The professional irrigation systems and drip irrigation technology of Netafim, Ltd. (Tel Aviv, Israel), in collaboration with Innovative Products & Equipment (Tyngsboro, MA), manufacturer of special machines, to improve its modified linear transfer line, had reached its technical limits at 60 cycles per minute. The performance of this assembly and test station, which produces components fitted in these systems by the thousands, needed to be raised significantly for Netafim.
Combining disciplines in manufacturing, design, and production is no small task. All three companies recently collaborated to revamp the production system for assembling and testing plastic components for irrigation systems. The result was an increased performance of 25% — from 60 cycles-to-75 cycles per minute.
Innovative Products quickly realized that further increases in speed were only possible with a rotary indexing table that, in its design, incorporates fast processing and precision indexing in a single motion. Having had previous success with WEISS (Buchen, Germany) and its subsidiary, there were detailed engineering discussions to seek an integrated solution for Netafim’s special machine.
The goal of faster speed went further than selecting from a catalog for process-critical components. It was essential that the rotary indexing table selected attain the desired speed boost in the assembly and test system. In addition to cycle time, other values had to be factored in the design: reliability, precision, and service.
WEISS offered a system that combined a unique torque rotary indexing table featuring an indexing ring, with the biggest possible inside diameter, for the special machine. This table was coupled with five matching Pick-and-Place units to complete the system − ultimately allowing performance to rise by 25%, leading up to 75 cycles per minute.
The heart of the WEISS system featured a user-programmable TO750 torque rotary indexing table. The four-track design beats at 75 cycles per minute and allows production of 300 components per minute. On a centrally mounted plate there are 16 processing stations, which pick up, identify, seal, and visually check two plastic bowls and a sealing ring before placing them down again.
A potential source for conflict was also overcome in the selection of the control system. WEISS was able to employ drives and control systems to meet Netafirm’s specific needs. There were also concrete, technical problems to be overcome. A large amount of dust is produced when processing rubber seals, which was prevented by using special seals on the TO and the Pick-and-Place units. Ultimately, TOs and HPs were effortlessly adapted to Netafim’s preferred system.
Five HP140 Pick-and-Place units worked in combination with the TO and handled the plastic parts. It was possible to install the units internally due to the generous open-center of the TO.
The HP units worked with a combination of a horizontal and vertical axis. Most importantly, the high dynamic performance of the Pick-and-Place units matches that of the TO, which brought Netafirm’s goal of enhanced speed a reality.
Finally, Netafim was able to increase speed and precision performance significantly for its drip irrigation parts test and assembly system; giving rise to a broad range of products and solutions.
WEISS North America, Inc.
Filed Under: Design World articles, Hydraulic equipment + components, Pumps