Conceptual Design for an Automated Press Tending System
Robotics & Automation Engineering

image of automated press tending system reduces manual labor requirements. View video in Windows Media.

Automated press tending system reduces manual labor requirements. View video in Windows Media.

A forge client was interested in reducing the amount of manual labor involved in handling parts throughout the process of forging and trimming those parts. They requested that Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) develop a conceptual design to automate in-process and finished handling of forged parts. SwRI developed multiple robotic automation cell concepts to accommodate parts of different size ranges. SwRI also created end-effector concepts for facilitating the part handling and in-process treatment of the forge dies.

Background of the Automated Press Tending System

The forge client operates a series of press pairs that forge and trim a variety of parts ranging from 10 to 200 lbs. A three-step forging process transforms the raw billet to a finished part in a 3,500- to 5,000-ton press. The excess flashing is then removed using a 200-ton trim press. Moving the part to each of three forging positions, as well as cleaning, cooling, and lubricating the forge dies between press cycles and tending the trim press is a labor-intensive process. With labor as the single greatest expense in this operation, the client sought to reduce the number of personnel required to run the presses. Automation had the great potential to accomplish this cost-cutting goal.

Automated System Project Solution

SwRI first worked closely with the client to develop a detailed set of system requirements. From these requirements, SwRI engineers brainstormed and analyzed a series of automation concepts, then developed the most promising concepts. Using client-supplied equipment and layout drawings, as well as field measurements taken at the plant, SwRI created 3D models and animations to illustrate how the automated work cells would solve the client's problem. As part of the design, SwRI presented concepts for end effectors that would be used for handling raw billets, in-process parts, trimmed flash, and finished parts, as well as cleaning, cooling, and lubricating the dies.

Results/Outcome of Automated System Design

The conceptual design for an automated press tending system was well-received, and the client was very impressed with the effort and results of the design. As is the case with many of SwRI's client-funded projects, the design became the property of the client to use in any way that would best benefit their business.

Related Terminology

automation concepts  •  automated system  •  end-effector concepts  •  robotics  •  robotic torque converter  •  conceptual design  •  forged parts

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