SAR implements Sinumerik controlled robot cell at Siemens Process Industries and Drives in Nuremberg.
Where the number of variants in production is high, the use of standard process technology is sub-optimal. This is where integrated engineering throughout the entire value chain, from programming to simulation and production, all applied at the software level, offers distinct advantages.
Such a robot cell, controlled entirely via a high-level Sinumerik 840D sl CNC, has been implemented by SAR for the Siemens Process Industries and Drives Division (Nuremberg). Two KUKA robots carry out programs created directly by the CNC user.
The Siemens Process Industries and Drives Division, in Nuremberg, is recognised as a reliable partner for continuous improvement of availability, safety and efficiency of products, processes and systems. Wherever large drives are required for industry and infrastructure the Siemens Large Drives Division offers the optimal solution.
Siemens Large Drives supplies advance, energy efficient and reliable drive systems, applications and services across the entire drive train. The components and solutions for mechanical and electrical drives cover the full range of requirements across all industry sectors.
The Simotics FD motor series is amongst the products manufactured in Nuremberg. The motors are mainly used in pump and compressor applications as well as in materials handling and lifting equipment.
A flexible modular design with extensive options allows the Simotics FD motors to optimal meet a variety of requirements and operating conditions and offers customers a high degree of flexibility in configuration. The wide variety of product variants for the Simotics FD motor series is correspondingly evident in the manufacturing process.
With this high number product variants the use of standard process technology is not flexible enough: Manually programming the different variants is costly, and any changes require the use of robot programming with the consequent downtime of the plant during adjustments. The production of motors is therefore currently still heavily influenced by manual input.
Sophisticated automation instead of extensive manual labour
In the future, the different variants of the Simotics FD engine series will be processed in an enclosed robot cell. The robot cell implemented by SAR is controlled directly from the Siemens Sinumerik 840D sl CNC.
Operating of robots directly from Sinumerik has now become possible using the Run MyRobot software interface, which has resulted from extensive joint development between Siemens and Kuka. The cell includes not only materials handling and robotics technology, but also measuring and process technology.
The following operations are covered by the SAR robot cell; applying Hylomar sealant to cover plates; positioning and mounting the cover plates on the metal casing; and (after both robots have changed attachments) measuring component fits and drilling and reaming of these fits. Other operations such as inserting alignment pins in the drilled holes or punching sheet metal parts can be readily integrated and will follow at a later date.
The advantages of the robot cell
The present production de-partment of Siemens Process Industries and Drives has a large machining section, but only limited experience in robot programming. On the other hand employees involved in CNC programming are very familiar with the Sinumerik Operate user interface. With the SAR robot cell, CNC users are able to modify existing programs without knowledge of robots.
SAR has designed the user interface so that drilling of additional holes of various sizes and accuracy is enabled by simply pressing a few buttons. Aids such as the program guide, already integrated into Sinumerik, naturally can still be used. The flexibility of the system allows an extension of the cell for processing further steps at any time.
In this application, the classical milling machine is replaced by a robot with milling and drilling tools. The application is suitable for production applications with larger tolerances (+/- 0.1 mm). Due to the 6-axis kinematics, the robot has a larger working area in comparison to a standard machine.
The investment in this flexible and innovative solution is rapidly amortised, especially with processing of product variants, component face lifts and small series production. The price advantage is approximately 50% compared to conventional machining centres.
The investment in the SAR robot cell has also paid off for Siemens: The throughput time for FD-motors, which previously stood at three days, today on average only takes eight hours.
A step towards Industry 4.0
The robotic cell is a step towards Industry 4.0. This was the catch phrase that inspired the senior management of Siemens Nuremberg to transport production at the site into the future. The objective is to achieve integrated engineering across the entire value chain.
This means keeping everything at the software level, right from programming, through simulation and on to production of a new product or a variant. During this period, production at the plant can still continue to operate. After the simulation, the result is translated into machine code and then implemented directly from the plant.
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Industry 4.0 - CNC machining with robots
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