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A custom-designed product handling system designed and developed by Linkx Systems has enabled MP Eastern, a supplier of anodising and electroplating services, to improve productivity and process consistency.

MP Eastern’s services cater for demanding applications in the oil and gas, motorsport, aerospace and defence sectors. The company applies a surface treatment to couplings — which range in size from 4.5in to 22.5in (114mm to 572mm) — to prevent the threads from seizing on assembly.

The Linkx system — which incorporates a Kuka robot — is designed specifically for handling heavy-threaded steel couplings used in the oil and gas industry. The handling system is required to pick up the couplings after they have been treated, move them to a burnishing station so that the threads can be polished, then rotate them through 90º before dipping them in a water tank for cleaning and ultimately transporting them to a drainage platform where they are dried with an air jet.

Having considered these requirements, Linkx decided that, as a result of the weight of the larger couplings, the need to handle such a wide range of sizes and the complexity of the required motions, a system based on conventional handling techniques would be both uneconomic and lacking in flexibility. The company therefore recommended a system incorporating a Kuka industrial robot.

Key benefits of product application

  • All of the major axes of motion are provided by the handling system’s Kuka robot; however, to provide an intuitive user interface, the robot’s automation systems are integrated with an overarching control system based on an Allen-Bradley programmable controller.
  • The Linkx system is configured to handle different sizes of coupling, with the user able to select the required size simply by choosing the appropriate option from a menu displayed on a touchscreen.
  • The system has increased throughput capacity compared with the manual handling previously used, allowing MP Eastern to keep up with the growth in demand for its services.
  • Much greater process consistency has been achieved, which has virtually eliminated the need for costly and time-consuming rework operations.

Linkx Systems

Linkx Systems delivers packaging systems, equipment, machinery and stand-alone packaging machines that meet user requirements efficiently and economically and which are backed with expert and readily accessible support.

With more than 30 staff totalling over 200 years of experience in automation and packaging, Linkx Systems delivers packaging solutions, machines and equipment that meet user requirements efficiently and economically.

From our purpose-built Suffolk headquarters we design, develop and manufacture packaging machinery using the latest technology and innovations.

By making best use of modern automation technology, we provide our impressive customer base, which includes many blue chip companies, with packaging machines that not only offer outstanding value for money, but also easily outperform machines available from other sources.

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