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November 2, 1999

2 Min Read
Strategic picking and placing eliminates production inconsistencies

To custom molder InteSys Technologies Inc. (Gilbert, AZ), automation is a strategic capability that supports and complements its overall business objectives. Most of the parts it molds are complex and highly delicate, with thin walls and demanding cosmetics. InteSys has learned what type of automation best suits its varying jobs. It has also learned how to improve its setup time, helping to justify investments in automation by reducing changeover downtime.

Almost 90 percent of the 70 presses running 24/7 at InteSys run with sprue pickers and servo robots. Parts not requiring careful handling drop right into boxes or onto conveyors. All the folks on the shop floor are involved with either packing or inspection, leaving tasks like insert loading, parts removal, degating, and stacking to automation. And, thanks to automation, 100 percent of the presses cycle more consistently and, subsequently, more competitively.

Automation Standard
InteSys has standardized on Yushin robots—HOP-III Series sprue pickers and VA, VN, and VNII Series servos. It uses the sprue pickers for simple parts removal and degating work, to stabilize machine cycles, and to ensure mold protection. The servos come into play only when InteSys needs to exploit their programmable freedom of movement. InteSys has 18 servos and uses them for about 60 different jobs during any given month.

Bob Fair, principal engineer, does most of the initial programming himself. One of the tricks of efficient programming he’s learned is to borrow modules from previous part programs and use them as templates for new parts. He copies an existing program and turns various routines on or off as required.

In doing so, Fair rarely finds it necessary to write a completely new program. Changeovers for existing jobs simply require changing the end-of-arm tooling (EOAT) and loading the job from controller memory. Fair is convinced that InteSys can do even more with automation. He’s programming some of his servo robots for automatic EOAT changes, for instance.

Fair believes there are only a very few molding jobs that should not be automated. Frequent mold changes are not a problem, as far as InteSys is concerned, because it takes only a few minutes to set up its sprue pickers or servo robots.

“Other molders are surprised by the amount of automation we use,” Fair says. “Most say they can’t do this because they have too many short runs, and the time setting up robots cannot be justified. As far as I am concerned, that is a myth. We have a system that allows us to set up our automation in a matter of minutes on even our most complicated jobs.”

Contact information
InteSys Technologies Inc.
Gilbert, AZ
Bob Fair
Phone: (480) 497-1401
Fax: (480) 497-7000
Web: www.intesys.com

Yushin America Inc.
Cranston, RI
John M. Mallon IV
Phone: (401) 463-1800
Fax: (401) 463-1810
Web: www.yushin.com

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