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Human-machine interface and articulated arm robot from Mitsubishi Electriccover story

With a high degree of automation, the Rodinger plastics technology GmbH (RKT) the required quality and economy in the production of various Plastic parts for the automotive industry, electronics industry, communication technology and medical technology. The automation technology for the Plastic Injection Molding Machine comes from Mitsubishi Electric, including numerous 6-axisRobot RV-2FR and the Human-machine interface GOT2000.

RKT pad printing cell with feed stationHidden champions is the name of a company that, with the exception of the people directly involved and a few other exceptions, nobody knows, although they are absolutely leaders in their field. Rodinger Kunststoff Technik GmbH (RKT) is such a hidden champion. Over 350 million injection molded parts are manufactured here with up to three plastic components on the machines, sometimes with a precision of 3 µm.

One of the most important fields of activity for RKT is Medical Technology. In the manufacture of medical technology products, exact, reproducible manufacturing conditions on the machine play a decisive role. In a controlled area similar to ISO8 in the production halls at RKT, the plastics experts manufacture parts for so-called pens that are used to administer growth hormones. Regular therapy can help patients with a relatively small height to support their growth.

The automation used in the plants for these industrial production processes must be exact. RKT therefore relies on the 6-axis robot RV-2FR from Mitsubishi Electric from the small robot series for inserting the pen caps previously produced on an injection molding system into a tampon pressure cell. RKT is one of the first users of this type.

Fully automatic robot removal cell

Transfer station of the robot“We have around a total of around our location 40 robots from Mitsubishi Electric in use, which we use in a wide variety of injection molding machines to remove the freshly injected plastic parts. Our previous experience with the different robot models has always been very good, ”explains Jonas Barke, automation process engineer at RKT. "When developing our two new pad printing cells, we wanted to rely on Mitsubishi Electric's tried and tested technology from the start."

A key reason for choosing the RV-2FR robot was its high level repeatability of ± 0,02 mm, Jonas Barke recalls: “The unprinted caps are made available via a Flexibowl conveyor plate. The situation is recorded by an image processing system attached above. After evaluating the image, the robot receives the position coordinates of a well-positioned cap, grips it and then puts it on the next free pin of the following rotary indexing machine with a fixed orientation. The caps are then pretreated and printed on it. ”There is little room for error-free printing between the cap holder and cap diameter. The robot must therefore transfer the plastic parts very precisely to the rotary indexing machine.

Robots with optimal range

Due to the parts weighing only a few grams, the maximum load of 2 kg of the RV-2FR is far from being exhausted. The maximum movement speed of 4950 mm / s is also not fully used in this system due to the clocking of 15 components / min. "When planning and implementing the robot feed cell with our system integrator, we were able to determine the dimensions so that we can reach all the necessary positions with the ideal range radius of the robot of 504 mm," says the process engineer. "In combination with their high repeatability, the RV-2FR robots are perfect for us in this application."

Human-machine interface - robot symbiosis

Human-machine interface to the robotIn addition to the robot, there is also a HMI control unit of the type GOT2000 from Mitsubishi Electric integrated in the cell. It serves as a user interface or human machine interface to the robot. The human machine interface allows operations to be operated and the entire system to be started and stopped. "The interaction between the robot and the HMI is already integrated in the robot controller and enables intuitive setup and operation without a long training period for the HMI," emphasizes Mr. Barke. "It is particularly worthwhile here that these two key components of the cell come from one company."

In addition to the technical features of the user interface and robot, there was also the Service from Mitsubishi Electric An important decision criterion for the RKT specialist: “The partner for system integration has given us special training on the possibilities of the robot and the HMi. Thanks to her, we were able to significantly reduce our training period. The support from Mitsubishi Electric was always prompt and very helpful when it came to answering technical questions. ”According to Andreas Persch, Head of Sales and Projects, the pad printing cell is economically worthwhile with an amortization period of just 18 months.

6-axis robot with maintenance function

Injection molded components from RKTWith the introduction of the RV-2FR series, Mitsubishi Electric has the technical possibilities of its compact 6-axis robot raised to a new level. The basic model of this series already has an integrated, fully equipped controller and offers the user numerous new possibilities. The RV-2FR includes a number of maintenance functions. They can be used, for example, to detect wear on the axle motors at an early stage and then optimize maintenance. Predictive maintenance improves considerably as a result.

Tobias Lausmann acts as sales contact for Mitsubishi Electric. He sees the easy integration of the RV-2FR in various automation systems as another strength: “In the pad printing cell at RKT, the Flexibowl, the image processing system and the rotary indexing machine are built into several systems with which the robot has to communicate. The RV-2FR masters this requirement with flying colors due to its numerous interface options. ”Jonas Barke also sees the implementation of the cell as problem-free because the associated software with the experience with robots at RKT as well as quick training through implementation allowed.

Numerous applications thanks to high mobility

Andreas Persch and Tobias LausmannAccording to Tobias Lausmann, the RV-2FR robots are suitable because of their exceptional mobility ideal for high-precision applications in the smallest of spaces. Examples can be found in assembly or assembly, palletizing or sorting as well as adhesive processes. Here the RV-2FR can fully demonstrate its speed and accuracy.

"At RKT, I see many more options for using various Mitsubishi Electric robots," emphasizes process engineer Jonas Barke. "Reliability and economy over the entire life cycle are the decisive arguments for us to continue working with Mitsubishi Electric."

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The Author
Peter Stiefenhöfer

Peter Stiefenhöfer is a freelance editor and business owner PS Marcom Services, Olching.

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