Flexibowl feeding system

Automated Badge Making Solution

Oakmount Control Systems is utilising the benefits of two FlexiBowl® parts feeders and two Shibaura SCARA robots – both supplied by RARUK Automation – as part of an automated system that assembles plastic badges for a leading badge maker.

The system, which has replaced manual assembly operations, can run 24 hours a day producing badges for a number of global blue-chip companies.

The customer originally employed manual labour to assemble the badges but couldn’t keep up with demand and were looking for a complete  automated solution.

At the heart of the system developed by Oakmount are two FlexiBowl parts feeders (FlexiBowl 500 and 650 models) and two Shibaura Machine THL600 SCARA robots.

As an innovative flexible parts feeder that is compatible with any robot and vision system, the range of FlexiBowls can handle entire families of parts within a size range of 1 to 250mm and up to 250g in weight. Product changeovers take a matter of seconds thanks to intuitive programming and the absence of dedicated tooling. The FlexiBowl 500 and 650 models are suitable for parts measuring from 5 to 50mm (up to 100g weight) and from 20 to 110mm (up to 170g weight), respectively.

Two of the high-speed, high-cycle THL600 Shibaura SCARA robot are picking and placing parts in the automated badge assembly system. Shibaura’s four-axis THL600 offers 600mm arm length, 7.1 m/s composite speed and 10kg maximum payload.

In terms of functionality, two hoppers (one feeding badges and the other feeding safety pins) serve the individual FlexiBowl systems within the badge assembly machine at Oakmount. The objective for the FlexiBowl systems is to sort the components and present them to the Shibaura THL600 SCARA robots in an easy-to-pick way. A vision system looking at the position of the badges and pins on the FlexiBowl systems provides location co-ordinates to the Shibaura robots. Once picked, the badges/pins are placed into a nest where the machine crimps the two parts together before releasing the completed badges down an outfeed system.

The small footprint machine is now fully operational, running 24 hours a day to help the end customer meet growing worldwide demand.