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Success story

Stäubli robot tool changers decrease almost 100% tool change time

Complicated Connections Call for Automated Solutions

The challenge

USA based Arcadia Aerospace Industries provides the aerospace sector with state-of-the-art inspection solutions. The company has developed advanced instrumentation and automated systems that make a valuable contribution within the carbon fiber composite laminate, and structural component markets.

When tasked with developing a robot based non-destructive testing system, which would require around 100 DC electrical connections, 8 data connections, 3 high flow valved fluid connections, and high-powered AC electrical connections, Arcadia Aerospace clearly had multiple challenges to overcome:

  • Housing all these technologies within in a single, compact, and relatively lightweight unit.
  • Operating within an arduous environment where both dust and water are present.
  • Increasing the utilization of the robots within the cell to maximize efficiency.

Overcoming these challenges would require the use of an automatic robot tool changer, however any unit chosen would have to be capable of integrating multiple modules to provide the complex connectivity required.

 

The solution

The Only Turnkey Solution on the Market

Recognized worldwide as a leading technological pioneer in the design and development of robotic tool changing systems, Stäubli was approached by Arcadia Aerospace to assist in the configuration of an automated tool changing system. This solution would need to integrate seamlessly with their TX200 robots and also address the complex requirements of this application.

The solution to this demanding application is based upon Stäubli’s customized option, which allows the configuration and construction of special, application-specific solutions:

  • The design of the Stäubli Tool Changer allows the integration of multiple modules, including a comprehensive range for energy and data connection, an essential feature for this application.
  • Stäubli’s Tool Changer technology incorporates integrated compliance on the tool stand, which means the robot programming is simpler and the robot can dock more reliably when in production.
  • Protection from the working environment is enhanced using tool cover solutions.
  • Full utilization of Stäubli’s unique, customizable CombiTac electrical modules that help to efficiently manage electrical and data connections

The result of Stäubli’s collaboration on this project is a customized turnkey solution from a single supplier, which not only meets all the application requirements but has the flexibility to allow it to be utilized across many different testing procedures, including but not limited to conventional UT, laser scanning, and flash thermography.

The result 

Almost a 100% Decrease in Tool Change Time

The ability to have several technologies in one compact package has resulted in a smaller tool changer footprint while completing testing.

In addition to saving space, using the automated tool changer has exponentially increased throughput on the robot cell. Before integrating the automated tool changer on the systems, customers needed to undertake a time-consuming manual process, switching between the various testing technologies. Whereas the manual changeover process took anywhere between 30-60 minutes, the same changeover, using the automated tool changer, takes only 30-60 seconds to complete. The synergy between Stäubli Fluid Connectors, Stäubli Robotics, and Stäubli Electrical Connectors has delivered tremendous value for Arcadia Aerospace:

  • Greater levels of productivity and efficiency, whilst maintaining the highest levels of quality and reducing costs
  • An innovative approach that helps to address rapidly changing demands and to satisfy the stringent quality demands of the sector.
  • A flexible approach capable of being configured with the non-destructive testing technologies required to meet the specific needs of individual customers.

THE PARTNER

Arcadia Aerospace Industries was founded in 2008 with a mission to provide the aerospace industry with state-of-the-art inspection solutions by effectively utilizing the philosophies of high quality, advanced techniques, and superior customer service. AAI’s leading aerospace composite inspection technology team utilizes proprietary technology and extensive aerospace expertise to provide aerospace and industry leaders with cost-effective, time-efficient and superb-quality solutions to advanced metal and composite material challenges in inspection, engineering, quality and special process manufacturing.

“We are endeavoring to provide a very flexible and customizable solution for our customers. Working with Stäubli, we have found that they have taken our needs and met them every step of the way, no matter our size. Our needs have been their needs and they come to us with solutions very quickly” 

Mark Pope

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