Linear Motion

240% MORE PRODUCTIVITY IN THE SAME SPACE WITH ACTIVEMOVER

Guest Contributor: Jeroen Brands, Bosch Rexroth

Many customers aim to increase productivity in short-cycle applications, but the space available for the planned systems is limited and often set in stone. That means that our challenge is to potentially double the quantities being produced, whilst using as little space as possible.

Sounds impossible? Actually, it isn’t.

In North America, we’ve already achieved the impossible for one of our customers. The decisive solution that made all the difference was our highly flexible ActiveMover transfer system. It has enabled the customer to consolidate two stations into one, reduce the footprint by 44% per line and produce almost two and a half times the quantity in the same amount of time over virtually the same surface area.

Increasing capacity in limited spaces.

The customer was faced with unexpectedly high demand for a complex product, which required a rapid increase in production. As the plant only had limited space for new systems the customer was forced to connect two machines with different cycle times via a classic conveyor belt with a limited buffer capacity.

The system occupied a space measuring around 80 m². Three multi-stations in the system covered longer processes in order to shorten lead times. The entire process involved a total of nine work steps.

The engineers knew that this current set-up was never going to manage more than 50 products a minute and any planned capacity increase would require the basic layout to be changed.

That’s where we stepped in.

Our team suggested using the ActiveMover transfer system as the central element to the operation. It is composed of straight sections and curved units, with vertically installed, low-wear linear motors, which form a closed oval shape. Workpiece pallets travel across the entire section to precisely specified positions independently of each other. They can even approach several positions within one station, one after the other, and change their direction of travel. The individual processing stations are installed on the ActiveMover’s oval shape from outside which make them easily accessible.

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240% more productive with the same surface area.

The engineers were able to integrate all the stations in the ActiveMover in two steps. This allowed them to decouple processing stations with different cycle times and save on a range of multi-stations. The result: as opposed to the original system’s footprint of 80 m², the customer now needs less than 45 m². That corresponds to a space saving of 44%. At the same time, the output per system has increased by 20%. The customer has more or less installed two machines with increased productivity in the original space available, thereby increasing productivity by 240%.

 

CMA/Flodyne/Hydradyne is an authorized Bosch Rexroth distributor in Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa and Northern Indiana.

In addition to distribution, we design and fabricate complete engineered systems, including hydraulic power units, electrical control panels, pneumatic panels & aluminum framing. Our advanced components and system solutions are found in a wide variety of industrial applications such as wind energy, solar energy, process control and more.

Five trends that support intelligent linear motion technology in practice

Guest contributor; Dr. Steffen Haack, Bosch Rexroth AG

When it comes to progress in linear motion technology, one thing is immediately clear: linear guides and systems move increasingly larger loads more regularly and with increasingly higher positioning accuracy and repeatability. Anyone with an understanding of the interplay between the drive technologies will know the potential resulting from it.

Through a combination of electrics, sensors and software, linear motion technology makes a crucial contribution for integrated factory. Here are the five trends that support intelligent linear motion technology in practice:

Figure 1: Modularization and flexibilityBild1

Ready-to-install electromechanical cylinders combine mechanics with the flexibility of electric drives. A software command to the electric drive and the cylinder move them to any position and carry out complicated movement profiles. Without an additional position measuring system, they can achieve repeatability of up to ± 0.01 mm. Load measuring pins transmit the values analogously to the electric drive or the control and enable a decentralized process management.

Figure 2: Functional integration reduces complexityA006_C010_0101XP

If the precision requirements are high but the environment conditions are rough, conventional measuring systems soon reach their limits. Absolute measuring systems integrated into ball rail and roller rail systems detect the absolute position of the axis with a resolution of 0.025 μm. They immediately recognize the absolute position of the axis when the machine is switched on and report it to the controller without carrying out a reference run. In addition, modern systems do not require buffer batteries that need to be replaced regularly.

Figure 3: Predictive maintenance increases availabilityA008_C023_0101C0

Sensors measure temperature peaks and vibrations. This data forms the basis for future approaches to predictive maintenance. However, it is only significant if it is compared with life cycle models. In load tests, the newly developed runner blocks have demonstrated twice the service life through increased load capacities with the same size. Together with the detected operating conditions and predictive maintenance, they significantly increase the availability of machines and systems.

Figure 4: Digitally supported commissioningBild4

Previously, an experienced technician could easily have spent twenty minutes commissioning a linear axis. With the new mechatronic linear axes and actuators, the commissioning takes only three to five minutes. A digital assistant supports the application engineer with this. The technician only has to enter a few pieces of axis-specific data and can then immediately program or parameterize the drive. In the future, this functionality will automatically be available via the QR code.

Figure 5: Digital engineering for secure and quick dimensioningBild5

More and more engineering departments are changing to integrated digital workflows. With selection guides or sizing tools, design engineers find the correct linear motion technology components and mechatronic systems through intuitive user guidance, which can even be application-specifically configured. The electronically generated data are then integrated directly into the digital construction model and enables the virtual simulation of complex machine movements, for example.

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CMA/Flodyne/Hydradyne is an authorized  Bosch Rexroth distributor in Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa and Northern Indiana.

In addition to distribution, we design and fabricate complete engineered systems, including hydraulic power units, electrical control panels, pneumatic panels & aluminum framing. Our advanced components and system solutions are found in a wide variety of industrial applications such as wind energy, solar energy, process control and more.