Robotic Flash Removal of Extrusion Blow Molded Components

Robotic Flash Removal Extrusion Blow Molded Components

When a plastics manufacturer wanted to increase production to keep up with a growing market demand, they wanted an automated solution that included industrial robots to do the job. The purpose of automating was to increase safety, productivity, and quality, while decreasing labor costs and OSHA recordable accidents. The customer, who specializes in custom blow molded products is located in Bowling Green, Ohio, and has a facility, which features 100,000 square feet of production space. With over a century of experience in plastics, their production team works around the clock to mold, finish, assemble and package a variety of products for companies in numerous industries. The customer’s search for an industrial robotics integrator led them to RobotWorx, who could not only provide 27 years of expertise, but also affordable adoption of the technology through reconditioned equipment and local technical support.

The Problem

The customer requested a solution to remove excess plastic material produced by the blow molding process, also known as “flash”.  Flash is byproduct that causes problems if not completely removed. When Flash is not removed consistently, it leads to an increased reject rate and end user safety concerns. The flash is typically rough or sharp to the touch. This poses problems that slow down manufacturing time and efficiency. Precision cutting and risk of injury are also associated with Flash removal. It is typical for molders to have operators trim flash with hand tools at the molding machine between cycles. This requires extra personal and protective equipment to prevent cuts, but PPE is often hot and restricts dexterity when trying to complete other tasks.

The Solution

After careful consideration and consulting with the customer, it was decided that two Dual Work Zone Cells using a reconditioned Fanuc M710iC/50 R30iA, a custom blade, and Fanuc force sensing technology would be best suited to remove the Flash. The engineering concept and design took 3 weeks to develop. The entire project from design concept to integration was completed in 14 weeks.

The Benefits

The benefits of integrating a Dual Work Zone Cell using a reconditioned Fanuc M710iC/50 R30iA were quickly realized through an immediate decrease in labor hours and a noticeable increase in production efficiency. This allowed the customer to produce more parts and take on more clients, increasing their total revenue. They are now able to keep up with market demand, reduce risk of injury and increase overall quality of their products. 

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