End-former accelerates refurbishment process for automotive parts specialist
PUBLISHED: 11 May 09
Unison’s new all-electric end-former machine
Unison has developed an all-electric end-former machine for automating refurbishment of automotive steering rack mechanisms. The machine uses programmable servomotors to drive the end-forming dies into position. The company claims that the machine provides a more flexible and efficient means of handling the process than traditional manual and hydraulic methods, which involve changing dies between different forming operations.
Re-Go Autoparts, a specialist steering component remanufacturing company, has taken delivery of the first machine, and reports that the entire end-forming process has been reduced from 2-3 minutes to less than 10 seconds – a productivity improvement of around 1,500 per cent.
The company remanufactures high quality components for automotive power steering systems, under the Lenco trade name. The company is a recent convert to the versatility of all-electric tube bending technology. Following purchase of a new tube bending system, it subsequently invested in a multi-stack version of one of Unison’s 16mm Breeze tube bending machines. This machine is used to produce a variety of small complex parts, such as hydraulic brake pipes and power steering tubes.
According to Gary Martin, one of Re-Go Autoparts’ directors, “The machine’s programmability enables us to accommodate small production batches without incurring the delays associated with changing tool sets on traditional tube bending machines, and its accuracy and repeatability help ensure product quality.” Unison’s new end-former machine is a fully integrated three-axis system, housed in a compact standalone cabinet. It provides software-controlled four-stage end forming, by automatically flaring, compressing and reducing the ends of the steel tube, ranging from 6 to 10mm, used in vehicle steering racks.
The motive power for the machine’s main drive is provided by a Baldor servomotor. The four stages and clamp are actuated by SMC pneumatic cylinders, all connected to a Baldor MintDrive intelligent drive with a built-in motion controller. Overall machine control is handled by a PLC, with all user input commands and operational status feedback provided by a Baldor HMI panel.
The all-electric end-former machine offers numerous advantages over conventional hydraulic end formers – it is quick and easy to set up, and is more energy efficient, quieter and faster. The machine’s use of closed-loop servomotor control ensures end forming accuracy and repeatability.
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