Original Date: 10/14/1988
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Information : Robotic Material Hardening
Bell Helicopter Textron, Inc. (BHTI) has developed and implemented a robotic gear hardening cell. The cell presently consists of a Seco/Warwick rotary hearth furnace, a Cincinnati Milacron RM-100 robot, a Gleason quencher, a degreasing machine, a Harris freezer, and a six position rotary load/unload workstation.
The heat treating process consists of the robot taking a gear blank weighing up to 100 lbs. from a load/unload station and putting it into the furnace. When the blank reaches the proper soak time at a temperature of 1650 degrees F the robot removes it from the furnace and puts it into the quench press. This process must take place within 40 seconds to maintain proper heat control. After quenching, the robot dips the blank into the degreasing tank and then places it into the freezer where it is chilled for one hour at -1600 degrees F. When that process is complete, the robot removes the blank from the freezer and returns it to the load/unload workstation.
The ability to handle blanks weighing up to 100 lbs and work in an environment of over 1700 degrees F is an ideal application of robotics. Providing consistent handling capabilities and automating a mundane labor intensive process, this cell has solved a manufacturing problem and shows good potential to improve productivity, profitability, and quality.
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