The Non-stick focused electromagnet is a custom motor solution, developed to solve a challenge within a production company operating world-wide. Their goal was to enhance the production line speed by focusing on the bottleneck within the punching process. Demanding high precision in a limited timeframe.
Our custom solution revolves around an electromagnet design that optimizes acceleration, attraction forces and minimize residual magnetic effects. Notably, the solution seamlessly fits into the existing setup, eliminating the need for costly redesigns.
Problem and approach
The customer faced a significant challenge: they needed to boost their production line speed by 40%.
The production line bottleneck emerged within the punching process, where small steel parts required swift unloading after each punch stroke. The unloading took place during the brief period when the punch tool was opening, representing a small segment of the cycle time. Operating at 140 strokes per minute, the punch tool provided less than 100 milliseconds for unloading the punched steel parts.
To accomplish this, standard off-the-shelf electromagnets were used for unloading the steel parts. However, these electromagnets were operating at their performance limits, leading to two primary issues:
1. The retractable robot arm responsible for picking up steel parts using the electromagnets needed to accelerate and decelerate rapidly to enhance unloading speed. The higher accelerations required higher attraction forces between the steel parts and the electromagnets than the standard electromagnets could offer. The goal was to prevent the steel parts from dropping off.
2. The steel parts, once released from the punch tool, tended to stick to the electromagnets, even when they were turned off. This is caused by a residual magnetic field due to the previous magnetization in the steel parts themselves, in the standard electromagnets, or in both. This phenomenon hinders increasing the required process speed.
To overcome these challenged, a custom solution was needed. The custom project case was to devise an innovative electromagnet redesign that would optimize acceleration, attraction forces, and minimize residual magnetic effects. The custom electromagnets needed to be retrofitted in the existing building volume.
Plan of approach
After receiving information about the business case, we initiated the project by making a comprehensive analysis of the existing scenario and its performance. This involved a combination of on-site and in-house measurements. For precise assessments of attraction and residual forces, a dedicated test was setup. Additionally, finite element models of the electromagnet and part geometry were made to aid in the performance evaluation.
Based on the analysis of the current situation and by identifying the performance needed to enhance production speed, new specifications were set. Several concepts were investigated and benchmarked against specifications and manufacturability.
The most promising concept was realized as a prototype and verified in-house. After completing the in-house measurements, the prototypes were successfully tested on-site in the punch tool.
Central to our success was the close collaboration with our customer. By gaining a thorough understanding of the challenges at hand, we developed an effective solution that met all criteria. The prototype was realized by implementing state of the art production technologies in coil winding and part manufacturing.
After successful verification tests the design was implemented in a customized product which is produced by Magnetic Innovations. This product is exclusively available to the customers purchase department.
Our customer has not only embraced this custom electromagnet solution but has also upgraded production lines across the globe. By solving the bottleneck in the production line an investment in additional machines and associated floor space was no longer requirement to increase production output. This resulted in a multimillion-dollar cost saving.
In this case the benefit of the dedicated solution is clearly demonstrated. In general it can be said that a solution with a dedicated design for a particular task or process will outperform a solution provided by a standard product in most cases.
- Increase magnetic attraction force from 1.25 N to 2.5 N per part
- Decrease residual force by 50%
- Maximum coil temperature 100 °C
- Supply voltage 24V
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