Hegewald & Peschke Meß- und Prüftechnik GmbH and EKF Automation GmbH have developed a test center for flat and round specimens made out of high quality steels. By the cooperation, the measurement technology company intends to expand its range of products in the field of automated material testing. An efficient 6-axis industrial robot with special gripper carries out the specimen handling. The testing machine Inspekt 400 kN by Hegewald & Peschke is the core technology of the test center. The testing system allows non-contact strain-controlled metal tensile tests in accordance with DIN 6892-1 in automatic mode and 24-hour operation cycles.
Metalworking companies are focusing increasingly on automated testing systems and their advantages: A higher machine utilization, lower personnel and test costs. Offering high testing speed as well as a user independent evaluation and an automatic registration of the testing results, the test center gives a new impulse to industrial quality assurance.
The test center has been developed in cooperation with the Dresden EKF Automation GmbH, one of the leading suppliers in automation and robotics, on behalf of a big German steel company and comprises a number of technical innovations.
The EKF Automation was responsible for the installation and the optimization of an industrial robot with special gripper, an optical measuring station of thickness and width, a suitable marking system for the non-contact dimension measuring as well as the control software.
Franziska Würz, head of development and project management at EKF Automation, describes the most important steps of the common project: „The industrial robot has to work with flat and round specimens of different dimensions in the plant. Therefore, it was a challenge for us to match the technology with this tolerance range. Apart from the installation of a reliably functioning measuring station, a precise gripper for the industrial robot had to be developed.”
The flat and round specimens made out of quality steels pass through various stations of the test center, where they are measured and provided with test marks. This is necessary, because a laser measuring system carries out the strain measurement. The marks are sprayed on the test specimen by nozzles. During the testing procedure, sensors optically record those marks, so that the strain distribution can be precisely evaluated.
The specimens are provided by specimen shelves. In those shelves up to 80 flat and around 110 round specimens can be stored. Depending on the test volume, a restocking of the shelves is necessary every 8 hours and is performed by single drawers. Those drawers can be removed and refilled separately without any interruption of the test cycle. The testing system works fully automated and without any further manual intervention in 24h-mode if required.
All handling tasks which are necessary for the testing procedure are carried out by an automatic six-axis robot. The destroyed specimens and the rejects are laid in a separate container.
The Inspekt 400 kN is the core technology of the testing system. The electro mechanic universal testing machines of the type Inspekt have been designed by Hegewald & Peschke especially for applications in metal and building materials industry. The test frame features a very robust frame construction and is therefore very low-wear even in three-shift operation.
Double-sided hydraulic grips ensure a precise positioning of the test specimens, because the specimens can be evenly approached from both sides. Optical sensors control the clamping procedure and prevent any positioning errors.
The non-contact strain-controlled metal tensile test in accordance with DIN 6892-1 starts when the test specimen is supported in the fixture. All results required by the standard can be determined. The testing personnel can keep track in real time of the testing results at the connected terminal if needed. Depending on the test requirements various edit masks are available. The results obtained are transmitted automatically to a host machine and managed from there. The testing results can directly be connected to an ERP system and read out customer-specifically.
The testing system meets all current safety standards in accordance with the machinery directive 2006/42/EG as well as the EMV directives 2004/108/ES. In this context the special safety program of the industrial robot „Safe Operation” should be highlighted.
This technology makes mechanical axis range monitorings superfluous and prevents the robot from swerving out of its defined working area. The test center offers a maximum of safety for the operating environment and the personnel.
In construction and software development, Hegewald & Peschke maintains close cooperation with universities and institutes (such as Fraunhofer) in order to ensure that the company's products remain at the cutting-edge of technology. Hegewald & Peschke has been certified in accordance with ISO 9001 and offers an own calibration laboratory with accredited certificates from the DAkkS (Deutsche Akkreditierungsstelle GmbH).
EKF Automation develops and produces fully automated assembly plants. By the systems and solutions of the Dresden company the workpiece flow in manufacturing lines is automated and measuring and testing solutions are integrated.
Furthermore, the company designs automatic testing machines as well as special-purpose machines for special tasks in the industry. The range of applications are to be found in a high number of industrial manufacturing facilities with high volumes, e.g. in the automotive and electronics industry or in polluted environments.