Press Tending Automation

Request: Design, build and install a fully automated press tending system to move assembly tooling into and out-of a 500 T stamping press, then circulate the tool past unload & load stations before sending it back into the press. The cell controller would also need to manage in-die actuators and monitor all tools in circulation to confirm the correct parts are loaded before any tool is sent back into the press. The customer needed the system to accommodate up to 10 production models and provide flexibility for future model expansion.

Challenges: The customer is utilizing a two-element tooling system. The ‘in press’ tool element remains in the press during normal operations while the 1,800lb ‘traveling’ tool element is circulated by the automation. Multiple traveling tools are circulating on the carousel at any given time. When re-inserting a traveling tool into the press tool, accuracy is critical. Once pressed, the traveling tool is automatically stopped for unloading. The tool is then routed back to the load station where operators insert pre-cursor parts before using an inductive coupler to ‘read’ the embedded sensors and determine if the proper pre-cursors were installed. A short timeline compounded the technical challenges.

Our Solution: Marando immediately joined the weekly project team meetings comprised of customer and vendor representatives. The tooling and automation were designed simultaneously in the interest of time. Multiple vendors were employed to accelerate the build phase. By working closely with the customer we were able to complete the installation and avoid the timing impacts arising from COVID-19 lock-downs.

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