TranTek Takes Automation for Major Auto Manufacturer to a New Level– “Flying Robots”

Automation Equipment for Automobile Manufacturing.

TranTek, April 17, 2012

TranTek Automation Corporation, a Traverse City, Michigan automation integration company, has completed the design and engineering of a brand new line for a major U.S. tier one auto manufacturer. The application is an improved automation concept for a series of camshaft machining centers that traditionally used separate linear motion gantry-style pick and place mechanisms and floor conveyors. This new 7th Axis Robotic design reduces the amount of fixed automation equipment required, cuts four individual automation systems down to one, uses less energy, and frees up floor space while providing capital equipment flexibility.

By integrating top loader Fanuc ® material handling “flying robots” on a overhead rail, separate fixed automation can be removed at each of the CNC machining centers. In the traditional configuration, each machining center had a linear gantry deliver camshafts to and from a conveyor on the shop floor. In this new design, overhead robots pick up and deliver parts from cell to cell. Each movement to the machining center includes removal of a finished part and delivery of a raw part.

The traditional design also required hundreds of feet of fixed floor conveyors to feed the machining cells. The new configuration by TranTek eliminates the entire conveyor system, freeing up valuable floor space. With the conveyors removed, operators and quality control personnel can move freely around the machine centers.

But one of the biggest benefits is capital equipment flexibility. The CNC machining cells can be upgraded or replaced without changing the automation system. Because the robots can be programmed for variable part positioning, exact machine location and alignment is no longer critical. The manufacturer also has the flexibility to re-use the automation and install a completely different line in the future.

The robot programming by TranTek engineers also includes the ability to “park” one robot and use a single robot to feed all machining centers. This feature virtually insures there will be no downtime in the system.

All of the engineering, design, and functionality of the system was provided by TranTek Automation. By integrating standard automation products, and by simulating reach studies and cycle times in advance, a faster design/build cycle was accomplished.

TranTek Automation has designed and engineered a multitude of automated camshaft and crankshaft applications, handling products weighing from 6 pounds each to crankshafts for heavy equipment weighing over 1700 pounds. Founded in 1986, TranTek specializes in designing and manufacturing of automation systems including robotic integration, automated assembly, automated welding, and automated material handling systems for the automotive, manufacturing, electronics, appliance, and defense industries.

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