Implementing a new feeder and indexer modelSankyo Seisakusho Co. of Japan was looking for a partner who could offer an integrated motion control solution for the development of the latest generation of servo-driven belt feeders and indexers for presses used in motor production for plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles.
Optimal solutions and the highest quality are the focus of Sankyo Seisakusho’s work. The automation technology supplier aims to make its machines even more productive by enhancing precision, speed and efficiency to prevail on the global market. The key to the company’s success is the roller-gear cam, a combination of roller thread and globoid cam that Sankyo Seisakusho has been installing in important press stations, such as precision reducers, indexers, material feeders, and peripheral machines since the 1970s for customers from the automotive, food, electronics, and high-tech industries. The cam technology is one of the company’s core technologies, inspired by none other than Leonardo da Vinci: mechanical or electrical cam systems based on a design sketch by the great master are used in most of the company’s products.
For presses used in the production of motors for plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles, Sankyo Seisakusho has developed a new generation of servo-driven belt feeders and indexers integrated in the press. This allows the motor core to be arranged at an angle during stacking, while the angle of rotation can be freely adjusted by the operator. A special vibration dampening system ensures high operational safety.
This task presented a few special challenges, as water cooling is not common for the motor in the press area, so compressed air must be used. To reduce the complexity of the existing solution, ensure compliance with applicable international standards and offer a system that supports multiple operating languages, the company looked for a partner who could offer an integrated motion control solution for its special machines. Siemens was chosen as a global partner with three basic expectations: the Siemens direct-drive motor should enable highly dynamic operation with Sankyo Seisakusho cam curves; the advantages of a global service network should be utilized; and Siemens should provide a product range with all the electrical components required for the feeders and indexers.
The solution of Siemens Japan for the feeder and the indexer was based on a direct drive system consisting of high-performance torque motors from the SIMOTICS T-1FW6 series (for the main drive) integrated as standard, SIMOTICS S-1FK7 servomotors (for the auxiliary drive of the intermediate ventilation), and SINAMICS S120 converters. In combination with the SIMOTION motion controller, the SIMATIC HMI TP1500 Comfort Panel, and the SIMATIC ET200 SP distributed I/O system, as well as local application support and support from the mechatronics expert group in Munich, Siemens offered a single-source-solution that convinced Sankyo Seisakusho in every respect. The equipment is not only user-friendly but also future-proof. During machine specifications, Sankyo Seisakusho chose the simple but technically sophisticated PROFINET network, an optimally designed user-friendly interface on the HMI screen, and the possibility of accessing Industry 4.0 technologies – and thus being able to use predictive maintenance and diagnostic functions.
Using servo drives to create high-speed feedersBy converting the special cam systems into electric cam profiles, Sankyo Seisakusho was able to implement an extremely powerful servo drive system and integrate the special cam curve profiles required on the highly competitive market for electric vehicle motors.
In collaboration with Siemens Japan, Sankyo Seisakusho succeeded in integrating two different, technically sophisticated systems: a feeder and an indexer, which individually coordinate their movements and synchronize them with the main press. The controllers determine the positions with the installed cam profiles according to the press angle – for both feeder and indexer. The new drive system has also greatly improved the machine characteristics of the feeder. With a maximum cycle rate of 1,000 strokes a minute and a maximum feed speed of 100 meters a minute, it's one of the the world's fastest servo feeders. Sankyo Seisakusho’s current product range of servo feeders includes three machines of different widths for processing materials of various widths, thicknesses and hardnesses. In the near future, the company plans to develop a servo-driven feed unit for presses with even higher output together with Siemens Japan by using integrated water-cooled motors and SIMOTION technology to achieve even shorter cycle times for material processing.
For the motors' water-cooling, Sankyo Seisakusho worked closely with the Siemens mechatronics team in Munich. The experts provided support during the commissioning phase, making it possible to further shorten the machine’s development time. Tests carried out in the mechatronics laboratory before the first motor prototype was delivered to the customer also showed the suitability of this cooling method, allowing a significantly shorter verification time for the application.