|A fully enclosed automated router trimming system from KMT Robotic Solutions keeps harmful carbon-fiber dust contained as it post processes a fender mold for Chevrolet’s Z06 Corvette at PlasanUSA. |
PlasanUSA, a Vermontbased manufacturer of custom carbon and fiberglass composite automotive components, supplies automotive fenders, hoods and roof panels for leading American sports cars.
When the company won the business to develop front fenders for the Chevrolet Z06 Corvette, it needed a robotic system to shorten cycle time and contain the harmful dust created during the trimming process.
In the past, Plasan manufactured the front fenders with handlayed autoclave-cured carbon/epoxy prepreg and manually deflashed, trimmed and drilled the parts – a process that took more than an hour.
Working with KMT Robotic Solutions Inc. (www.kmtgroup.com/robotic) of Auburn Hills, Mich., Plasan found an automated router trimming system that it believed produced the best cut quality and fastest cycle time. The system processes a fender every 13 min. – a more than 75 percent reduction in post mold processing time.
“We found the right tool combination to achieve superior edge quality without excessive tool wear,” Dalton Blackwell, general manager at Plasan, said.
Plasan’s KMT RoboTrim robotic router system and a companion set of software tools is an enclosed system that keeps operators out of the harsh, dust-filled trimming environment, while a ventilation and filtration system meets environmental requirements and prevents the carbon fiber dust from interfering with the trimming process.
When a fender is loaded into one of the two vacuum fixtures, the system’s two-sided servo controlled table rotates the part 180 degrees into the enclosure in less than three seconds. A floor-mounted AccuTrim R-99 robot, equipped with a 3-hp spindle, uses a carbide router bit to produce the holes and slots and changes to a similar bit to trim the perimeter. Once the part is trimmed, the table rotates the finished part to the outside of the enclosure as an untrimmed part is rotated into the system.
The system operates on three shifts and is so successful that Plasan recently purchased another such system. KMT also provided comprehensive training and part programming assistance.