Flexible Holder System for Vacuum Automation

Safe and precise handling of molded parts requires modular solutions that can adapt to the shape of the sheet metal being handled. With the holder system for tooling HT, J. Schmalz GmbH has developed a flexible system comprised of lightweight aluminum components, making it ideal for highly dynamic operations. The modular system makes it possible to configure individual holders or specific assemblies.

Holder for suction cup HT-SG E with decentralized vacuum generator SEAC and bell-shaped suction cup SAX for handling car body parts.

The automotive industry is extremely dynamic and requires a great deal of flexibility, in particular due to the enormous range of models and highly individual customer configurations. For this reason, modular, automated manufacturing and logistics processes that can be quickly adapted to changing conditions are found throughout the entire automotive production chain. J. Schmalz GmbH vacuum components are installed everywhere that workpieces are automatically handled – from press shops to car body construction lines all the way to final assembly lines. For example, in press shops, suction cups are used for precise handling of oily sheet metal pieces. At the end of the production chain, car body elements with complex shapes such as doors, roofs, motor hoods or side panels must be gripped and transported to the next facility.

Moreover, a flexible holder system is required in order to ensure that the components can be gripped reliably. The modular principle of the new holder system for tooling HT allows for a wide range of holder configurations for gripper construction in press and body shops. Depending on the application in question, Schmalz offers slim holders, holders for decentralized vacuum generators, and holders with integrated vacuum nozzles. These components can be combined with various vacuum suction cups and generators as well as with spring plungers and vacuum switches. The freely adjustable suction cup positions as well as the option to use the new holder system with all conventional tooling systems in automotive press shops provide optimal flexibility, and ensure that the holders are compatible all quick-change systems.

With this modular holder system, Schmalz has considered not only the installation conditions but also the processes involved in automotive manufacturing. The engineers from Glatten, Germany, rely on lightweight components to ensure that the holders and grippers do not limit the range of motion during the handling of metal sheets. In combination with other lightweight Schmalz components, this provides the operator with an up to 45 percent lighter gripping system.

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