Automated Sorting and Kitting showcase at Composites Europe 2019
Minimized Risks - Increased Quality and Throughput thanks to End-to-End Process Automation
Composite manufacturing is on the threshold of industrial mass production. However, manual individual processes still represent a barrier on the way to continuous industrial mass production of composite components. At this year's Composites Europe, Broetje Automation will be demonstrating how automated series production is possible by the intelligent use of robot technology.
With the increasing maturity of the composites industry, manufacturing processes must also meet the higher demands of industrial series production. In recent years, numerous processes have therefore been automated, for example in the area of cutting to size.
However, many processes in composite manufacturing and in particular the interfaces between the individual value-added steps are not yet sufficiently interconnected. As a result, many companies have developed a juxtaposition of highly automated production processes and manual processing steps that leads to imbalances in throughput, quality and efficiency. Production environments often reach their limits. Further production growth can often only be achieved by significantly expanding the production area.
Integrated process automation, as is common in other industries, has hardly been found in the composites industry to date. Broetje-Automation has taken care of these interfaces and developed a simple solution that allows a significant improvement in performance and a significant increase in the degree of automation with little effort.
›› Better Coordination of Process Steps - Saving Space on the Shopfloor
A key element for industrial production is a coordinated design and digital link between all stations in the value chain. Interfaces between individual stations are often the bottleneck and a source of errors in production. The Automated Sorting and Kitting System (ASK) developed by Broetje-Automation makes it possible to eliminate this interface in the processing of composite blanks. The picking, sorting and draping of blanks is done by a fully automated robotic system. The computer-controlled ASK system calculates the optimum cuts on the cutter table, picks up the individual blanks and sorts them in an optimized way for the next process steps.
This integration of automatic sorting functions eliminates the need for time-consuming manual sorting of the blanks. The automatic sorting and kitting system manages with up to 25% less working space and thus saves space on the shopfloor for other production steps in the necessary but costly clean rooms.
›› Relieve Workers of Monotonous Work and Deploy them more Efficiently and Intelligently
The digital process monitoring generated with the aid of a digital twin - a parallel computer simulation of component and system - also minimizes errors, increases process reliability and thus eliminates risks - especially those arising from monotonous, less demanding manual activities. The drastic reduction of error sources improves quality on the one hand and throughput on the other. The full potential for more productivity of the systems used is thus fully exploited.
The manual labour employed can thus concentrate on higher-value activities. Manual, mostly monotonous and ergonomically unfavourable activities are taken over by the robots. Against the background of demographic change, this supports companies in introducing the factory of the future and securing their competitiveness.
›› Leveraging Digitalisation and Eliminating Paper Documentation
The consistent digital interconnection of the system enables with the help of the digital twin, a full documentation of each activity step in the digital component file. With the help of Big Data, further optimizations can be carried out - for example predictive maintenance concepts for optimized maintenance of machines and systems. The component documentation, which is often done on paper today, is no longer necessary, and the data obtained can also be used for further optimization of the component and production process - fully documented and thus ideal for safety-critical industries such as the aerospace industry.
›› Showcase: Automated Sorting and Kitting at Composites Europe 2019
At this year's Composites Europe in Stuttgart, the partners Broetje-Automation and Rebstock Consulting / Zünd present the Automated Sorting and Kitting Solution (ASK) as one of many examples of how, with little effort at the decisive interfaces, major advances in the industrialization of composites can be achieved.
Visit us in hall 9, booth no. 9C77