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Schmalz Brings More Flexibility

Schmalz Brings More Flexibility

New clamping system from Schmalz: For more flexibility for 3D free-form surfaces.

For more flexibility in automated production environments, Schmalz has developed the Suction Cup Balance SSCB: A gripping and clamping system with automated conversion capability for 3D mold surfaces. With the same system, workpieces of different contours can be gripped and clamped – a great advantage in the automotive industry.

The Suction Cup Balance SSCB avoids expensive and lengthy conversion times: It adapts flexibly to different and complex shaped components. This allows for smaller lot sizes to be produced in an economical manner. The system consists of a sturdy aluminum body with a vacuum and several compressed air connections. A flexible bellows suction pad from the resistant Vulkollan polyurethane elastomer is used in order to grip the workpiece. Around it eight cylindrical positioning pins are arranged with wear-resistant bearing material for optimum adaptation to the respective 3D geometries.

At the start of the gripping process, the positioning pins are adapted to the workpiece geometry. The suction cup uses a compressed air suspension to initially extend the pins and then to fix according to the desired position by interrupting the compressed air. The contour of the workpiece is obtained by the suction cup from the robot software. After a few seconds, the pins form the outline of the workpiece – it is an automatically prepared gripping system. In order to adjust a clamping system for the same workpiece contour, the pins are initially positioned in the same way. The gripper moves over the congruent built clamping system. The gripper pushes the pins of the clamping system in all at once until the negative contour of the gripping system is achieved. This way the workpiece can be gripped from above and clamped from below.

Schmalz offers two variants of the suction cups: First each pin can be fixed separately on a single compressed air line, and all pins together via a central compressed air line. For simple setup procedures there is the variant with centrally controlled positioning and reduced valve technology. For automated back operations there is the variant with individually controlled positioning pins in order to reproduce the 3D mold surface.

The Schmalz innovation offers users a number of advantages: The workpiece is always customised to the positioning pins. Conventional mechanical positioning mandrels or mold blocks are no longer required. Expensive tooling no longer applies for fitting processes, which otherwise must be kept according to the workpiece. A single tooling with Suction Cup Balance SSCB is sufficient – the system makes an important contribution to the flexibility of automated production and assembly lines for
complex components.

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