Automation integrator, Acieta, has developed a new system that enables medium- to high-volume metal fabricators to reduce costs and offset labor shortages. The Robotically Integrated Bending Solution (RIBS), employs robotic automation for press brake machine tending. A robotic arm outfitted with ATI Tool Changers presents parts to the brake and provides a method for changing the press brake tooling automatically. Acieta and ATI are helping customers increase the productivity and flexibility of their press brakes and reduce safety concerns associated with manual machine tending.
Acieta understands the need for robotic systems in the metal fabrication industry as its customers face increasing difficulty finding and retaining workers. The labor shortage in manufacturing industries is a two-pronged issue; it’s often dangerous and repetitive work, and people are leaving the work force faster than they can be replaced. This new modular press brake tending system capitalizes on the strengths of Acieta and ATI. The robot works in close proximity to the press brake to complete labor-intensive processes while the workers take on higher-value tasks that are often more engaging and keep them out of harm’s way.
The automatic tool changing and utility pass-through provided by the ATI products allows RIBS to be a truly hands-free system and reduces the number of required workers. Employees that previously tended to the press brakes by hand can now monitor the automated process from a safe distance. Others have transitioned to roles that take advantage of their expertise such as quality inspection, process control, and robot programming. RIBS is an extremely versatile solution that decreases human-machine interaction and increases safety and operational efficiency.
The RIBS system can be custom configured for each application. For some Acieta customers, it is their first foray into robotics. Knowing they can choose from ATI’s reliable and versatile products helps Acieta streamline the design process. They can get everything to outfit the end of the robot from one reliable supplier!
Tyler Acheson, Business Development Coordinator at Acieta says, “We’ve used a wide variety of ATI Tool Changers on FANUC robots ranging in size from 10kg to 1200kg. The ability to supply signal power, pneumatic air, and vacuum lines through the tool changer is a huge benefit. With ATI’s vast selection of Tool Changers and Utility Modules, Acieta has the freedom to tailor each RIBS system for specific application environments.”
According to Acheson, “Using offline programming software, while the robot is still running production, makes adding new parts to be formed in the system easy.” To change tooling within the press brake or utilize different types of end-of-arm tooling to handle material in the brake, additional Tool Changers can be added to increase the robot’s productivity. ATI’s Utility Modules further diversify RIBS by allowing virtually any utility imaginable to be passed to the application through the Tool Changer. This gives manufacturers maximum flexibility to react quickly to changes in the market and boosts profits by enabling longer production runs with less changeover time.
Selecting a tool changer supplier was an easy process for Acieta. Acheson recalls, “People in the industry don’t call it a ‘Robotic Tool Changer’, they call it an ‘ATI’.” ATI’s renowned Tool Changer technology and extensive Utility Module offerings facilitate custom configuration of robotic applications. For integrators like Acieta, this is critical to ensuring high levels of customer service and satisfaction.
A leader in the robotics business for 35 years, Acieta provides a wide range of robotically automated solutions and services for the manufacturing industry. With locations in Pewaukee, Wisconsin, and Council Bluffs, Iowa, Acieta has integrated more than 4,500 automation systems for customers across the United States, Mexico and Canada. As part of its mission to be a true partner to its customer base, Acieta is committed to solving challenges facing all manufacturers, such as lowering costs, increasing productivity, and addressing labor shortfalls. Serving most manufacturing segments, Acieta has 130 employees across the United States and is committed to creating a positive future for North American manufacturing.
The ATI Robotic Tool Changer provides the flexibility to automatically change end-effectors or other peripheral tooling. These tool changers are designed to function reliably for millions of cycles at rated load while maintaining extremely high repeatability. For this reason, the ATI Tool Changer has become the number-one tool changer of choice around the world. ATI Tool Changer models cover a wide range of applications, from very small payloads to heavy payload applications requiring significantly large moment capacity.