In an effort to eliminate casting related injuries, reduce fatigue and increase production, RSI has installed a material handling device (manipulator arm) in the new area of casting in the Sebring plant.
The device was designed to hold a rack tray under a casting die to catch the cast part as it comes out of the die. The superstructure was installed so the one arm can be positioned to service one of three casting tanks. Using the device to catch the heavy wet parts reduces the chance of an injury and reduces the fatigue of catching the part by hand. The combined weight of the tray and wet part can easily exceed 100 lbs. Use of the new arm means less physical strength is required to do the job, easing scheduling by opening this position to a greater number of workers.
After catching the part, the device serves as a table to check the thickness of the part. From there, the part is placed into the board press, flattened and removed to go into the rack. All of this is can now be done without requiring the operator to lift the tray and part. The manipulator arm is very operator friendly. It maneuvers in and out, left and right and rotates almost 360º with ease. The braking system on the device locks the manipulator arm into place if work is necessary to the part or tray. We are able to increase production using the device since we can now use one person to catch the heavy parts instead of two.
Besides being a very useful production tool, the arm can be used to change dies, eliminating the need for a forklift. The operator can now start the process while waiting for the die setter to bring the replacement die, shortening the overall amount of time required to change dies.
All in all, the device adds significantly to our casting process. Based on what we have seen from the current device, we will be adding more manipulator arms in the future.