OEMs optimize material handling efficiency with COAX®inside

Assembly Automation

ISSN: 0144-5154

Article publication date: 1 July 2006




(2006), "OEMs optimize material handling efficiency with COAX®inside", Assembly Automation, Vol. 26 No. 3. https://doi.org/10.1108/aa.2006.03326caf.001



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

OEMs optimize material handling efficiency with COAX®inside

OEMs optimize material handling efficiency with COAX® inside

Keywords: Vacuum devices, Materials handling

Manufacturers in a huge number of industries, such as packaging, automotive, food, pharmaceutical, electronic, white good, graphic, and chemical industries, rely on vacuum technology everyday. Although nearly all manufacturers use vacuum during at least some part of their material handling processes, a significant portion of these companies are not aware of the full benefits that an optimized vacuum system design can provide.

Creating the ultimate decentralized vacuum system

Historically, most industrial OEMs have relied on traditional centralized vacuum systems, which consist of one vacuum source, usually mounted remotely and providing vacuum to multiple points of use. Most companies that use centralized systems need to channel the vacuum flow through tubing and manifolds, which can cause flow restriction and potentially reduce system performance and reliability.

Conversely, a decentralized system locates the vacuum pumps closer to the points of use, and can range from a zoned system, where groups of cups that work together are isolated, to a system where each cup is completely independent of the others.

Energy and cost savings due to less distance between the source and the point-of use

As logic would hold, the more distance there is between the vacuum source and the point-of-use, the more energy is consumed and thus, the more expensive the cost of production becomes. Therefore, the less distance between the vacuum source and the point-of-use, the less energy is consumed and the less expensive is the cost of production.

By designing a COAX® multistage vacuum cartridge ejector directly into the body of the material handling equipment, OEMs can now have access to the ultimate decentralized system – COAX® integration (Plate 1).

Plate 1 Lightweight cartridges help to achieve high vacuum flow

Extremely lightweight cartridges help to achieve high vacuum flow

The benefits of integrating with COAX® vacuum cartridges are easy to see, although the cartridges themselves may not be. These compact, extremely lightweight cartridges maintain a very low profile while helping to achieve a higher level of vacuum flow compared to traditional alternatives.

Because the cartridges are an integral component of the design, OEM's can position the vacuum power exactly where it is needed. The integrated system thus becomes a custom solution that makes maximum use of energy and increases speed by eliminating line losses and inefficiencies.

Twenty percent decrease in energy consumption

For example, a PIAB OEM customer in the packaging industry recently integrated COAX® cartridges into its “rotary picker” equipment. The company designed its packaging system to pick up cardboard lids and deposit them on boxes. This machine, with its spinning arms and rotary action, would normally require a remote-mounted vacuum pump and some potentially restrictive rotary fittings (which could lead to vacuum losses and problems.) It would also require tubing, which would have to be perfectly coordinated with the rotary action to avoid pump/tube entanglements.

The integrated alternative places the vacuum suction directly inside the rotating planetary shafts from which the spinning arms branch out. The cartridges are not only unobtrusive, but they also increase the picking speed in this packaging application. In fact, after replacing its existing mechanical pumps with vacuum cartridges, one company saw 128 percent productivity increase and 20 percent decrease in energy consumption.

Other applications where COAX® technology's low profile has proven to offer a decided advantage include electronics applications, such as chip handling, unique material handling applications, such as the packaging of compact discs, and automotive sheet metal stamping, die-casting and injection molding.

Faster cycle times in robotic applications

Cartridge integration right at the point of suction is a solution that has proven to meet extraordinary high-speed requirements better than any other solution. This is exemplified by a number of Delta and Spider robot material handling applications that have achieved faster cycle times by replacing a remote mounted pump with integrated cartridges. These robots pick and place in a complex pattern on different planes, so they greatly benefit from the unobtrusive flexibility and maximum vacuum flow that only integrated vacuum pumping can provide.

Optimum productivity

Regardless of industry, today's OEMs need to manage the cost of engineering time and build machines that can scale up or down to satisfy continually changing speed, design and energy efficiency requirements. End- users, on the other hand, want equipment that is short on downtime, uses minimal plant resources, and meets both domestic and international standards. By providing the ultimate decentralized vacuum system, COAX® integration solves these challenges and offers OEMs the opportunity to achieve optimum productivity during material handling applications.

Readers interested in more information should visit www.piab.com to learn about “Optimized Vacuum Management (OVM),” a series of scheduled courses on vacuum system design offered by the PIAB Vacuum Academy.

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