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FANUC and ESPS for Vernay in Oldenzaal, Netherlands

 

Task:

Vernay was looking for a way to fully automate a production process involving flow-control solutions, used in many industries including domestic and medical devices, industrial applications and the automotive market. The available floor space was quite limited, so the solution needed to be compact.

Solution:

The solution provided by ESPS consisted of two FANUC robots in each of four work cells. A SCARA robot, the FANUC SR-6iA, is used for picking, placing, and quality control, and the FANUC M-20iD is employed to flexibly load and unload a molding machine.

Result:

The solution allowed Vernay to run this production process in a fully automated way. Consequently, the company can produce parts 24 hours per day without interruptions.

About Vernay

With a 75 year history, Vernay has built a reputation worldwide as a flow control solutions specialist. Vernay produces more than one billion products per year, and has operations in Asia, the Americas, and Europe specializing in the development and manufacture of rubber valve components and assembled valves. Their products are used in domestic and medical devices, industrial applications and the automotive market. Because their products are components used in other devices, the company's name is often not immediately visible. Yet their products are critical to the functioning of respirators, EV battery ventilation systems, brake systems, inkjet printers and coffee machines and therefore must meet the highest quality standards, with zero defect tolerance.

ESPS designed a solution for Vernay that employs the six-axes M-20iD robot arm to load molds into and unload finished parts from a molding machine. Depending on the End-of-Arm-Tooling (EoAT) the robots can handle a variety of different parts and operations.

In a typical example of the production process, the M-20iD picks up a tray of metal inserts and loads it into the molding machine. Once the molding operation has completed its cycle, the M-20iD removes the tray of finished parts from the machine and places it onto a workbench. The SCARA robot (the FANUC SR-6iA) removes each finished molded piece from the tray one at a time and holds it in position for a quality control check using computer vision. When the computer QC inspection is satisfied, the SCARA robot places the molded part onto a tray for conveyance further down the line for packaging.

In addition to the quality control inspection, the SCARA robot is also used to pre-position metal inserts onto a tray which the M-20iD then loads into the molding machine.

The system is flexible enough to allow for random quality checks by a human operator who can choose a tray for further manual inspection and measurement.

André Vos, Automation Engineer, a Vernay employee responsible for these workcells described the motivation for the project and a crucial constraint: "We were looking for a solution to fully automate our production processes 24/7. Since the available amount of work floor was limited, this also had to be done in a compact way"

Vos described the solution in the following way. "The automation covers the entire process from feeding-in insert and assembly parts, taking out pressed products, and cleaning molds, to the specific depositing of checked and approved parts. For all handling applications, FANUC robots are being used."

Vernay is pleased with the results, and Vos commented:"The full automation of these processes allows us to produce parts 24 hours a day without interruptions. Another advantage is the global availability of FANUC products and parts, enabling us to achieve interchangeability and standardization. We are very satisfied with the functionality and have now deployed robots from FANUC in several production cells worldwide."