KMH is one of the leading manufacturers in Europe of clamping rings or flange connected pipes, components and systems for aspiration and bulk materials of all kinds. The specialties are individual pipe systems and tailor-made special products of all kinds in order to be able to react quickly and flexibly to the individual requirements of the customers.
Currently, the rings are assembled completely manually. This is a monotonous and ergonomically unfavourable task that the worker has to do for 8 hours straight. In addition, some of the rings have to be assembled externally to achieve the required volume. By automating the process, KMH hopes to be able to assemble the rings completely in-house again and at the same time achieve a higher production quantity and quality. They also hope that this first robotic application will be the foundation for more automation in the future.
Due to the many different diameters of the rings, the line must be very flexible. At the beginning of the project, two challenges were identified that had to be overcome. The ring halves cannot be provided in a lattice box as before, because separating them with a robot would otherwise be too complex and time-consuming due to the geometry of the parts. The second challenge is to align rotating threaded inserts in the rings so that a bolt can be inserted through both. At the end of the project, the line should achieve a cycle time of one ring per minute.
To implement the project, a system with two cobots is planned. The first robot removes the ring halves from a material chute and positions them in a holding device. This robot also removes the assembled rings and places them in a grid box. The second cobot is equipped with a bolt-tightening tool and is responsible for assembling the rings.
The feasibility study has shown that it is necessary to load two fixtures at the same time in order to achieve the desired cycle time. In the tests, the material slide proved to be a good solution for feeding material (provided you choose the right angle).
How could COTEMACO support you?
The COTEMACO initiative and the cooperation between the project partners gave us the opportunity to find a solution for a more efficient assembly process. Realising this concept could secure the production and assembly for the product in a cost efficient manner. The project work with the university and the supplier combined made the concept forward-looking but also actionable. The initiative gave us a good platform for an open and cooperative project execution.