Pressroom Automation Guide
About Pressroom Automation
Pressroom automation is definitely nothing new. Since the early 90’s, industrial robots have been widely used in the automotive press-shops, undertaking the stamping and pressing operations. You certainly do not want to manually move a huge metal panel that weighs in tons, which is why robotic automation is needed in such settings.
Although pressroom automation has been in action for a long time, more recent robots are shifting to smaller applications in other industries other than automotive industries. Smaller industrial robotic systems are now employed for metal sheets loading and unloading in the electronic industry and other general metal industries.
As pressroom automation systems are becoming more and more affordable, people have become more inclined to adopt these industrial robots for stamping manufacturing and integrate them into industrial supply chains, not to mention that these automation systems have been designed for easier programming as well.
Pressroom automation is a good way to automate the press loading and unloading process, an ideal alternative to the manual operation. Robotic presses are able to work in a continuous manner without having to take breaks in between. Press loading and unloading are made easier, safer and faster than human operators.
Core Components of Pressroom Automation
A typical robotic stamping line for pressroom automation is composed of the following core components:
● The Robot: The stamping robot is the core component of stamping production which requires precise trajectories, large payload, stable performance and other attributes of a transport robot. The stamping robot should also be characterized by the starting and braking feature, large work piece size capability, large operating range, large turning area, etc. The stamping robots can come with varying motor power and other specifications, such as the length of arms, depending on the requirements.
● Automation Press Line Control System: This is essentially the central system that integrates the robots, presses, cleaners, oilier, centering device, detection device, visual recognition systems, belts, synchronous control systems, screen displays, safety protection systems and pretty much everything else. A proper network system usually complements the robotic control system so that it is capable of effectively integrating all of the components mentioned above.
● Robotic Endpicker: A typical six-axis robot is often enough to perform the standard stamping jobs. But a seven-axis robot has become more popular in recent years because of the increased productivity. You are looking at an increased production rate of 12 pieces per minute with seven-axis automated robots for stamping lines.
● Destacking System: Automated destacking can improve the production performance in the press room, including various types of press lines. Adopting the destacking system can significantly reduce overhead cost, allowing you to free up the available human labor while enhancing production with the existing presses. Not only does the destacking system ensure consistent feeding of materials to the press, it also keeps contaminants out of the materials.
Ways to Achieve Pressroom Automation
As a metalformer who’s yet to implement the press line automation, here are some of the ways you can refer to help you get started.
● Quick Die Change: Deploying a highly efficient quick die change (QDC) setup can result in shorter production runes, hence more changeovers. A proper QDC setup should include an automated retrieval system and storage for automatic clamping and the transfer of tools into the press.
● Loading/Unloading of Robotic Parts: The loading and unloading is one of the fundamental tasks that is so repetitive there is no reason to deploy a robot to take on this job. With the recent development, manufacturers now have the options of more advanced robots other than the standard six-axis type, which are simpler and more affordable. An example of this would be the “cobots, which are an emerging robotic technology that serves as an ideal alternative for applications with less demanding cycle time requirements.
● Machine Monitoring and Reporting: Although this is not a direct representation of automation, machine monitoring and report is an essential component of any automation systems in press lines. Metalforming processes, even with the deployment of automation systems, needs to be monitored by providing the data needed. Some of the more advanced industrial robots are coupled with control systems that not only compile data, but analyze them and translate into an easy-to-read format which allows plant managers to take prompt action based on the result. Tracking the productivity, quality of products and down time are made easier with the adoption of the monitoring system.
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