The installation of robotic systems has gained esential relevance in industry 4.0, characterized by the integration of digital technologies and automation in production processes. An example of this evolution is the Robotized Installation for Wax Assembling in Investment Casting technology that we have integrated at Ecrimesa Group. In this context, automation not only improves productivity, also ensures greater consistency and quality in the final products, key elements in our company.
Integration of Advanced Technologies in Ecrimesa Group
One of the areas where our commitment to innovation and continuous improvement has been especially relevant is in the wax assembly process, a critical step in the production of high-quality parts. Traditionally, this process was carried out manually, which, although effective, had limitations in terms of precision and repeatability. Aware of these restrictions and looking for optimizing our processes, we have selected a technologically advanced solution to automate and improve significantly this production phase.
Evolution of Wax Assembly Process: From Manual to Automatic
The wax assembly process, before the integration of our new technological solution, was based on a meticulous manual method. This procedure involved an operator, with skill and cares, manually placing the wax pieces on the structures intended for casting. Using a spatula at a controlled temperature, he melted a small piece of the casting gate point and glued it to the structure manually.
Although this method had been the standard at Ecrimesa Group for years, it had certain limitations inherent to its manual nature. One of the main ones was the lack of repeatability and precision. Each assembly, although it followed the same pattern in terms of the number and position of the pieces, did not guarantee exact symmetry. The distances between pieces in the same row varied, which could lead to inconsistencies in the final product.
This variability had direct implications for later stages of the process, such as ceramic coating and casting. The proximity or irregular arrangement of the parts could cause problems, for example, in the adequate coverage of the wax parts with the coating layers. Such details, sometimes impacted the final quality of the cast parts and the efficiency of the long-term production process.
Design and Development of the New Assembly System
The transition towards automation in the wax assembly process has been a significant innovation at Ecrimesa Group. With the introduction of new automatic assembly technology, we have overcome the barriers of repeatability and precision inherent to the manual method. This modernization has not only optimized the process, it has also raised the quality of the assemblies to a new standard.
The main advantage of this automated technology lies in its ability to ensure exact uniformity and symmetry in each assembly. Unlike the manual process, automatic assembly ensures that the distance between parts is consistent and precise, proving a greater uniformity across structures. This precision is essential, especially in ceramic coating and casting, where even small variations can significantly affect the quality of the final product.
Additionally, automation has significantly improved the efficiency of our assembly process. The automatic assembly machine can carry out almost twice as many assemblies than manual assembly, which represents a substantial increase in productivity. This change, in addition to benefiting production speed, contributes to greater consistency in the quality of the pieces, a crucial aspect in our commitment to excellence.
Operation and Characteristics of the Automated Machine
The design and development process of our new automatic assembly machine was a complex and collaborative project, which had the essential participation of the engineering company BSP, specialized in process automation. This project represented a significant technical challenge, aimed at creating a tailored solution that specifically responded to the needs of Ecrimesa Group.
The starting point was the development of an element capable of melting wax with very specific characteristics. It was essential to precisely control the temperature to ensure that the wax reached the proper consistency for gluing without overflowing or burning. To achieve this, we designed an element with advanced PID control, which allowed the temperature to be maintained constant throughout the entire process.
Once this initial challenge was overcome, the project consisted of developing the rest of the machine. This included automating the loading and unloading of parts, as well as precise handling of finished structures and assemblies. The result was a machine composed of two robots: one that keeps the fluxing element fixed and another that, through a quick change of tools, is responsible for loading and unloading finished structures and assemblies.
The design of this machine not only focused on efficiency and precision, also flexibility. The machine can adapt to different types of structures using predefined recipes, allowing quick switching between different types of parts. This aspect was crucial to ensure the machine could handle the variety of parts we produce at Ecrimesa Group.
Advantages of Automation: Precision and Productivity
The implementation of our new automatic assembly system has brought important benefits and improvements in productivity and quality, having a positive impact on the process efficiency.
One of the most significant advances has been the increase in productivity. With the automated system, we are now able to perform almost twice as many assemblies compared to the manual method. This improvement in production quantity not only optimizes time and resources, also elevates our ability to respond to market demand more effectively.
In terms of quality, the new system guarantees greater uniformity in the assembly of wax pieces. By ensuring consistent and accurate distances between parts, we eliminate problems previously faced in later stages of the process, such as ceramic coating and casting. This precision results in a higher quality finish of castings, significantly reducing rework and scrap.
In addition, the automatic assembly system offers almost perfect repeatability, allowing us a more detailed and precise analysis of the assembly quality. This ability to consistently reproduce high-quality builds is critical to maintaining the standards our customers expect from us.
The integration of the automatic assembly system in Ecrimesa Group represents a step aligned with our long-term strategy of incorporating advanced technologies and continuously improving our processes. This advance not only responds to current needs, also prepares us for future changes and challenges in the sector. The flexibility and adaptability of the system is crucial, allowing us to quickly adjust to different part types and production requirements, ensuring our ability to remain competitive and efficient in a constantly evolving market.
The automation of wax assembly at Ecrimesa Group has marked a significant advance in our production. This change has improved the productivity and quality of our parts, and has also raised our level of precision and efficiency. The system’s ability to adapt to different types of assembly and its contribution to reducing rework and rejection underlines our commitment to excellence and innovation.
Looking to the future, this innovation in wax assembly is a clear example of how automation and advanced technology can transform traditional processes, opening up new possibilities and ensuring that Ecrimesa Group continues to be at the forefront of the metalworking industry. With this approach, we remain committed to continuous improvement and adaptation to market changes, thus guaranteeing the best quality and service to our customers.