When Alpha Integration, a manufacturer of turn-key automated assembly, vision and testing systems, needed a solution for its 6-ft-tall automotive parts assembly machine, Weiss North America., a specialist in rotary tables and automation, “tiered-up” a chassis and indexing table system solution.
Engineers from Alpha wanted an open center indexer to mount the tooling toward the inside of the dial system on a stationary center plate. This design configuration would accommodate ease-of-loading for its 12 load stations, as well as providing clear viewing of the processes and easier maintenance.
The key to the system involved the stationary center plate, dial plate and base frames. These were all manufactured, machined and delivered to the client as a one-source, preassembled system. This allowed Alpha to build the nest and station assemblies offline so that they could be integrated to the dial system with ease.
￼At the core of the system was the Weiss TR1500 rotary index table ring with a large open center, which offered a low-profile design with a high level of accuracy and ring diameters of up to 2,200 mm. This also reduced the overall footprint of the machine with improved accuracy and access to parts.
The height limitations of the chassis design were overcome by using one base frame that leveraged two other riser frames to make up the rest of the height. The first riser attached to the top of the base frame and supported the index table that featured a 90.5-in.-diameter tool plate. The second riser frame was used to support the electroless-nickel plated steel stationary plate. Ultimately, the frame/riser system design was able to lift the index table up to the specified height requirements, with the final system structure resembling a “three-tiered cake.”
The majority of the machine’s 12 stations required a press station to be bolted on top of the 1-in.-thick, steel stationary plate. These press assembly stations apply downward force onto the nests that are carried by the index table’s aluminum tool plate. To overcome potentially debilitating force of approximately 900 lb acting on the 410 lb center stationary plate and index table, the design leveraged an intermediate riser weldment going through the indexer and bolting to the middle riser frame which by-passed the indexer completely—creating a “no-forces” solution onto the index table that promotes longevity.
All of the system’s tables and rings offered accurate dowel holes on all mounting surfaces, including the main casting for mounting to the machine base, the rotating dial plate for easy mounting of the tool plate, and on-the-center stationary plate.
With the Weiss dial system design at the centerpiece of the assembly, Alpha was able to keep all of the tooling and mounting originating from the interior of the dial assembly—allowing servicing of the system to be much easier. Additionally, because there is no tooling in the way, the dial system is wide open for ease of loading, and allows for an easier view of the entire production process. The new system provides a 26-sec cycle time with an indexing speed of 2.3 sec.
To facilitate the collaborative assembly design effort, Weiss’s engineers also used the same CAD/3D software platform as Alpha Integration. This allowed the companies to conveniently share CAD files.
Currently, three more of the same system configuration solutions are being manufactured and assembled by Weiss for Alpha Integration.
Weiss North America
Filed Under: TECHNOLOGIES + PRODUCTS