WHP (White Horse Plastics) Ltd, Wittmann Battenfeld and systems integrator Adept Automation have collaborated on a successful automation and production cell, quadrupling the previous production capacity of an intricate over-moulded automotive bearing used as part of a four stage door checker.
The automation work was centred on the need to align 4 off inserts with micron-accurate location into the mould tool, involving sixteen moving cores and 32 shut through windows, an 18 second cycle time, and next to no tolerance on the 2 x 3mm key-ways into the bearing. The PA66- MoS2 filled part was then to be over-moulded in a metal bearing sleeve before being shipped to the automotive customer.
Paul Bobby, WHP Factory Manager, says that ‘this was a very challenging project, and took us through a number of process iterations: Without the determination that is the WHP trade mark – equalled by the persistence of Wittmann Battenfeld – we would not have succeeded in automating the work.’
Bobby adds that ‘because of the complexity of the new tooling we were presented with a major automation alignment challenge. The 3mm key way was the datum point for the whole assembly and allowed next to no dimensional tolerance.’
A customised Wittmann Battenfeld injection moulding machine was specified and commissioned together with a Wittmann 818 3 axis robot. The downstream process was assisted by the work of Adept Automation leading to an effective fulfilment of the project.
Recently returned from the triennial K 2016 plastics exhibition, Bobby notes that ‘the current state-of-the-art of plastics processing automation is now nothing short of incredible. However fantastic the technology, automation requiring this level of investment still requires a positive business case in order to proceed. In this instance we were more than happy to identify the same and to work with our partners to achieve the production solution.’