Automation with supercar performance levels

Uploaded 18 Jul @ 08:53am

Belotti, one of the leading manufacturers of high-speed machining centres, has developed a new solution to optimise production cycles using higher levels of automation for the automotive sector. Called the Belotti Integrale, it has been developed for the processing of advanced materials such as carbon, Kevlar and light alloys, in close collaboration with Kuka and Siemens.

Integrating robotics and CNC the Belotti Integrale features robots that are controlled by Siemens numerical control through the function Sinumerik Integrated RunMyRobot. This allows the customer to program and manage the robots with ISO language and it represents an innovation that became a reality thanks to the collaboration of Kuka and Siemens.

Following a global agreement, signed in 2013, these two companies have defined an interface allowing the data exchange between their two related systems. Therefore, Siemens Sinumerik CNC is able to communicate perfectly with Kuka control software for robot management. Starting from this, Belotti has integrated CNC and robot technologies within its new NC machine, an intelligent automation manufacturing solution.

“Using an innovative, technical approach,” comments Umberto Belotti, Managing Director of Belotti SpA, “we have fully exploited what Kuka and Siemens previously developed. We have created a high-tech solution that enhances and actually differs from the traditional CNC and robotic applications. We firmly believe in the integration between anthropomorphic robots and Cartesian machining centres, two different technological concepts that can now work together, fully communicating with each other for the first time.”

Belotti Integrale is a robotic cell that can be installed into an existing production line, offering a high-degree of modularity. Each module represents a function, a specific process that the customer wants to introduce. Compared to the traditional systems, this solution allows a simpler update of the entire production line, adding modules according to the required functions or changing needs. This feature provides greater flexibility as well as ease in upgrading the line without undermining previous investments.

The main application will typically be for automotive manufacturers, a sector in which Belotti already boasts numerous, important references such as Ford, FCA Group, Automobili Lamborghini, Nissan, and Dallara.

The pilot line of Belotti Integrale has been installed in Sant’Agata Bolognese and is part of the assembly line of the Lamborghini Aventador supercar. The customised design of Belotti Integrale allows it to be positioning close to the traditional CNC machines already in the line, for a perfect fit both in terms of layout and of communication with the entire system already operating. Integrating with other traditional CNC machines, systems for loading/unloading pallets and equipment transfer, this new solution guarantees a high level of flexibility and attention to detail in the trimming and milling of composite materials and light alloy components, in particular carbon fibre and aluminium often used in the high-end automotive sector.

At ground level, the machine features a rotary table located in the centre of the cell served by two side shuttles that take the pallet from the existing system into the cell. Automatic dust-tight doors open and close to seal the working envelope. Subsequently, the materials are machined using a Kuka robot suspended from the ceiling. This setting, combined with the rotary table, has been conceived to allow access to several points within the cell itself and to facilitate the machining processes since the different faces of the workpiece can be presented to the robot. The main machining operations include milling, drilling and trimming of composite material components and other special functions required by the customer, with the possibility to install special tools to automate some previously manual processes.

The complexity of Belotti Integrale with its very high-level automation, matches Lamborghini’s requirement to optimise the production cycle, increasing the productivity of its machined car parts up to 30 per cent.

Further reading: www.cannonshelley.com

 

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