The aluminium sheets are NOT stacked against us!


Today I will tell you the story about a stacking machine for highly sensitive sheets of aluminium.
Until now, stacking capacity was about 1200 sheets per hour. Well, rone day, this was no longer enough. The customer asked for 3.000 sheets per hour and this was nearly impossible for linear motion. Why? Because a linear motion or a gantry robot is always working with one “empty” stroke. For 3000 sheets an hours, the gantry has to run 6.000 times with a very high speed and acceleration rate. This hurry scurry wastes time and energy.

Better: A continuous movement without any “empty” stroke. With our pikchain® the customer can realise this high output of 3000 sheets per hour without any extensive speed and acceleration. No stroke is useless.

This saves time, energy and of course: Costs

Would you like to know more about this application? Please call me: +49(0)2203 96 49 7208.

Let me get this straight! Oh no, please don’t!

And again a small detail that make a big difference and improve our pikchain®
The first prototype had a straight cut on the guide bar close to the tensioner wheel. See foto nr. 1. But the links of the pikchain® have a certain mass and this mass has a certain behaviour known as inertia.

What happened? The chainlinks, once out of the guidebar and because of their inertia didn’t follow the path of the tensioner wheel and caused too much noise which rose with the speed of the chain.

Solution: We cut the guidebar not straight but curved to follow the wheel radius. We positioned the bar as close to the tensioner wheel as possible. This keeps the links under control.

Result of this little change: The pikchain beomes smoother!


The devil is in the detail

The devil is in the detail: Again! And the devil already knows our pikchain.
There are quite a lot places in our pikchain where he can hide and wait until you discover him too late. One of theses places has been found recently and the devil was amused!! When you build the frame of your pikchain without any possibility of finely adjusting the guide rails (horizontal and vertical), then it may happen that different tolerances add in such a bad way that the pikchain sticks between the rails and can’t move anymore. In this case you have to modify your frame, which can be very cost ineffective and time consuming.
The easiest solution consists of having a design with oblong holes. Don’t give the devil a chance.



Interface: c-chain/pikchain®

There is a section of the pikchain®, where cables and hoses coming from the energy chain must be diverted to the inner of the conveyor chain. As long as the cables and hoses have no big outer diameters everything is ok, and to prevent additional wear between the cables and hoses you can add protection hoses. See picture.

But in the case that you have really thick pneumatic hoses you will have a problem diverting the hoses from the energy chain to the conveyor chain because of the acceptable bending radius. It will be too big for the chain.
Specifically for this problem igus® have created a special link. This link consists of a channel, through which the air finds its way from one hose to the other (marked red). Result: No bending radius, no wear, no additional and the lifetime goes up.

10 Meters per second!?

Highly dynamic gantry robots can easily reach speeds of 10 Meters per seconds with an according acceleration performance. But all of them loose performance, because of the empty run.

The pikchain® drives continuously and can carry; on each link (every 112 mm), tools like a gripper, suction cups, sensors, a camera, etc. This is the main reason why the pikchain doesn’t have to run so fast, because there is no empty run to compensate for.
Please do not think now, that the pikchain has the speed of a snail. The top speed until now is limited to 3m/s, under certain circumstances the pikchain can be faster, but is this really necessary.

We have a small video here that shows a vertical pikchain® that runs at 2.5m/s. We think that this is pretty fast…

Smaller motors, less power and the same capacity as gantry robots. That’s the way to save costs and energy!!

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