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Value For Money Motion Controller Steers Robotic Dispenser

01 March 2004

'Value for money' motion controller steers robotic dispenser


Newtech designs and manufactures robotic systems for resin potting and
encapsulation. One of its latest machines mixes a two-part epoxy resin
and dispenses it into glass-filled nylon end caps for a heat exchanger
assembly at the rate of 90 units per hour. As the customer required some
manual intervention for inspection purposes, it offers full duplex
operation. Finished parts are unloaded and new parts loaded at one light
curtain protected workstation, while the robot is dispensing epoxy at the
other, for optimum productivity.

Newtech's preferred systems supplier, Trio Motion Technology provided the
necessary motion control hardware and software, the latter's MC206 Motion
Coordinator being selected to control two servo axes and one stepper
axis, with two additional CAN 16-I/O modules and a membrane operator
keypad and display. Newtech's managing director, Bill Ashley takes up the
story:

We chose the MC206 because it represents excellent value, having a useful
range of features, good reliability and ease of programming. Its
processing speed makes it excellent for high-speed path following, for
changing speed and controlling outputs on-the-fly. its ability to
undertake true multitasking is invaluable.

The machine comprises a dispensing unit with two pressurised epoxy
storage tanks, a four-chamber pump driven by a ball screw and stepper
motor for volume control, and a cabinet containing the automated mix and
dispense systems. The dispensing heads are mounted on a cartesian robot,
driven in the X and Y axes by two brushless servomotors via ball screws.
The mixing heads are raised and lowered to fixed points by a pneumatic
cylinder, although they could be mounted on to a programmable Z-axis
in-feed slide for dispensing on contoured surfaces.

Following predetermined paths, the heads lay a bead of mixed epoxy into
the channels, dwell points being arranged at channel intersections to
allow the epoxy to spread. When this operation is completed, the heads
are retracted and a timer started, indicated by an orange light. When
this light goes out, the operator releases the workpiece clamps and
access is allowed. The delay ensures that the epoxy correctly self-levels
into the workpiece channels and achieves some consistency prior to being
removed from the machine.

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