Machine Tending robots are primarily responsible for ensuring a machine is functioning properly. They can also feed parts in and out of the machine. Robots that tend injection molding machines are an alternative to human manpower. Some parts in molding machines are simply too large for a person to unload, for example. Injection molding machines are among other machine tending applications, such as die-casting machines and machine tools.
The FANUC R2000iC/165 robot was used in a fully automatic standalone injection molding system. This 6-axis robot has a 165kg payload and an R30iA controller. It boasts custom end-of-arm tooling with a Robohand 3 jaw pneumatic gripper. It is also equipped with an iRVision 3DL sensor. These features allow the R2000iC/165 model to depalletize and restack, pick the product and place it into the pre-heater, pick it from the pre-heater and place it into the injection molding machine, pick it from the machine and place it on the trim station, and finally repalletize it at the end of the process. This tedious, and often dangerous, process is made simple with an automated tending solution.
ABB’s IRB 1600 was designed for quick, accurate handling operations. It can bend backwards and is steam-washable with an optional IP 67 classification. Four versions of the robot are available, and it is the strongest robot in its class. It can reach 700mm below its base, and its arm and wrist design ensures easy part extraction from the injection molding machine. It is ideal for tending injection molding machines, and can do so with an improved cycle time in loading/unloading injection molding machines with sizes from 100-250 tons. The IRB 1600 can also be used for post processing applications like assembly, labeling, and quality control.
Mack Molding’s Southern Operations selected KUKA to be their 6-axis robotics supplier for injection molding systems. A variety of KUKA models will be used to handle Mack Molding’s machine tending for injection molding machines. KUKA’s 6-axis models support payloads ranging from 3 to 570 kg, and will be able to handle machines ranging from 500 to 3350 tons. Their reaches range from 635 to 3326 mm. KUKA was chosen because its robots are most geared toward the injection molding industry.