Grind Master, an Aurangabad-based technology leader for metal processing machines, helps other companies as an integrator to automate the deflashing process of die-cast aluminium components for automobiles and motorcycles. Considering the high quality requirements for the many visible Class A parts produced, Grind Master has chosen KUKA as its robot supplier. Ever since, KUKA small robots of the KR AGILUS series have helped increasing the productivity and quality while at the same time lowering the overall costs.
The success story of Grind Master Machines Pvt. Ltd. began with a married couple’s passion for engineering, a small garage and an even smaller budget in 1984 in the historic city of Aurangabad. Mohini Kelkar and her husband, Milind Kelkar, after both getting their Production Engineering degree, started their business with work like polishing non-stick cookware. A bit over three decades later, their company has become a global technology leader and exporter for metal processing machines with more than 200 employees and a turnover of INR 400-500 Crores. In January 2016 Grind Master decided to further their technological leadership by becoming an integrator for applications that automate parts of manufacturing processes for the automobile and motorcycle industry.
For the production of die-cast aluminium components, mainly for automobiles, scooters and motorcycles, companies in India have originally used casual manual labor. Many of the parts produced are visible Class A components however, which require a high degree of consistency and quality in the finishing process. Additionally, the high temperatures, fumes and dust in the foundry proved to be straining for the human workers as well as the machines. The deflashing operation is done on “as cast” parts, which have part to part variations inherent to the casting process. These variations pose challenges in deflashing automation – starting from location and fixture through to uniformity of pressure application to adjusting for part variations. Both to improve the work place situation as well as the productivity and quality of the deflashing shop, automation suggests itself.
KR AGILUS provides unmatched quality and consistency
For Grind Master, a linear portal solution was out of the question from the beginning. The high number of component variants and frequent model upgradation required by their customers such as Aurangabad Electricals Ltd. made a flexible solution necessary that can be reprogrammed easily and quickly. Additionally, the complex shapes of the parts called for the mobility and speed of a six-axis robots. Grind Master saw the answer in the KUKA KR AGILUS sixx. This small robot with payloads from six to ten kilograms and a reach from 706,7 to 1101 millimeters is extremely agile, fast and precise. It also highly flexible as it adapts to any installation position: inverted on the ceiling, sideways on the wall or firmly on the floor. Last but not least, the AGILUS is also very robust and compact, making it an ideal solution for the foundry environment. The result is a robot that deflashes the die-cast parts with unmatched consistency.
Since January 2016, Grind Master’s solutions with KUKA robots have each produced over 600 components per day on average, depending on load. The production capacity is more than 1800 parts per day on a two-shift basis. With a cycle time of 25 seconds per part and a setup change time of ten minutes, the solution has proved to more than satisfy the demanded criteria. Not only has productivity increased, but also the quality of the produced components. Through the highly advantageous cost-benefit-ratio, Grind Master estimates a Return of Investment within about three years. A further argument for Grind Master’s decision for KUKA is the excellent global service support. “Robotic deflashing is a transformation of the foundry and human lives therein, by creating a hazard-free, safe and healthy work environment, delivering high quality parts and matching global manufacturing practices. With the success of the first two deflashing robots, we would like to proceed with automation of the entire foundry with robots for this operation,” says Sameer Kelkar at Grind Master.
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