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Member Since 2013


Midwest Engineering Systems Inc. provides custom machines, integrated systems, automation/robotic solutions, and production lines to manufactures globally. Our engineering staff has technical expertise, a diverse knowledge base, and has built thousands of integrated automation systems over the last 20+ years. Not only does MWES provide the new equipment, but also new process development, training, support, service, maintenance, and retrofits for all of a factory’s manufacturing equipment. Our design and build solutions include: customized robots, specialized End of Arm Tools (EOAT), cable solutions, vision systems, safety enclosures, process monitoring, control systems, and automation systems.

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Automotive Automotive

Assembly and Material Handling Assembly and Material Handling

Automated Knurling Machine

POSTED 01/09/2014

Midwest Engineering Systems Inc. provided a valve plate knurling machine for a metal fineblanking company. This machine is used to fully automate the knurling process for an automotive industry application.

 Automated Knurling Machine

The Challenge

  • Machine must be capable of programming four (4) different part numbers
  • Must process one (1) part every 2 seconds
  • Compact design to optimize floor space
  • Capable to flip parts that are loaded up-side-down
  • Must have sensors to detect radial orientation of part on in-feed conveyor to insure correct placement in dial table nest
  • Designed for high pressure and high forces exerted by the knurling process
  • Built-in quality assurance throughout the knurling and handling process to detect defects on top & bottom surfaces such as:
    • Missing features
    • Slug marks
    • Missing holes
    • Missing or additional material
  • Ability to log failure information to an operator interface including:
    • Part number
    • Defect type
    • Quantity of each type of defect
    • Time and date stamps
the solution
After a full evaluation of the project's challenges and goals, Midwest Engineering Systems provided the customer a complete solution, which included:
  • Heavy duty common base for simple install and portability
  • Fanuc LR Mate 200iD robot and R-30iB controller with Fanuc 2D vision camera for part orientation identification on in-feed pick-up locations and placement on dial process system
  • Robotic End of Arm Tool
    • Magnetic gripper
    • Sensors
  • In-feed Flip Station with two (2) position shuttle escapement
  • Two (2) TOX 30-ton, air over oil, presses
  • Twelve (12) position, servo driven, dial table
  • Three (3) position, servo driven, out-feed flip station
  • Out-feed conveyor
  • Four (4) camera PPT vision system
  • Control System
    • Electrical enclosure
    • Servo motor control system
    • PLC with EtherNet IP communication
    • Robot to PLC interface
    • Operator HMI display
    • Arc flash compliance
  • Safety system and enclosure with components, programming, and layout per ISO 13849-1:2006 Category 3 safety guidelines and ANSI/RIA R15.06-1999 specifications
  • Complete electrical and mechanical engineering design
  • Complete robot, vision, PLC, and HMI programming
  • Complete electrical and mechanical fabrication, assembly, and system test
  • On-site installation, start-up, and acceptance testing
  • Technical training for operators, engineering, and maintenance
impact to the customer
The final automated knurling machine provided the customer with process improvements such as:
  • Increased productivity- machine can run 1800 parts/hour
  • Increased productivity - less tooling than previous machine equals faster changeover between parts
  • Decreased maintenance - fewer moving parts to maintain than previous machine & less tooling to maintain
  • Increased reliability and uptime - Mechanically driven, hard tooled, walking beam replaced with programmable 6-axis servo robot and two (2) programmable servo driven dial tables
  • Increased floor space - robotic solution requires 20% less floor space
  • Improved quality- multiple sensors are able to detect failure and immediately notify the operator
  • Failure reporting- automatic data logging and tracking of failures