Robotization is one of the key areas of investment in modern companies such as Kuźnia Polska – a company with a 250-year tradition in the steel and metal industry.
One of the reasons for the robotization of some tasks was to increase ergonomics and work safety in conditions of high dustiness, very high temperatures, and health hazards.
“We are eager to robotize those processes where people’s safety can be increased and their competence improved by changing their task duties, for example, from operating a press to supervising the operation of a robotized press,” says Łukasz Bębenek, Automation Department Manager, Deputy Manager of the Maintenance Department at Kuźnia Polska.
There are already 7 production cells with industrial robots operating at Kuźnia Polska.
Robots from Kawasaki Robotics work at CNC, crank press, and hydraulic press operation stations.
“Each robotic station is first modeled using 3D software. It allows us to facilitate implementation so that the layout of the station including the production hall, components, and the robots themselves are optimally selected with regard to the reach, lifting capacity, and cycle time,” says Sylwia Nikiel, a constructor at Kuźnia Polska.
The first robotic station for a milling machine was implemented in 2018, with one type of workpiece to be handled.
Here, the workpieces are taken from the storage bin and then placed manually in special drawers. The correctly positioned workpiece is picked up by the robot using a dual mechanical gripper.
After the machining process is complete, the robot picks up the final workpiece, inserts a new unmachined workpiece into the milling machine, and moves the finished workpiece to the storage area.
In 2021, an intelligent machine operation solution was implemented for a similar machine – this time with two types of parts placed in two different storage bins. The solution for this bin picking application consists of bin picking software and a 3D vision system from Photoneo – Bin Picking Studio and PhoXi 3D Scanner – and an industrial robot from Kawasaki Robotics.
This solution allows you to pick workpieces from 2 different storage bins with a different gripper equipped with an electromagnet. The workpieces are scattered randomly in the bins. This eliminates the need for operators to arrange the parts. The storage bins are changed only once per shift.
The deployed bin picking solution with an innovative 3D vision system is great for applications with high variability of production as it allows fast changeovers and processing of more than one workpiece per station.
Advantages of robotization:
This type of solution will be useful not only in the metal industry but in any application that involves the picking of randomly scattered parts,” says Marcin Brydak, Robotics Consultant at ASTOR.
Łukasz Bębenek adds, “We coordinate the entire implementation by ourselves. Specialists from ASTOR support us at the beginning of the project – at the R&D stage, selecting robots and renting them for testing, training as well as immediate support if needed. The results? We are able to implement robotic workstations within a very short time. We have decided to work with Kawasaki Robotics because of their high reliability in the demanding conditions of heavy industry”.