Among other things, visitors to the fair in Hannover can discover how toolcraft engineers ensured that Sanipa, a manufacturer of premium bathroom furniture, can now manufacture its products at the touch of a button. Sanipa contacted toolcraft to help it automate previously manual processes. The automated solutions it obtained were a six-axis picking robot from Fanuc (R-2000iC/125L) - which operates on an existing CNC machining cell, where it picks up parts, feeds them into a labeling station and then sets them down at a specified location - and a robot cell that assembles drawers automatically. In the drawer cell, another Fanuc robot (M-20iB/25) picks up the drawer components from a conveyor belt and places them in a press, where the bases and rear panels are screwed together and the frames and inserts are assembled in a fully automated process. This means bathroom furniture can be manufactured in a batch size of one at the touch of a button.
According to toolcraft, constructing multi-purpose production facilities not only consigns time-consuming, monotonous manual processes to the past, but also achieves more consistent results than manual operations. "In line with the client’s requirements, we developed a concept which covers and automates all the steps involved," explains toolcraft's head of engineering and robotics Thomas Wieland, referring to the fact that the automated solutions must be capable of machining parts of numerous different weights and sizes, which vary in increments of one millimeter (batch size 1). In the case of the picking robot, the milled components are fed through the CNC machining cell unsorted, again in batches of one. Configured interfaces communicate the positions of the components to ensure a reliable separation process. Completion of the relevant machining work triggers automated feedback to the customer's ERP system. In the second system, the drawer components are inserted into the supply units by hand. A hand-held scanner identifies these components and automatically checks them against the parts list. In this case, too, the customer’s ERP system automatically receives feedback once the drawer has been completed.