Staubli Robotics assisting business with Cleanroom molding challenges
Stäubli Robotics assisting businesses with Cleanroom molding challenges
PTG Silicones invested a full year designing and constructing its state-of-the-art manufacturing facility which features a class 100,000 Cleanroom. As a supplier to both the food packaging and healthcare industries one of the company’s biggest challenges was to create an environment that utilizes robust equipment and machinery, but still maintains the stringent requirements of cleanliness.
“Coming from 15 years in the injection molding industry, I knew when we started the business we wanted world-class equipment, and we wanted to use suppliers that are technology leaders in their industries,” says Brendan Cahill, President of PTG Silicones.
With the support and assistance of the University of Kentucky’s Center for Manufacturing Excellence in the planning of the new facility, PTG Silicones benchmarked companies that had the best reputation in cleanroom manufacturing situations. Stäubli Robotics was recommended to Cahill by another robotics company due to its exceptional reputation for cleanroom molding capabilities and the flexibility of its robots to be positioned on the side or top of the machine. Stäubli worked with PTG Silicones to evaluate the processes and cycle times, simulate feasibility and conduct a process and evaluation, which tested the tools, parts, and robots together.
“The training and service have been and continue to be outstanding,” states Cahill.
Stäubli robots are used for removing the silicone molded parts from the injection molding machines. The process starts with the liquid silicone being injected into a mold. Once the silicone material is cured, the mold opens up, and the robot removes the silicone parts. The robot “picks” the parts almost in a peeling manner due to its flexibility and precision. The injection molding machines and Stäubli’s RX160 and RX90 six-axis articulating arms have a seamless integration interface allowing for an extremely high degree of automation during the entire molding cycle.
“Customers who visit our facility feel confident that we can manufacture food packaging and healthcare products that exceed their company’s quality and Safe Quality Foods (SQF) or FDA – GMP cleanliness requirements,” says Cahill.
“We knew from the very beginning that we needed to utilize robots to have a highly automated manufacturing process, because of the challenges in finding people to remove molded silicone parts in a safe and highly efficient manner”. “With the production quantities we are manufacturing, it’s difficult for an employee to achieve this level of output and efficiency, seven days a week, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The reliability of the Stäubli robots and the clean, consistent performance they offer, has given me peace of mind in achieving a true, unmanned, lights-out manufacturing operation and optimal efficiency in operations.”
PTG Silicones offers innovative elastomer engineering solutions serving the food packaging, healthcare, automotive, large appliance, consumer goods, and industrial/electronics industries. They provide several services including:
- Precision liquid silicone rubber (LSR) manufacturing
- Two-shot thermoplastic/LSR components for healthcare, electronics, automotive, industrial, and consumer goods OEMs
- Cleanroom molding capability
- Engineering and design support
- Secondary operations (post-curing, part slitting, part cleaning, assembly, packaging, warehousing, and logistics)
PTG Silicones serves the entire North American territory, but its customers serve the world.
Running at ninety percent (90%) machine efficiency, PTG Silicones is manufacturing 130 million pieces a year for the food packing industry, between 7 and 10 million pieces for the medical industry, and 500,000 pieces for the automotive industry.
PTG Silicones’ customer satisfaction level is high because of the flexibility and quick turnaround it can offer as a result of the speed and accuracy Stäubli robots provide. “Our future looks bright,” says Cahill “We will continue to partner with top-of-the-line companies like Stäubli.”