A large transportation component manufacturer contacted us to provide a solution to the ergonomic problem of loading and unloading parts from inside a machining center. The problem? The 18 lb part needed to be placed and retrieved from a fixture 20″ inside the machine. The operator, a big beefy guy, was having back issues.
Second problem? The part had to be flipped over and placed in a second fixture inside the machining center for machining the back side of the part.
We developed an overhead mounted manipulator that could reach inside the machining center for easy placement of the parts. Our neutral balance system made the part weightless to the operator allowing easy part transfer. A manual rollover wheel for flipping the part between fixtures kept costs down and was designed to accommodate imbalance in the part.
The project was completed for less than 20% of the cost of a robot and allowed the machine operator to stay in the work area because no fenced enclosure was required.