Automation of a rotary indexing machine
The Redtenbacher slogan «Alles rund um die Brille» («Everything peripheral to eyewear») sums up the company’s core business. This multinational firm manufactures particular parts, primarily for the eyewear industry. Redtenbacher relies on a high level of vertical integration, boasting an impressive level of precision and pioneering automation solutions.
For the production of customized spectacle hinges, it was necessary to pair up one of the rotary indexing machines with a robot capable of loading parts into the system. The basic requirement for this was to identify a robot that had the ability to handle precision parts in a harsh working environment. Any robot operating inside the machining cells inevitably gets splashed with coolant oil, which would soon cause a conventional six-axis robot to break down. Robots supplied by Stäubli are now considered the market leader for such applications.
Stäubli robots have been designed to carry on working to specification even under the most adverse conditions. All cables and media lines are routed inside the compact and fully enclosed robot arm. For optimal protection, all connectors are located underneath the robot pedestal. In addition, Stäubli incorporates its own proprietary drive technology manufactured in-house. The advantages: maximum dynamics, low maintenance and above-average service life. Redtenbacher had found the right robot for this demanding task.
A compact, high-precision and high performance robot
Due to the limited space available in the rotary indexing machine, Redtenbacher opted for the six-axis TX40 robot with its range of 515 mm. The compact dimensions reduce the space requirement to a minimum. The possibility of ceiling mounting meant that the robot could be easily integrated into the production cell. Its spherical working area also allows for optimal use of the working space.
The specific task assigned to the six-axis machine is the loading of the parts to be manufactured in the first of the 16 processing stations. The requirement for a cycle time of 4.2 seconds and a positioning accuracy of Once loaded, the part is manufactured in a rotary cycle that takes in all the individual machining units.
Safety and flexibility
When it came to integrating the robot, the high level of transparency of the robot controller and of its various interfaces was extremely beneficial. The Redtenbacher team have also been impressed with the support given by Stäubli in integrating the robot into the machine control unit, as well as the programming and commissioning.
Further advantages: Thanks to the sophisticated safety technology of the Stäubli robots, the risk of injury to the operator is almost zero compared to other pneumatic loading systems. The biggest plus point is, however, the high level of flexibility conferred by the robot: the machine can be converted to another product relatively quickly.
In the near future, the management at Redtenbacher intend increase their number of robots so that they can have the flexibility to equip machines for multiple orders. With the excellent performance of the robot systems and the outstanding service offered, Stäubli will continue to be the first point of contact for such projects.