Alliance Automation Helps North America’s Manufacturers Gain Competitive Edge Through Automation, Robotics

Grand Blanc, Michigan-based automation supplier, Alliance Automation have explored the globe to find the optimum automation and manufacturing systems. The systems they find are fine-tuned to meet the specific application needs of the U.S. industry. Consequently, most of the products that are being used on a daily basis are being developed in a safer, faster, and more profitable way.

Alliance Automation is based in the heart of the Motor Capitol of the World, and was initially positioned to close the gap between machinery manufacturers across the globe, and U.S. automotive suppliers who required quick automation solutions to remain competitive in the international market.

Alliance Automation have expanded into a range of industries including; food, healthcare, plastics, and automotive. A selection of customized automation solutions are supplied by the company, such as foam pouring and robotic waterjet systems, high frequency welding machines, thermoforming machines, and non-woven machines that are vertically lapped. The company also supply robot replacement components, like Rexroth pumps, mix heads, and coils. Part refurbishing services are also provided.

Alliance Automation has always been at the forefront of sophisticated manufacturing processes. It recently launched an advanced robotic waterjet trimming cell, combining Jet Edge’s ultra-high pressure waterjet pump technology with Yaskawa Motoman HP20D robots (Figure 1).

Alliance Automation’s robotic waterjet trimming cells

Figure 1. Alliance Automation’s robotic waterjet trimming cells combine Motoman HP20D robots and Jet Edge’s 60KSI iP60-50 waterjet intensifier pumps for industry-leading precision and dependability. Photo credit: Alliance Automation, LLC

Revolutionary Robotic Waterjet

Ultra-high pressure waterjet technology is a well-known concept in the automotive sector. For many years, robotic waterjets have been utilized in the industry to handle the entire operation, from the dashboard through to the trunk panel. Alliance Automation is now taking advanced waterjet technology to a new level, with robotic waterjet trimming cells. The trimming cells show potential for improving worker safety, and increasing productivity and profits.

The new 6-axis robotic waterjet trimming cell is integrated with Jet Edge’s 60KSI iP60-50 waterjet intensifier pumps, and dual wall-mounted Motoman HP20D robots (Figure 2). It is an industry leader in accuracy and dependability, with Jet Edges reliable tie-rod intensifier design and Motoman’s ±0.06 mm repeatability. Featuring a robust, compact design, the cell promotes stability for the robots and the tool, ensuring reliable components with tight tolerances. With the aid of the robotic waterjet trimming cell, molded or shaped components are cut at multiple angles from different types of materials, such as plastic, foam, fiberglass, and carpeting.

Wall-mounted robots allow for the first 2 axis to be mounted forward, over the part.

Figure 2. Wall-mounted robots allow for the first 2 axis to be mounted forward, over the part. This feature allows for a larger work envelope and motion to work easier around larger shaped parts. Photo credit: Alliance Automation, LLC

According to Steven Cranston at Alliance Automation, the system can be used in many automotive interior applications, such as trimming dashboards, headliners, dash liners, wheel liners, bed liners, car carpet, door panels, acoustic dampening components, and trunk trim. The systems can also be utilized for similar applications in the marine and aerospace sectors. Cranston added that the advanced robotic waterjet trimming cell includes a number of design features, which sets it apart from other robotic systems available. The wall mounted robots integrated in Alliance’s system enable the first 2 axis to be positioned forward, across the part. With this aspect, a wider work envelope and movement is achieved to work easily around larger-shaped components. The robots can rapidly retract to a home position for loading and unloading of components, this reduces cycle times and improves operator safety. The system also reduces operating expenses by removing the need for complex trimming dies.

The robotic waterjet trimming cell can be set up so that multiple parts can be easily programmed and chosen via the touch screen HMI featured on the control panel (Figure 3). With this feature, operators can change products and tools quickly and easily. Everything has been configured to improve workers’ productivity. The coil package on the robots facilitates a rapid change, while the coils have a traditional design for each robot model that is factory wound, pre-threaded, and pre-coned.

Revolutionary Robotic Waterjet

Figure 3. Alliance Automation’s robotic waterjet trimming cell allows many different parts to be programmed so tools or products can be quickly changed. Programming is accomplished via the Teach Trace Method. Credit: Alliance Automation, LLC.

A Powerful Partner

The pump is the core of a waterjet system. It can rapidly convert a gallon of tap water into an ultra-high pressure waterjet that can cut almost anything. A waterjet pump is used by high productivity automotive suppliers to operate multiple shifts in a reliable way. If the pump malfunctions, the profits also reduce significantly. Recognizing that the waterjet pump is important to ensure customers’ success, Alliance Automation opted to use Jet Edge’s hydraulic intensifier pumps to drive its new robotic waterjet trimming cells.

Cranston stated that Alliance Automation was aware that that Jet Edge specialize in waterjet technolog and they were confident using the Jet Edge intensifier. Alliance Automation is dedicated to the robotic waterjet market, and the implementation of the Jet Edge Intensifier helps to provide the required product and support for its existing and future customers.

Jeff Schibley from Jet Edge contributed in integrating the Jet Edge pumps into the robotic waterjet trimming cells at Alliance Automation. He explained that Jet Edge pumps have a consistent tie-rod design, which eliminates the need for threads on hydraulic cylinders, high pressure cylinders, and end caps. This reduces potential cracking issues and extends the life of the components. Jet Edge have designed several pumps that are highly durable - some customers have undertaken over 35,000 hours of operation on the Jet Edge pumps, which still continue to be used. The pumps are designed so that maintenance is kept to a minimum and downtime is reduced. Jet Edge have developed a patented metal-on-metal seal technology, which drastically reduces the number of seals requiring replacement. The company helps customers to solve their issues, and assists them to boost their productivity and reduce operating costs.

Schibley added that robotics provide a powerful solution for both Jet Edge and Alliance Automation. According to the Robotic Industries Association, only 10 percent of U.S. businesses that could benefit from robots are using them, meaning there is an excellent growth prospect for both Jet Edge and Alliance Automation.

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by Jet Edge, Inc.

For more information on this source, please visit Jet Edge, Inc.

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