Custom product handling system from Linkx improves process consistency at MP Eastern

Linkx Systemscontact supplier

Product handling system

A custom-designed product handling system designed and developed by Linkx Systems has enabled MP Eastern, a supplier of anodising and electroplating services, to improve productivity and process consistency.

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MP Eastern’s services cater for demanding applications in the oil and gas, motorsport, aerospace and defence sectors. The company applies a surface treatment to couplings — which range in size from 4.5in to 22.5in (114mm to 572mm) — to prevent the threads from seizing on assembly.

The Linkx system — which incorporates a Kuka robot — is designed specifically for handling heavy-threaded steel couplings used in the oil and gas industry. The handling system is required to pick up the couplings after they have been treated, move them to a burnishing station so that the threads can be polished, then rotate them through 90º before dipping them in a water tank for cleaning and ultimately transporting them to a drainage platform where they are dried with an air jet.

Having considered these requirements, Linkx decided that, as a result of the weight of the larger couplings, the need to handle such a wide range of sizes and the complexity of the required motions, a system based on conventional handling techniques would be both uneconomic and lacking in flexibility. The company therefore recommended a system incorporating a Kuka industrial robot.

Key benefits of product application

  • All of the major axes of motion are provided by the handling system’s Kuka robot; however, to provide an intuitive user interface, the robot’s automation systems are integrated with an overarching control system based on an Allen-Bradley programmable controller.
  • The Linkx system is configured to handle different sizes of coupling, with the user able to select the required size simply by choosing the appropriate option from a menu displayed on a touchscreen.
  • The system has increased throughput capacity compared with the manual handling previously used, allowing MP Eastern to keep up with the growth in demand for its services.
  • Much greater process consistency has been achieved, which has virtually eliminated the need for costly and time-consuming rework operations.

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