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Sheet Metal Handling Robots

Sometimes a customer needs to repurpose robots from one facility to another. Working with our Strategic Partner Concept Systems we designed and integrated a set of Nachi 166kg shelf mount robots to repurpose them as sheet metal handling robots.

The customer needed to be able to handle up to a 5×10 foot sheet of 11 ga steel weighing in at 250 pounds. With a total robot capacity of only 365 pounds the challenge of a custom end effector became paramount.

The customer needed to change the loading for a set of Amada punch presses and a press brake so parts needing 2 or 3 people to handle the large sheet of steel could be done safer and more efficiently. Using a set of incoming conveyors, capable of having a forklift set a 5000 pound stack of sheets, the central robot would pick from the correct stack and place the sheet into one of two Amada turret punch presses.


Using a combination of on-robot vacuum and electro-magnetics allowed the gripper to have zone control and maintain the sheet during the transfer. When the Amada signals the sheet is complete the robot would pick it from the press and load it onto another set of outgoing conveyors. On the Press Brake the customer was able to take large formed parts that would take two operators working in concert to manage the part and have the robot perform the motions while signaling the brake to step thru it’s programming. Using a floor mounted locating fixture the robot would pick the blanks up and process them. When a situation came up that would need the robot to change positions, usually done in the brake, the part was placed on a vibratory skid table or electromagnetic system is used to hold the part while the robot changes gripping surfaces. Our Strategic Partnership with Concept Systems benefited the customer by having a UL rated control system with fluid integration into the existing Nachi robots and Amada presses. Existing engineers at Concept System with Nachi programming backgrounds allowed a quick installation and short training sessions to get the customer up and in production rapidly. Our many years of design experience guided us through a complex end effector and installation process.

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