Strothmann's innovative feeder for press lines

Strothmann reports in the latest issue of the german trade journal Blechnet about his FeederPlus 6neo - a feeder that can do more than just load and unload presses.

FeederPlus 6 neo with its main axes.

The starting point was the FeederPlus 6, which has been successfully used for 10 years in a total of 11 press lines. With the further development to the FeederPlus 6neo, the feeder was adapted to the current requirements in modern press plants. The feeder is designed for a maximum of 16 parts/min. Through a clever combination of state-of-the-art mechanics and highly developed software the feeder takes over additional functions in FoL and EoL, which in conventional lines require expensive and space-consuming additional components.

Due to the compact design with telescopic axes, the minimum press center distance is 5200mm. For larger press distances, the Y-axis is rotated by 90° in the direction of travel. Due to this modular principle the feeder can be used in new press lines as well as for retrofits. The feeder is suitable for all types of presses (mechanical, hydraulic, servo-mechanical presses).

The movements of the vertical rotary axes (C1-axis, C2-axis) are synchronized in opposite directions, so that in combination with the other axes the component is transported on a straight line between the presses in a time and energy optimized way. A special innovation from Strothmann: Both rotary axes can also work independently of each other. This allows the feeder to perform additional functions.

In the blank loader, the incorrect position of the blank is detected by a camera and automatically compensated by the loading feeder of the first press. This is done at up to 16 strokes/min for both single and double blanks. In the case of double boards, the feeder first picks up one board, corrects its position simultaneously in 3 axes, and then carries out the same correction process with the other board. The feeder thus assumes an additional function for which otherwise a considerable technical effort would be required. For example, centering robots including the necessary tooling change, or other multi-axis centering devices. The centering by the FeederPlus 6neo thus saves considerable costs, reduces the number of toolings and decreases the space required in the FoL.           

In the EoL, the feeder can alternately deposit a single part rotated by ± 90° onto the outfeed belts thanks to the independent rotary axes. Conventional press lines require either two orientation robots, a shuttle and three tooling change devices or other technically complex solutions. Result: Significantly lower investment and less space required (approx. 7 m in length).

The tooling change is fully automatic by means of a tooling change carriage that moves into the gap between the presses. The carriage is equipped with a turning device that can hold two toolings. In contrast to other solutions, only one carriage is required per gap, which saves costs and space. In addition, the carriage always moves to the side to which the press tables extend. This means that the other side of the press is always completely free.

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