Robotic milling of aluminum profiles
The highly competitive nature of the automotive industry is constantly driving new manufacturing concepts. ACL Automotive has recently entrusted the machining of roof rails to the nimble hands of Stäubli robots and is well satisfied with the results.
An established supplier to the automotive industry, the Czech-based company ACL manufactures products such as roof rails and carriers. One of its main customers is Skoda. The roofs of models such as the Fabia II, Octavia III and Yeti are graced with products emanating from the ACL Automotive factory in Liberec, northern Bohemia. ACL has many years of experience in manufacturing roof rails.
The production line, as previously configured, could only offer one variant. Now however, capacity has been increased and two variants are being produced. In order to meet the new production requirements, ACL brought plant designer and constructor Ultratech on board. The experts from Ultratech were tasked with proposing an economical alternative.
End-to-end processing in four operation cycles
For the new project, Ultratech had to come up with a highly individual solution, because it quickly became clear that building a classic four-axis system would be too complex and time-consuming. In the search for a suitable robot manufacturer, Ultratech contacted the Czech branch office of Stäubli in Pardubice. The staff there immediately turned their minds to the challenge and carried out tests with various six-axis models. The exemplary customer service provided by the local team and the impressive performance of the TX200 six-axis robots they recommended were the main reasons behind Ultratech’s decision in favor of Stäubli.
The new plant was designed for processing two different aluminum profiles. During production, there are always four pairs of workpieces distributed over the four stations in the plant. After manual insertion, a profile pair enters the lower section of the area in the first cycle. There, four servo-driven saws trim the profiles to the correct length. During the next cycle, the profiles enter the work area of the two TX200 industrial robots.
The twin six-axis robots working in parallel at either end of the profile carry identical tool heads with two milling spindles. They use their larger 13-millimeter milling cutter to remove the rough excess and a six-millimeter cutter for the finis