人与机器专家
成功案例 17.09.2018

高效机加工

全新铣削机器人助力生产回归

概述

来自比利时的一家绝缘产品制造商正在开创复合材料零部件铣削的新方式。这些以往由传统机床完成的工作,如今得以用灵活且高度精确的铣削机器人处理。因此,公司过去投资于中国的生产要素现在可以迁移回国。

有电流的地方就需要隔离处理。这一准则从1934年至今都真实可靠。而位于比利时布鲁塞尔的Isolants Victor Hallet公司从成立之初就生产应用于电气绝缘的定制组件。这一跨国公司的客户包括从事铁路车辆、电气机械、电厂组件、风力发电等产品生产的欧洲知名制造商。公司超过80%的产品用于出口。

如今,创始人Hallet家族已传承到第四代,公司可提供丰富的产品系列,主要包括由基于环氧树脂或聚酯树脂的多类复合材料,直到最近都仅通过典型的机加工方式处理。公司销售经理Vincent Hallet表示:“我们通常使用由三轴和五轴CNC铣削设备加工的板材。”

组件批量——每年从单个到数以万计——由于组件本身的复杂性而完全不同。简单组件的加工由中国的合作厂家完成,而具有复杂3D形状的工件则在比利时生产。

在过去的两年间,公司已大力投入追求健康长期发展。 “我们建了一个新的生产厂房,并且仔细考虑了改善已有技术,以优化充实我们的设备园区,”Hallet补充道。经过对多种工艺的审慎思考,Hallet最终决定购买一个更具通用性的机加工系统:“我们得出结论:铣削机器人可以同时提供最佳柔性和最大产能。”

精度出众的铣削机器人

在拟定一份技术规格列表后,Hallet开始与多家机器人供应商洽谈,其中包括史陶比尔比荷卢分公司,史陶比尔合作伙伴,来自比利时的VDS bvba of Proven公司也加入了该项目。VDS公司在自动化铣削应用领域具有25年的丰富经验,总经理Lander Debruyne表示:“我们的核心竞争力始终是我们的铣削设备,最初我们采用三轴机器,后来用五轴的,如今用机器人。由于我们的客户在精加工方面的高要求,我们坚持使用在该领域树立标准的史陶比尔机器人。”

Lander Debruyne及其团队为Hallet专门设计了一台加工设施,设施中心放置了一台史陶比尔六轴TX200机器人,用于操作6个工作站。在其中3个工作站,组件由真空夹爪夹持,而在其他3个,则由机械夹紧装置夹持;此外,该设施还配备一个自动工具更换系统,提供可取放20个工具的高质量服务。Vincent Hallet说:“在每个组件上需要用到最多10个不同的工具。”

高效和高生产力的机加工

这一系统理念的最大优势在于机器人的高生产力:当机器人铣削时,可在其他5个工作站中进行工具更换。并且,通过无人控制的切换,TX200可以按顺序加工多个组件,并可达到极高精度。Lander Debruyne提到:“在机加工过程中,机器人控制器每2微秒都会接收到新的数据。并且,据我们所知,在比利时唯一一台配备集成式Renishaw探测器的机器人就用在了这个设备上。”工具数据由其自身控制器处理,机器人仅使用其中的位置数据。在控制技术方面,VDS与B&R保持了多年的合作。VDS控制台触摸屏的可视化技术提供了加工过程信息。

针对这一铣削应用项目,VDS使用了CAM软件包SprutCAM。Lander Debruyne表示:“SprutCAM提供了通用的自动化机加工功能,并支持我们完成机器人铣削设备的设计和建造,比如通过仿真和碰撞分析的方式。SprutCAM在设计防护性能时也非常有用。”

机器人控制器和整个系统的控制器之间的交互通过史陶比尔研发的实时 UniVal驱动软件实现。这一开放式软件使史陶比尔机器人可通过外部控制器加以控制。系统的运动控制器由操作人员指定。简而言之,这意味着VDS的项目工程师可以通过一个通用控制器对整个系统进行编程。

生产从中国回流到比利时

对Hallet公司来说,可以简易操作的设备是关键需求。“我们不是机器人自动化专家,” Vincent Hallet强调道。这一需求通过VDS研发的系统得以充分满足:“系统操作十分简单,并且我们的员工已经获得了出色的现场培训。”如果出现了问题,VDS的售后工程师可以通过远程数据链接检查控制器。

第一个脱离组装产线的组件表明,铣削机器人使Hallet公司可以在一次锁紧过程中生产出高标准的复杂工件。“前些年,我们在中国拓展了生产规模,”Hallet说,“如今得益于这一制造技术,我们可以将生产要素迁回比利时。”

展望:无人控制的操作

铣削机器人投入使用后不久,Hallet公司安装了一套新的通风系统,与机器人控制器连通,抽离组件加工区域中原料上的空气和粉尘。公司的下一步骤就是将机器人部署到无人控制的夜间操作中。机器人不仅能进行机加工,也会完成组件拾取。Vincent Hallet表示:“我们不会马上到达这个阶段,但是我们正在朝着这个方向努力。”当最终实现时,公司生产力将会获得另一个巨大飞跃。

Machining with Stäubli TX200 industrial robotic armControl with Stäubli TX200 industrial robot

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