Automation is a general concept that can describe many activities in manufacturing. Virtually every manufacturing technique is automated these days–but how does automation help manufacturing customers?
One of the main benefits that automation offers customers is cost reduction. At Recto, we implement automation as a way to minimize labor and have the fewest ‘touches’ possible by employees. This reduces not only labor costs, but also the potential for human error. Automation in our facility also improves the lead times that we can offer our customers, and we implement it throughout our injection molding process, from resin handling to shipping parts out the door.
Automating Recto Molded
The biggest investment that Recto Molded Products has taken towards automating our facility is incorporating 3- and 6-axis robotics as automation cells connected to several of our molding machines. These expensive robots are incredibly versatile, capable of everything as simple as degating multi-cavity edge gated parts, to accurately placing individual parts in automation cells, solving the orientation issues for fixtures that can be costly to overcome. Having this equipment load metal components into the molding saves a lot of labor, and having them remove parts from the mold ensures consistent cycle times with better quality as well. When separating multiple cavities from each other, the robot performs this action tirelessly amd cpmsostemt;u/
The many “sprue pickers” that we have (simple action basic removal devices, similar to robots without additional flexibility) will take a runner from the molding machine and put it into a granulator to recycle material.
Our automated bagging equipment is considered “off-line” since the molding process can be faster than the bagger. A 72 cavity mold running 12 seconds will outpace a 50 part/bag sequence of 10 seconds. Also multiple different variations of parts molded of different colors in one bag wouldn’t be an option on the molding floor without very specialized injection machines, not cost-effective for our operations.
Remaining flexible throughout our upgrades
Each application is unique, as is whether automation may or may not be an appropriate solution. A part might benefit from being assembled hot, allowing the natural cooling/shrinking to allow easy installation, and the cooled assembly having higher pull out forces, such as a ball bearing into a hot bushing. Or a part might also need to be fully cooled for a specific time so that shrinkage is complete before assembly, such as installing an adapter into the inner race of a ball bearing. We apply our knowledge and expertise to each project to ensure it gets the right treatment.