Automated Tool Changing and Connections

Featured Product from Staubli Corporation

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Stäubli Connectors, part of the international Stäubli Group, are specialists in connection technology, providing cost effective, reliable solutions to a broad spread of industries.

The comprehensive range of connectors are designed and manufactured to the highest standards and provide reliable, robust and rapid connection and disconnection of circuits supplying air, hydraulics, fluids, gases and electrics.

Stäubli products are at the heart of many automation systems.

Automated Tool Changing

Stäubli automatic tool changers provide fast and secure changes of the tools fitted to the robot arm, significantly improving return on investment, often eliminating the need for additional robots. Their use adds to cell flexibility, improving both functionality and productivity as well as operator safety by removing any need to enter the cell to change tools.

When several products or processes are being performed inside a robot cell a change of tool on the robot arm is often required. The facility to automatically change from, for example, a welding gun to a rivet gun or gripper increases the utilisation of each robot arm.

Stäubli's range of tool changers can handle heavy tools up to 500kgs and accommodate the high moments (up to 3200Nm) that fast moving, high payload, modern robots can place on the tool holding equipment.

They are directly mountable on the robot flange and require very little mounting space. Secure locking is provided by a hydraulically actuated ball locking mechanism. An electrical locking mechanism can be specified for installations where the introduction of fluids is to be avoided.

Automatic clean break connections are made for all the services required by the tooling, including compressed air, gases, hydraulics and water. Electrical connections for both power and signals for actuators and sensors are provided; data transfer can be handled through conventional multi pin connectors, field bus systems or fibre optics for high volumes and when the quickest response times are required.

Stäubli tool changers can be specified to accommodate hydraulic circuit pressures of up to 320 bar and are specifically designed to withstand pulsating pressures; making them ideally suited to work with self-piercing rivet guns and metal clinching tools.

Stäubli robot tool changers are currently in use in numerous applications in the automotive, plastics and nuclear industries.

Automated Connections

Assembling an array of quick release connectors onto a single multi-coupling plate provides quick and simultaneous connection of all services e.g. air, water, hydraulics, electrics and data. It can often produce the most significant single improvement in changeover times for applications as diverse as automotive engine test beds, railway rolling stock bogies and moulds on injection moulding machines.

Stäubli have a comprehensive range of connectors for fluid, gas and electrical applications; many specifically designed to be located into a multi-coupling plate; the components are individually specified to match the requirements of each application.

Experienced Stäubli engineers review the requirements of the specific application to determine the precise specification for the multi-coupling plate. They will take into account key parameters including the following:

  • Type of fluid
  • Pressure
  • Temperature
  • Type of valving (single shut-off, double shut-off or unvalved)
  • Type of fitting
  • Non-spill requirements
  • Electrical connector requirements
    • Amperage
    • Voltage
    • Number of pins
  • Environmental constraints
    • Temperature
    • Climatic conditions
    • Marine environment
  • Frequency of connection/disconnection
  • Space envelope available

From this data Stäubli will design and manufacture a specific multi-coupling solution. The resulting multi-coupling plate will include fluid and/or electrical connectors, guiding and centring components as well as locking and drive mechanisms.

The use of multi-couplings dramatically improves safety; connection can only be made in one orientation, eliminating any risk of circuit inversion and mis-connection. Connection of the plates can be either manual or automatic as required and components are selected to suit the medium involved.