“Industrial production is on the verge of a fundamental change,” underlined Dr. Markus Klaiber, Chief Technology Officer/CTO of SCHUNK GmbH & Co. KG in Lauffen, Germany with a view to EMO 2017. “In the years ahead, the digitalization, use of mechatronic products, and automation of production processes, collaboration between humans and robots as well as intelligent networking of all process-relevant components will promote a new concept of industrial production.”
The primary focus will be on three aspects: communication between all the components involved, maximum transparency within the system, component, control technology and corporate levels, and flexible responses to external and internal events. “The used types of clamping devices and gripping systems are of significant importance in all three of these areas,” the production specialist emphasized while maintaining SCHUNK’s position as the world’s leading supplier in both segments: “Our aim is to utilize the exposed position of our modules “closest-to-the-part” in the future, in order to enable detailed monitoring of every individual process step as well as to permanently supply the higher-level ERP system control and cloud solutions with process data and to be able to react flexibly to any respective events.”
Autonomous handling scenarios
SCHUNK already provides a large number of clamping force blocks that are capable of communication, fully automated palletizing systems and quick-change solutions for flexible production. The family-owned company will continue to expand its Industry 4.0 portfolio at the EMO. The highlight will be a functional manufacturing cell in which an intelligent SCHUNK EGL PROFINET gripper with variable power and positioning enables autonomous handling scenarios, and ensures fully automated quality assurance. Without the need for additional external sensors, the gripper autonomously detects defective components and decides for itself whether the part should be removed from the process. The recorded information can be continuously transferred to the machine control system, to higher-level internal and external systems as well as to cloud solutions for statistical process analyses. All the process steps are monitored in real time and superordinate levels such as ERP systems or cloud-based monitoring platforms are provided. In addition, SCHUNK is pushing the trend toward fluid-free, highly interconnected machine tools with the VERO-S NSE-E mini – the first global electrically controlled 24V quick-change pallet module.
System program for workpiece direct clamping
SCHUNK is even setting the stage for exciting new products for mechanical clamping systems that reduce idle times, increase productivity of machine tools and enable flexible processes. Therefore SCHUNK is going to further expand its modular system for workpiece direct clamping modules, to expand its portfolio of lightweight chucks and, after numerous successful customer tests, to get the ball rolling with the slim, vibration damping TENDO Slim 4ax hydraulic expansion toolholder. The underlying message: “Easy to use, easy to integrate, easy to maintain,” says Dr. Markus Klaiber. “Because modern gripping systems and clamping devices are the key to efficient and flexible production processes.”