Automatic Material Sorting Machines Based on Eddy Current Technique

Drawing upon our expertise in the realms of eddy current testing methodology and machine design, we are dedicated to crafting cutting-edge automatic material sorting systems that leverage the power of the eddy current technique. Our systems stand out for their proficiency in two key sorting criteria: detecting alterations in material hardness and identifying shifts in material composition. Our extensive portfolio caters to diverse needs, offering solutions that range from straightforward manual Poke yoke systems to intricate, fully automated setups. Whether your requirements entail precise material identification, rigorous quality assurance, or heightened production efficiency, our solutions cover the entire spectrum, guaranteeing optimal results tailored to your specific needs.

Hardness-Based Sorting Systems

Hardness testing plays a pivotal role in the quality control process of automotive part production. The assurance of optimal material hardness is paramount for components subjected to dynamic stresses, including engine parts, gears, and suspension elements. Precise hardness assessment ensures that these parts can withstand the rigors of daily use, minimizing wear and enhancing overall durability. By validating hardness levels, manufacturers proactively prevent premature failures, reduce maintenance costs, and elevate vehicle safety standards. This meticulous testing process acts as a safeguard against defects that could compromise the performance and reliability of automotive components, ultimately contributing to the creation of safer, more efficient, and longer-lasting vehicles.

Manual System with Poka Yoke

This setup consists of an eddy current device, dual coils, a PLC integrated with an Andon system, and a pair of bins. The Master component is placed within one of the coils. The operator introduces the part intended for testing into the testing coil. Subsequently, the instrument communicates the test outcome to the PLC, which displays the result on the Andon system for the operator’s reference. It is mandatory for the operator to correctly allocate the tested part into the designated bin. Should an anomaly occur, it will trigger an automatic halt of the machinery. Additionally, there is an option to include a parts counter within this arrangement.

Testing machine for Bell Housing

In this scenario, the component slated for testing exceeds the coil’s dimensions. Additionally, the specific evaluation point for the part is fixed. In contrast to the typical coil insertion, the part is placed upon a specialized fixture. Utilizing a pneumatic mechanism, the coil descends and accurately situates itself over the designated assessment area. Post-testing, the coil retreats to its initial position. To implement the Poke yoke methodology, a conveyor system alongside dual bins is employed. In the event of part rejection, it must be placed within the designated reject bin. Conversely, for parts receiving approval, they are introduced onto a conveyor. This conveyor operates exclusively when the outcome is deemed satisfactory. Subsequently, the conveyor transports the approved parts to the designated OK bin.

Automatic Testing machine for Axles

Addressing an even more intricate challenge, this scenario involves the axle’s shaft meticulously engineered to showcase varying degrees of hardness at distinct points along its length. Meeting this complex requirement necessitates a tailored solution with instrumentation capable of retaining numerous reference points. The axle designated for testing is placed on a specialized fixture, and both the master and test coils are moved through a servo motor-driven mechanism. These coils are precisely halted at predetermined positions spanning the axle’s length, with evaluations conducted at each juncture according to specific reference criteria. The ultimate testing outcome is communicated to the PLC. Overseeing the machine’s parameters and serving as a counter is a touch screen HMI (Human-Machine Interface) designed to accommodate over 50 distinct configurations, each tailored to different axle variations. To prevent non-conforming parts from advancing, a reject bin is seamlessly integrated into the machinery. In collaboration with NDT Systems Corporation, we have successfully developed and implemented this machinery across various axle manufacturing plants nationwide.

Testing Machine for Shafts

Taking the complexity a step further, this scenario demands a shaft with a consistent hardness profile across its length, necessitating testing at multiple locations. This requires corresponding adjustments in the positioning of the master coil. To meet this requirement, the shaft is securely placed on a dedicated fixture. The motion of the coil is precisely controlled through a servo motor mechanism. Coordinated by the PLC in collaboration with this system, the coils are accurately halted at designated points, facilitating the processing of testing outcomes provided by the eddy current apparatus. If any variations are detected at the specified points, the component is earmarked for rejection. Subsequently, rejected parts are directed to a designated bin, making way for the testing of subsequent components. To ensure a comprehensive record, a tallying system is integrated to track both acceptable and non-conforming parts.

Testing of Washers & small pins

Washers, characterized by low mass and a considerably poor fill factor, pose a unique challenge for rapid testing due to high production rates. Specialized coils designed to enhance the fill factor play a crucial role in effective washer testing. Similarly, when dealing with diminutive pins, the requirement is for coils of a correspondingly small size. To segregate acceptable (OK) and non-conforming (NG) components, a fully automated gate sorting mechanism is integrated, directing them into distinct bins. Feeding can be executed through manual placement or via a vibratory bowl feeder. A meticulously orchestrated indexing system ensures the gradual introduction of components, one at a time, into the test coil. During testing, a stopper securely positions the part within the coil. Subsequently, a gate system determines the component’s destination — either the OK or the Reject bin — contingent upon the inspection result. The machine’s capacity encompasses the testing of up to 40 parts per minute.

Material Grade Sorting

Material grade sorting holds paramount importance in the automotive parts industry. The use of varied grades of raw materials can compromise structural integrity and performance. Accurate sorting is imperative to ensure that each component is crafted from the appropriate material, guaranteeing compliance with stringent safety and quality standards. This practice prevents potential failures resulting from mismatched materials, thereby upholding the vehicle’s reliability. Material grade sorting not only enhances manufacturing precision but also minimizes wastage and reduces production delays. Ultimately, it serves as a safeguard against costly recalls, ensuring that every automotive part meets the desired specifications and fosters trust in the industry’s commitment to delivering dependable, high-performance vehicles to consumers.

Billet Sorting

In the forging industry, the challenge of mixed-grade raw materials arises during the billet cutting process. Unaddressed, it can lead to inadvertent use of incorrect materials in the production process, resulting in significant material waste and financial loss. To counter this risk, an eddy current-based material grade sorter is deployed at the pre-heating stage of the forging press. If any cut piece with dissimilar composition enters the conveyor for loading into the induction coil, the sorting system swiftly redirects it through a chute to the designated reject bin. This orchestrated process involves diverse sensors and pneumatic drives, all managed by a PLC. The PLC also keeps a record of rejections for comprehensive tracking. Given the variable nature of the potential ‘culprit,’ a multi-frequency eddy current instrument is employed to perform this intricate task effectively.
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