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MESH Automation and ATI Develop a Feature-Packed Material Removal Solution

MESH Automation specializes in the design and development of automated manufacturing solutions for factories. They get to know each customer’s unique application environments, then apply a combination of custom and pre-engineered technologies to solve manufacturing challenges. Because of their versatility, MESH Automation work cells appear in a wide variety of industries.

Recently, they teamed up with ATI Industrial Automation on a material removal solution for deburring small engine pistons. Their customer needed to update an outdated and underperforming finishing and inspection operation. They used electric hand tools to remove burrs from cast metal parts for years with moderate success but decided to automate the process for better results. They hoped to reduce the footprint of the operation, improve cycle times, and create a safer environment for employees.

MESH Automation’s vast engineering experience allows them to implement a variety of general manufacturing techniques into custom-configured work cells. They have a repertoire of proven solutions that can be tweaked to suit each customer’s distinctive situation. For this automotive customer, MESH integrated the small format MINI MAC automation platform.

The platform includes a CNC machine, two robotic arms, an ATI Deburring Tool, and a gripper tool. The ABB robot brings parts to the stationary deburring tool for material removal before cycling through inspection and laser-engraving operations. The second FANUC robot arm tends the CNC machine and handles material. The system is fully automated and features a dust shroud to manage the dust and debris from the deburring step.

According to Mitch Larson, President of MESH Automation, the deployment of ATI’s RC-300 Radially-Compliant Deburring Tool provided ideal functionality to this multi-purpose cell. They needed just the right motor to meet the customer’s tolerance specifications on their part. The challenge with multi-dimensional parts, like an engine piston, is that each facet of the part requires its ideal motor speed and contact force. The RC-300 provided a way to vary contact pressure and achieve a variety of different finishes with a single tool.

“ATI’s application department was instrumental in the success of this project. Their feature-packed Radially-Compliant Deburring Tool was a perfect fit with excellent value,” says Larson.

When manufacturing cast metal components, achieving a consistent finish across all dimensions and surfaces of a single part is paramount. It is even more critical for suppliers of industries such as automotive and aerospace, where part tolerances are incredibly stringent. The RC-300 from ATI provided the dynamic control the customer needed. Built-in radial compliance compensates for variation from part to part. The customer can also make on-the-fly adjustments to compliance force (by varying the supplied air pressure) to yield precise and repeatable results regardless of part geometry. The flexibility of the RC-300 allows the user to accommodate a variety of deburring operations—different applications and materials, with one tool.

Just like MESH Automation, ATI strives to deliver innovative and reliable solutions that allow customers to do more with their operations. Understanding the nuances of each customer environment is essential to the development of their ideal system. In this case, MESH and ATI configured a solution that not only improves efficiency and operating costs but also keeps employees safe and increases product quality. Results like this help customers realize even more value from their automated ventures.

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