The automated treatment of casting is becoming increasingly significant for foundries. Robot-automated pressure die-casting cells and the use of robots in permanent mold casting, sand casting and in core manufacturing are established technologies. But, constant development of such applications is needed in order to optimize reliability, quality and cycle times and ABB is on the forefront of this work.
ABB has long been working in the field of robot automation for foundries and has introduced a number of innovations. For working in the harsh foundry environment, ABB has developed Foundry Prime protection for robots typically used in the field for applications such as water jet cleaning. The robot is pressurized, and has corrosion protection, is painted with special paint and is specially sealed. The benefit for foundries is reduced maintenance cost, improved flexibility and uptime, higher quality products, faster cycle times and more compact cleaning cells.
Technology, which holds out against all odds
The Foundry Prime protection is the innovation that revolutionizes high-pressure water jet cleaning of production parts by robots. It is the worldwide first protective system working effectively without a complex protective covering against heat, wet and dirt and which constitutes a substantial progress for production.
Robots with Foundry Prime have a 3 layer epoxy painting especially for extreme environments. The robot itself consists of anticorrosive parts and works with pressurized motors purpose-built against permeation of humidity. Even the electronics are certainly protected against wetness. Robots protected with Foundry Prime withstand 100 % humidity and water vapor of a typical water jet cleaning applicaton and ensure a long-life cycle yet in the aggressive environment of a cleaning cell. In the very specific application of water jet cleaning with high humidity the robot can operate at moderate speed with a cleaning bath temperature up to 60 degrees Celsius.
Foundry Prime enables a brand new production concept whereby different parts can be cleaned by a cell-integrated robot.
Optimized cleaning cycle
The idea is as well ingenious as efficient: Without a special protection cover the Foundry Prime robot is as flexible as a standard robot. This flexibility simplyfies programming and enables the construction of significant smaller production cells.
High-pressure treatments can be carried out in different applications. The high-pressure water jet cleaning can be used for removing cooling and cutting oils after machine tool operation as well as for chip and flash removal after machining.
In case of part changes only the programming of the robot-control has to be adjusted to the modified geometry of the workpiece. So different parts can be cleaned in incoherent order by only one robot in the same cell. Process optimizations and adjustments are finished in shortest time and with smallest effort.
The Foundry Prime protection enables the combination of proved cleaning-processes with the flexibility of a complete integrated 6-axes-robot in one production unit without additional protection covers, foils or shields.