Pneumatics cuts a fresh path for machine maker

A company that has made an international reputation producing a range of machines for precision cutting ferrite, rare earth materials, ceramic, glass components, and semiconductor materials is always interested in wider applications of its engineering skills.

Its expertise in this niche market led to Advanced Cutting Technology receiving a request to automate an assembly and testing process for one of its customers. The challenge was to automate a process that involved fitting ferrite cores into a coil to produce small transformers.

An extensive use of pneumatics was seen as crucial in the project so the company called on the technical resources of SMC Pneumatics right from the start. ACT’s managing director Chris Sheppard stated that the reason he used pneumatics is the range of styles for the simulation of movement, the options, the low weight and the compact designs.

Engineers from both companies together analysed all the stop, hold, grip and transfer movements required, and developed the solution.

Until the request for automation, the assembly process had been done manually, because of the delicate parts involved and range of movements required. To justify the investment, automation had to cut cycle-time to 10sec, and achieve high quality tested output of products.

The EC100 is a compact, fast and precise answer to the problem. With eight-station indexing, the machine inserts an ‘E core’ (or E shaped magnet) into a coil, applies UV adhesive, hardens the adhesive, tests the component and re-stacks it.

Clever use of SMC’s co-axial tubing has saved costs, provided a neater appearance and delivered greater operational accuracy in applying UV-curing adhesive. In addition, an effective method of curing the adhesive has been introduced using high-intensity ultra-violet light through liquid light heads. It has cut curing time down to 6sec.

Most of the pneumatic actuators have multiple fixing points, providing many options for mounting, tooling and attaching other products. Careful selection of small pneumatic components, such as guided cylinders where the aluminium extrusions help protect the solid-state auto switches inside them, coupled with pre-wired manifolds for easy valve assembly, resulted in a machine which exceeded the customer’s expectations for its compactness.

The EC100 has 48 outputs taking signals from sensors and 40 outputs driving valves cylinders, and signalling parts, such as the inductance tester.

SMC Pneumatics (UK). Tel: 0800 026 2006