ROBOTIC BLAST SYSTEMS FOR AEROSPACE PARTS
Guyson Corporation (Saratoga Springs, NY) has designed and built a robotic grit-blasting machine that is specially adapted for processing aircraft turbine blades in production lots. The RB-10-TC was developed for lightly attended operation and blasts an entire pallet-load of components without human intervention. A Fanuc M-10iA robot is mounted on a pedestal inside the 60 in x 60 in blast enclosure and is fitted with a custom-engineered gripper as end-of-arm tooling. A single suction-blast gun or pressure-blast nozzle is bracketed in position within easy reach of the component-manipulating robot.
To enable re-gripping of blades in order to obtain uniform coverage of areas obscured by the robot’s part-holding gripper, a stationary auxiliary clamp or gripper or is provided. The RB-10-TC design incorporates a servomotor-driven linear actuator on a rigid stand attached to one side of the blast cabinet that carries a transfer cart in and out of the process chamber. Custom-designed pallets or fixture trays securely cradle the blades in the correct location and orientation for robotic picking. Controlled as a seventh axis of robotic motion by the Fanuc R-30iB robot controller, the transfer cart is made with alignment hardware to positively locate the interchangeable pallets filled with turbine blades, so the components are presented to the robot in precisely the expected position.
In operation, the robotic arm grasps a component from the pallet, which then withdraws from the cabinet through an opening with a pneumatically-actuated sliding door. The robot exposes the part to the blast, constantly maintaining the correct stand-off distance and blast angle, while smoothly manipulating the blade in the programmed tool path to follow the contours of the component at the proper surface speed to assure thorough and uniform coverage. At the end of the blast cycle, the component is replaced in the tray pocket it came from, and the robot repeats the identical process until all the parts on the pallet are finished.
The robotic blast system is completed by a cyclone separator/media reclaimer that removes dust and fines from the recirculated grit, a vibratory screen classifier to ensure that only grit particles of the specified size are fed to the blast gun and a cartridge dust collector that maintains negative pressure in the blast chamber, generates sufficient air flow to convey media through the reclaimer and ensures that air discharged into the plant environment is free of particulates. The self-cleaning dust collector is optionally fitted with a HEPA filter.
Guyson also has a new version of its RB-RSSA-8 robotic blast system that is customized according to the special requirements for cleaning and surface preparation of machined aerospace castings using either shot or grit media. The new variant of the long-established model has a Fanuc Robotics LR Mate-200iD 6-axis robot mounted on the reinforced back wall of the blast chamber, a position that allows greater reach and motion capability to accommodate the range of components to be processed by the customer. In previous versions, a larger robot is mounted on a pedestal or hung from the roof of the cabinet.
A 24 in diameter turntable is adapted to accept the component-holding fixtures for all parts to be blasted and is servomotor-driven, so the radial orientation of the component is coordinated as a seventh axis by the robot’s R-30iB controller. A jib crane mounted on the roof of the blast enclosure and a rubber-flapped crane slot facilitate loading of heavy parts onto the table, which is designed with a weight capacity of 250 lb. The media reclamation and delivery system of the custom RB-RSSA-8 robotic blasting machine is configured to enable separation of stainless steel shot and aluminum oxide grit media fed to two different pressure pots of 2.3 cu ft capacity. Depending on the particular components to be treated, an operator connects either the blast hose from the grit-blast pressure vessel or the shot-blast pressure pot.
Dust collection for the system is provided by a single cartridge-type collector with an extraction value of 2,000 cfm designed and built by the robotic blast machine manufacturer. The nozzle-manipulating robot is fitted with a custom-tailored suit made from laminated material with fabric and polymer film plies to isolate the precision articulated arm from the harsh abrasive environment of the blasting chamber. In operation, the 7-axis robotic blasting system executes the motion program for each different component with consistent accuracy, constantly maintaining the correct nozzle angle, stand-off distance and surface speed to produce an identical surface condition on all areas of the part, even as it follows the contours of complex-shaped components.
Quick access to pre-programmed recipes for dozens of different components, as well as real-time process data, such as blast pressure and media levels, is provided by a custom-designed touch screen human-machine interface (HMI). In addition to its process monitoring and control functions, the HMI displays production statistics and prompts for the performance of important maintenance activities or inspections that are driven by the total number of blasting hours.
Prospective users of automated or robotic blasting equipment are encouraged to submit sample components for free laboratory testing and application engineering evaluation at the blast machinery manufacturer’s factory in northeastern New York State.
ROLL FORM TOOLING SETUP PACKAGE GETS JOB UP AND RUNNING FAST
Roll-Kraft (Mentor, OH), a leading provider of tube and pipe and roll forming tooling and services, has taken another step in advancing its already industry-leading 97 percent “first-time tooling performance” with the introduction of its new roll form tooling setup package that accompanies all new roll form tooling orders and includes all of the information a shop needs to get their new tooling up and running the first time. The package includes:
- Standard Operating Procedures – a step-by-step guide for best results.
- Roll Tryout Record – notes for optimal performance from Roll-Kraft technicians.
- Drawings – all drawing records for the purchased tooling.
Users are already seeing the results of the new setup package. “They have analyzed customer requirements on newly tooled projects and developed a thorough documented set-up process,” said Randy Myers, the senior technical director of product development at American Roll Form (ARF; Painesville, OH). “Their engineers started forwarding us completed setup packages that have proven to be invaluable. Going forward, we will be utilizing these exclusively and we appreciate all the time and effort that they have put forth to offer this. It’s a great tool to add to the ‘Tool Box’!”
Roll-Kraft, 8901 Tyler Boulevard, Mentor, OH 44060, 440-205-3100, Fax: 440-205-3110, roll-kraft.com.
PLASMA CUTTER WITH INTERNAL AIR COMPRESSOR FOR CUTTING ON THE GO
Hypertherm Inc. (Hanover, NH), a U.S.-based manufacturer of plasma, laser, and waterjet cutting systems, offers the Powermax30® AIR, a portable air plasma system and internal compressor in one. With the built-in compressor and the ability to operate on both 120 volt or 240 volt lines, this highly versatile system enables metal cutting just about anywhere. Weighing only 30 lb (13.5 kg), the Powermax30 AIR provides 30 amps of output, giving it the highest power to weight ratio of any system in its class.
“With a recommended cut capacity of 5/16 in (8 mm) and a severance capacity of 5/8 in (16 mm) this system can easily and quickly cut a variety of metal types and thicknesses, making it a great entry level cutting tool for a variety of professions, as well as home users,” explains Harry Mellott, a Hypertherm Powermax specialist. This high power-to-weight ratio is due in part to several engineering advances, including an all new patent-pending consumable design that optimizes air flow from the compact internal compressor. This design directly contributes to the efficiency of the system and delivers consistent cut performance.
The Powermax30 AIR is rugged and reliable, with Hypertherm Certified™ reliability to perform in the most demanding environments. It is available from authorized distributors around the world near you.
There are also patented HyAccess™ extended consumables for Powermax30, Powermax30 XP, and Powermax45 plasma systems that extend 3 in longer than standard consumables for better visibility and accessibility when cutting or gouging in hard to reach areas or confined spaces. The improved visibility and access achieved with HyAccess eliminates the need for certain secondary operations or multiple cutting passes. Metal workers specializing in equipment and vehicle repair, structural work, and jobs requiring angular cutting or gouging now have a new tool to make hard work easier.
HyAccess consumables are available from all authorized Hypertherm distributors and are offered individually or as part of an all-in-one kit that includes two electrodes, two nozzles (one for cutting and one for gouging), a retaining cap, and swirl ring.
Hypertherm Inc., 21 Great Hollow Road , PO Box 5010, Hanover, NH 03755, 603-643-3441, Fax: 603-643-5352, www.hypertherm.com.
NEAR-NET-SHAPE STEEL RINGS IMPROVE MACHINING
Production of near-net-shape rolled and forged stainless steel rings by Ovako North America Inc. (Fort Mill, SC) uses closely managed hot-rolled ring mill techniques to help shops to reduce process costs and cut down on waste. Rolled and forged steel rings are vital components for applications in the rolling bearing, heavy vehicle, automotive and machine tool manufacturing industries, but machining can be costly due to issues of weight and generation of waste materials. As a leading producer of high quality rolled and forged rings for nearly a century, Ovako has heavily invested and further expanded its capabilities to deliver rolled and forged rings that are extremely close to the final component sizes of customers.
This allows shops to focus on their assembly or final targets with reduced needs for further machining and the associated costs and material waste, such as polluting dust. Some surfaces may even require no further machining at all, providing even more cost-efficient and time-effective processes. The whole production chain is strictly controlled from the initial melt by carefully managing oxygen levels to manufacture exceptionally clean steels all the way through to the precision rolling of the rings. Every ring is inspected upon completion for surface defects, discrepancies in their inner and outer diameter, width, height, conicity, ovality and squareness by utilizing an inventive inspection system.
Cleaner steels can enable longer operational lifespans for products with higher wear and corrosion resistance, and reduce maintenance and lifecycle costs. These near-net-shape rings have very tight tolerances for minimal deviation from each client’s desired net dimensions, with small allowances to accommodate waste reduction targets. They can be heat treated before delivery, including normalized, soft annealed, quenched and tempered and more. To facilitate individual customer requirements, virtually any ring profile shape can be manufactured in dimensions of 170 mm to 4,000 mm and weight ranges between 7 kg to 5,000 kg. All of the rings are of stable quality, with tests carried out on every batch and batch deliveries that are adaptable to suit each customer’s unique requirements.
Ovako opened a new hot-rolled ring mill at its works in Hofors, Sweden to increase its manufacturing capacity by 75 percent, from around 30,000 tons to 55,000 tons, which is equivalent to more than 3.5 million bespoke rings manufactured per year with processes that few ring producers can match in terms of consistent quality from delivery to delivery.
Ovako North America Inc., 1096 Assembly Drive, Suite 312 Fort Mill, SC 29708, 803-802-1500, Fax: 803-802-1501, www.ovako.com/North-America.
Amid Challenges, Majority of Metalformers Predict Little Change in Economic Activity
U.S and Canadian incoming orders expected to remain steady, according to the latest barometer reading from the Precision Metalforming Association.
U.S. Manufacturing Grows in September –– PMI Dips 0.6% to 55.4
The Institute for Supply Management reports that among the six biggest industries, food, beverage & tobacco remains the best-performing sector, with fabricated metal and chemical products growing strongly.