Alfond Advanced Manufacturing Lab For Structural Thermoplastics


Post-Processing Cell

Post Processing

Overview

Once the thermoforming stage is completed, the product enters a post-processing cell where machining, joining, cutting, grinding and drilling operations can be performed. These operations are completed using an ABB IRB 4400 Industrial Robot (45-kg capacity). This 6-axis robot is known for its durability, flexibility and versatility in machining. Custom robotic tooling can be designed on an application specific basis and 3D printed using the Fortus 900mc, located in this laboratory.

To effectively join thermoplastic parts and assemblies the post-processing cell utilizes ultrasonic resistance and thermal welders. These joining methods can be used in conjunction with the IRB 4400. Ultrasonic welders conduct a vibration through the components at the weld interface until ideal thermoplastic fusion temperature is reached. The laboratory  currently owns one 15 kHz Dukane Ultrasonic Welder and one 20 kHz Ultrasonic Welder. The lab currently operates one Amada Miyachi Resistance Welder. Resistance welding functions similarly at the interface; however, the bond is created through a controlled combination of pressure and heat by interfacial electrical current.

Equipment

IRB 4400 Industrial Robot – ABB

The ABB IRB 4400 is a 6-axis robot with a 45-kg lifting capacity. This industrial robot is extremely fast, compact, and versatile with exceptional all-round capabilities which make it suitable for a variety of manufacturing applications, including grinding, ultrasonic welding, drilling and part manipulation. Rapid maneuverability makes the IRB 4400 perfectly matched for applications where speed and flexibility are important. The robust, rigid construction means long intervals between routine maintenance. Well-balanced steel arms with double bearing joints, a torque-strut on axis 2 and use of maintenance-free gearboxes and cabling also contribute to the very high levels of reliability. The drive train is optimized to give high torque with the lowest power consumption for economic operation.