The Australian water and gas distribution products manufacturer, Philmac (part of the global Aliaxis group) hosted the Robotics and Automation Emerging Technologies Interest Group’s largest site visit yet. Thirty-two enthusiastic members representing manufacturers, equipment suppliers, integrators and University students were given a detailed description of four types of Robotic Automation Cells installed at the Philmac North Plympton facility, and then given an up-close inspection of each one.
- an automated overhead arm for unloading large plastic channel and grate components from a molding machine
- a dual robot high-speed labeling and bagging cell that uses vision to identify properly presented components across a very wide product range and in a variety of orientations
- a single 6-axis robot performing machine tending operations for a lathe, which was precision machining several sizes of components for ball valves
- five fully automated robot cells performing complex sorting and assembly tasks for compression fittings across a range of different styles and sizes
We are very grateful to Paul Thomas, Richard Broadhead, Peter Newall and Mark Robinson for sharing the details of their equipment and the learnings that are essential to achieving product consistency and affordability at Philmac. I’m sure many members of the group were inspired to dig a bit deeper into how their own operations could benefit from further automation.