Automation is no longer just the mainstay of manufacturing as more and more of our daily routines and tasks are assisted by computers or automation in some form or other. The once tedious task of mowing the lawn can now be performed automatically using one the Husqvarna Automower robotic lawn mowers. However, even robotic mowers require assistance from automation during their manufacture, as Altec Engineering’s automated gluing system demonstrates.
Altec’s system is designed to automatically dispense adhesive onto a rubber “Bumper Strip” which in turn is assembled to one of the main plastic mouldings which make up the outer body housing of the Automower robotic lawn mower.
The gluing cell operates in a semi-automated manner, with an operator priming the system with the rubber strip and main moulding. The two parts are secured in precision-machined profile nests, with the plastic moulding held in the upper half of the fixture and the rubber strip in the lower part.
A FANUC LR mate 6-axis robot is used to manipulate an adhesive dispensing nozzle around the profile of the rubber strip, ensuring consistency in the quantity of adhesive and repeatable positioning of the adhesive profile on the part. With the gluing operation completed, the lower half of the fixture is automatically raised to attach the rubber strip to the main moulding and the fixture remains closed for a short time to allow the adhesive to cure. The fixture then opens, allowing the operator to remove the finished assembly.
The stand-alone cell is built upon a robust steel fabricated base frame and controlled using a PLC based system. Double guard doors are used to protect the operator during the robot cycle.
The system is now in full production, proving that even robots need robots within a manufacturing environment. The Altec robot gluing cell can be seen on Altec’s YouTube channel. For more information, please visit www.alteceng.co.uk.