When ZEIBINA Kunststoff-Technik GmbH sought to upgrade its manual demolding process for automotive lighting reflectors, it went to FIPA to correct the problem. Previously, to ensure part removal free of marks or paint-wetting impairment substances (PWIS), employees had to handle hot (120°C) plastic parts themselves. FIPA’s new custom gripper automated this process and also reduced cycle times to 33 seconds, considerably increasing factory throughput.
The engineers at FIPA’s primary manufacturing facility designed the custom gripper system to include components from the company’s modular construction kit. This kit includes: sprue grippers combining high closing force for secure gripping with a soft, heat-resistant HBNR elastomer coating, finger grippers that prevent laterally slipping, and sensor-enabled grippers that monitor the handling sequence.
“After the lighting reflector blanks are removed from the injection molding machine, they’re transported to another system that coats the plastic parts with vaporized aluminum and other metals to ensure high surface stability. But for this process to be a success, the parts must be pristine, which proved too challenging for off-the-shelf solutions,” said Dirk Zeibig, managing director at ZEIBINA.
“Due to the shape of ZEIBINA’s injection-molded parts and the force required to remove them from the mold, it was clear that a standard vacuum cup solution would not suffice. So, after a close and open exchange with the ZEIBINA team, our engineers used several components from our modular gripper kit to customize an automated handling system to their lighting reflector manufacturing process,” said Rainer Mehrer, President of FIPA. FIPA components used to assemble the custom gripper system for ZEIBINA’s injection-molded reflector process include:
GR04.103 sprue grippers which feature a high-strength, anodized aluminum body and actuator jaws with both gap-free closing capabilities for small sprues and a 10mm clamping diameter to accommodate larger parts;
GR04.103-4 interchangeable sprue gripper jaws coated with extremely soft hydrogenated nitrile butadiene rubber (HNBR), which enable the mark-free gripping of delicate components.
GR04.101A single-acting sprue grippers with direct part detection and large area sensor activation capabilities, regardless of sprue position.
GR04.045 35° angle stroke gripper fingers with single-action, spring return design.
LT10 compact reflective sensors, which enable the long-range optical monitoring of workpieces, can accommodate any mounting position and feature a small footprint, adjustable sensitivity, an LED display, and lightweight body; and a variety of clamping elements, extrusions, and profiles.