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Performance plus - more energy-efficient Cimcorp+ robot series
The first robot of the Cimcorp+ series, the more eco-efficient TyrePick+, was unveiled at the Cologne Tire Technology Expo in early February. The new-generation series of robots is the answer to the future trends of the tire industry
Better performance and more energy-efficient. Faster, light in structure, but robust. The new Cimcorp+ robot series is raising gantry robot automation for material handling to a completely new level.
“This is our response to the feedback from our customers,” says Cimcorp’s product development director Lasse Salakari.
“Energy savings, carbon footprint, recyclability, and above all green values have become key factors for robot manufacturers too. While the car industry is placing demands on the tire manufacturers, it is also setting us a challenge. The aim of the development work is to improve the quality and efficiency of the entire production chain.”
Design, lightness, and recycling
The demands for eco-efficiency encapsulated in the Cimcorp+ series have resulted in enhanced performance. An ecological approach in technology is often associated with a reduction in power, but in the new robot series, development has gone in a different direction to the mainstream. Speed, acceleration, and the minimization of energy consumption are the undeniable benefits of this new generation of robots.
One of the most obvious changes in the mechanical structure of the robot is that aluminum has replaced steel in the moving parts. In addition to improved acceleration and speed, aluminum also has an impact on running costs.
“Making the moving parts lighter translates into considerable savings on in-use consumption. Aluminum is ideally suited for robots because, besides being light, it is also an extremely strong material,” says Salakari.
There are also fewer parts in the new robot series.
“Together with an industrial designer, we have been able to reduce the number of components to be manufactured, for instance by combining different parts and sub-assemblies together.”
Special attention has also been paid in the mechanical design to minimizing the in-use maintenance requirements. For example, all the bearings and gears used are lubricated for life, and do not need any maintenance at all. According to Salakari, this situation has been achieved thanks to advanced design.
Smart energy miracle
In addition to an innovative choice of materials and technical changes, the Cimcorp+ series also brings something completely new to the whole sector. A versatile and extremely high-performance motion controller has been selected as the new robot controller for the series, and as a result the entire control concept has been revised.
30 percent of the energy consumed by the robot can be fed back into the network and used again.
“Just as often as motors accelerate, they also need to brake. Earlier, the energy generated in braking would have turned into heat, but now it can be returned to the network and reused. Together with the controller manufacturer we have developed an appropriate way to cut off the power peaks in acceleration, which also in turn enables the use of smaller and less energy-demanding power components in the controller.”
As for costs, the easing of the logistics in the building phase thanks to light materials and the replacement of pneumatics with electricity are major contributing factors.
“Compressed air is one of the most expensive forms of power. The operating costs of an electric-powered robot are significantly smaller,” asserts Salakari.
In addition to the latest robotics technology, of course, the systems also need some operators. Training in the programming, service, and operation of the Cimcorp+ robot series takes only one day. On the other hand, the interactive user interface offers assistance in operating conditions, for instance, by suggesting suitable selections to the user.
“The requirements and feedback from the end-users was the impetus in the development of the user interface, as it was in the design of the whole robot series.”
Continuous product development
The Cimcorp+ generation of robots launched on the tire industry market in February represents the cutting edge of development. Cimcorp will continue to keep a close eye on upcoming trends, needs, and technologies.
“The team of specialists from different departments that we have put together to map out the development needs of the tire industry keeps an updated list of targets for development and plans the next steps to take. This also enables us to be pro-active in finding new targets for development and expansion.”
An even greener dream
Cimcorp’s dream factory is a total solution for material handling in tire production, based on gantry robots. It takes care of all the material flows from tire-building machines to curing presses and on via inspection, finishing, and palletizing, to storage and from there on to distribution. The dream factory concept streamlines the material and data flows in tire production by making use of automatic material handling systems. Cimcorp+ is a new, more ecological robot series. This series, with more effective performance and more energy-efficient, is the perfect answer to the needs of today’s tire industry.
TEXT: TOTTI TOISKALLIO PHOTOS: ESA KYYRÖ, TOMI GLAD, TIRE-EXPO