Monday, May 18, 2009

Schuler Fits Blankloaders For Servo Press Lines

A German car manufacturer is using Schuler high-speed sheet-metal blank loaders for automated feeding of its new power-press lines. The high-speed blankloaders enable the mass manufacturing of single and multiple parts on three new Schuler servo press lines. The blankloader is flexible and can process single or double blanks made of steel or aluminium, either next to or behind each other, and offers a high de-stacking performance.

Two robots alternately remove the blanks from the first de-stacking station and place them on a transport belt. The blanks are then transported through a spray lubrication unit to the optical centring station, where a robot centres them ready for loading into the first press stage. Schuler's automation solution includes a crossbar feeder that then places the blanks into the die of the first press. Reiner Doerner, head of product management at Schuler Automation, said: 'Once the first de-stacking station has been emptied, the robots automatically change to the second.' The blankloader can handle up to 20 single or 40 double blanks a minute.

There is also the possibility of providing the press line with up to 60 quadruple blanks. Doerner added: 'On the one hand, both steel and aluminium blanks can be processed and at the same time the entire system is very gentle on the material used, as the two robots work alternately.' The loader can also process single blanks of up to 4100 x 2000mm or double blanks that can lie either next to or behind each other. Doerner said: 'In view of these possibilities, the system is ideally suited to the manufacturing of panels or structural parts for cars.' The blankloader's optical centring station further benefits production.

At this stage in the automation chain, the position of the blanks can still be changed so that their positions in the de-stacking station don't necessarily have to be the same as their subsequent positions in the die. Moreover, the blanks cannot be damaged in the centring station as they are centred optically (without the use of mechanical pushers). Schuler installed the entire system, comprising blankloaders, servo presses, press linkage with crossbar feeder and finished-part removal.

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