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Last step frame application: fully automated IG production


Last step frame application: fully automated IG production

photo LiSEC | Last step frame application: fully automated IG production

Insulating glass production, an important part of the global glass industry, is constantly evolving. While the production of IG units with flexible (VSA) and thermoplastic (TPA) spacers was already possible in an automated process, rigid spacers continued to pose a challenge for machine developers. 

LiSEC has now succeeded in realizing this production step without operator interaction. Applying rigid spacers automatically - how does that work?

The challenge

Today, the production of IG units with rigid spacers is often a trade-off between low material costs and high labor costs. The automation of frame production and mounting was a challenge due to several factors:  

» Frames must be provided at a sufficiently high speed for the insulating glass line
» High quality requirements (placement tolerance, butyl application, cleanliness of the frames)
» High variety of spacer bar types and widths
» Low stability of modern spacer profiles (e.g. plastic profiles and hybrid profiles)

The solutions

LiSEC presents the first fully automated frame assembly system.  Some insulating glass producers have already opted for the new generation of frame assembly and benefit from an almost fully automated insulating glass line without manual intervention. The in-house Glastech production facility (Hausmening) also uses a fully automated insulating glass line. 

Up to the stacking of the finished insulating glass units on the delivery racks, almost every production step is automated. The operators only have to pick up the filled racks from the line with the forklift and refill the consumables.

The heart of the automatic frame setting process is the RHF frame setting robot. It essentially consists of two main components: the frame gripper system with of 39 high-precision grippers, and a six-axis articulated arm robot. 

The special feature of this gripper system is the alignment of the frame to the required shape. The grippers position themselves automatically to the respective frame length and height to ensure optimum guidance on all four sides at all times.

The frame is then aligned in the plane using a sophisticated sliding mechanism and positioned on the glass with maximum precision.


The advantages

The robot system for mounting spacers offers completely new possibilities for automatic frame assembly: 

» Manual processes are avoided: no risk of fingerprints on the frame or glass
» Large, unstable formats that tend to sag at the top edge are brought into the defined shape by the gripper system
» The frame remains clamped on all sides during the entire process
» A consistently stable and precise process is guaranteed for all frame sizes 

Frame application robots in the production

In order to implement a fully automatic spacer mounting robot (RHF) as a link between frame production and the IG line, two additional new machine types are required: a frame transport unloading station (FTU) and a positioning station (GPF). 

In fully automated production, the unloading station (FTU) is placed after an automatic butyl extruder. The (FTU) has an additional linear axis with a mounted frame gripper. Butylated frames are positioned precisely in the center of the unloading station (FTU).

After gripping the frame, the robot (RHF) turns to the IG line where a positioning station (GPF) uses a glass stop mounted on a linear axis to align the incoming glass sheets in the center of the station to prepare them for the application of the spacer frames. As the GPF is designed exclusively for frame assembly with the RHF robot, there is no additional assembly aid for manual spacer frame assembly. In addition, the area around the RHF is secured by a safety fence so that it is not possible to inspect the glass panes with the spacer frames in place. It is therefore always recommended to place a manual frame mounting station (RSV) behind the GPF.

Author: Sarah Hummelsberger, LiSEC
#StructuralGlass, #GlassProcessing, #LiSEC


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