OverviewAtlas Automatic Storage and Retrieval Systems (AS/RS) are the perfect solution for manystamping operations where growth is exceeding available pressroom floor space. Just-In-Timerequirements have created the need to keep a large number of die sets ready and waiting onthe pressroom floor. For contract stampers that have acquired a larger customer list or OEM’sthat have increased their product offering, more “active” die sets are crowding operations anddecreasing productivity. By utilizing otherwise unused vertical space, the need to invest in plantexpansion and additional capital equipment is alleviated along with the benefit of increasingpress uptime by slashing die change times by as much as two-thirds.Slow changeover and floor space problems can create a vicious cycle for stamping plants thatare focused on short production runs. Consider the scenario of searching for a die set,maneuvering other items out of the way to retrieve it, utilizing several production workers to hookthe die to a crane, perform the die change and then begin production. For short batch runs, halfof the available production time is lost. If batch time is increased beyond JIT requirements, thenstorage of the parts/blanks becomes an issue and therefore, more floor space is lost. The morespace that is lost, the higher the risk to damage dies and parts.
The BenefitsTo gain needed capacity and efficiency many plants are exploring options other thanincreasing plant size. Storage and retrieval systems can be used in many applications to helpalleviate the problems associated with growth. They provide space and storage while helpingto increase press use, providing expanded production capabilities without investing inadditional presses and peripheral automation. An AS/RS accomplishes this by verticallystacking dies, parts or coils in storage bays while maintaining fast and controlled access tothem. Average time of retrieval with an Atlas system is less than 5 minutes and may beaccomplished while the press is in operationFully automatic retrieval with the elevating cart is accomplished with a touch screen userinterface. Stored items are fully accounted for with die or part tracking controls. All retrieveditems are presented to a common location at the desired time and may be prestaged on dietables for pick-up via fork truck, crane or die cart. The retrieval system is fully guarded whichcontrols access to the system and protects plant personnel from potential injury.AS/RS solutions are fully customizable in that storage bays may vary in size by vertical row.Systems may range in size from 10 bays up to 1000 bays and may be installed in phases toaccommodate future needs.
The Atlas Retrieval CartAtlas is the only AS/RS manufacturer in the marketplace with wire rope technology for virtuallyunlimited weights. Our standard heavy duty design is capable of safely transporting and lifting60 tons of material per load with ease. Atlas carts travel at much higher speeds too… up to 100feet per minute unloaded and 80 feet per minute with full loads.The advantage of choosing a wire rope retrieval cart over a standard ball screw configuration:Machining time for a ball screw of this length is measured in terms of weeks of downtime. Incontrast, wire rope needs no machining and is immediately available.The cost of purchasing (4) extra ball screws to assure quick replacement is expensive as well asdifficult to store. In contrast, wire rope is inexpensive and easy to store.The steel for long ball screws is not readily available and would require larger purchasedquantities than (4) , in contrast wire rope is readily available.Ball screws are more susceptible to damage in both emergency stop and crash conditionsoccurring from operator error. Replacing ball screws is difficult and expensive. In contrast, wirerope systems have some elasticity so that sudden stops do not result in such high loads on the restof the system, and they are inexpensive and relatively simple to replace.Wear due to misalignment, lack of lubrication or excessive loads on a ball screw will result inpotential failure with no warning. In contrast, wire rope systems will give a warning of futurefailure. There is very little wear on the drums on a wire rope system so only the rope needsoccasional replacement.
The ObjectivesOur customers have based their equipment acquisition on the following three objectives:First: Increase stamping capacity within existing floor space. This provides more effective use ofexisting presses and means that the space for an AS/RS will be at a premium and must beminimized. Another portion of this goal is to reduce inventory on the plant floor by making smallerpart runs more effective.Second: Reduce material handling requirements. This involves eliminating the use of fork trucksand overhead cranes for the movement of dies. Ultimately, the crane should be utilized formoving coil stock and fork trucks should be used for moving finished parts and the removal ofscrap.Third: Ensure consistent part/blank quality by protecting dies from damage. Reducing thehandling of dies, especially by fork truck greatly reduces the likelihood of dropping and harmingthem.Automatic Storage and Retrieval Systems accomplish all of these goals and increase throughputat the same time.
How it Works…Atlas Automatic Storage and Retrieval Systems are most effective when used in conjunction withAtlas die change systems. This provides for both the movement of the dies or parts into and outof the storage system and into and out of the press in a fully automated and integrated manner.Floor space limitations are overcome with a series of multi-tier storage rack units with individualcompartments for dies or parts. Each compartment is accessed by the elevating retrieval cart.The retrieval cart is used exclusively for accessing or storing dies or parts, while the die changeequipment is used exclusively for loading and unloading the presses. This allows the AS/RS toretrieve the up coming die set while the press is in operation. All dies are equipped withpermanently attached, standardized subplates for uniform handling within the system.Each slot in the rack is equipped with rollers to facilitate load and unload. Mechanicallyactuated retainers in the rack slots help to ensure safe retention of the dies. Additionally, theretrieval cart lift platform is equipped with safety latches that prevent accidental or unintendedlifting or lowering of the platforms and also ensures the platform is lined up correctly with therack slot before die removal begins.Once the die is retrieved, it is placed onto a die table where it is pre-staged and waiting for thenext die change sequence. The die cart (non-elevating) that services the press would removethe out going die, transport it to an empty die rack and deposit it for pick-up by the storage andretrieval cart. The die cart would then move to the rack with the incoming die, pull it onto thecart and transport it to the press for insertion. A full die change sequence can occur within lessthan 3 minutes.
Reasons to Install an AS/RSBetter use of floor space is the main reason for installing a multi-level AS/RS. Other reasons include:1. Improved part quality. The AS/RS that works in conjunction with dedicated die change equipment allows the operator to move dies or parts in a controlled manner that virtually eliminates die damage from handling. Dies that stay in top condition translate into consistently higher quality parts due to maintaining their original tolerances.2. Reduced die repair costs. Because dies are handled in a safe and controlled manner, the need for repair and replacement decreases.3. Improved safety. Because the die movement is controlled, the possibility of dropping a die or putting an operator in a dangerous situation is greatly reduced.4. Increased production. This derives from two factors. First, when changeover time is reduced, press uptime increases and more parts are produced. Second, the quality of the “first off” parts allow the stamper to run more parts per batch without the downtime that is associated with quality problems.5. More effective production control. With an AS/RS it is easier to schedule production runs because the retrieval of the next required die set is completely controlled. In emergency batch run situations, such as an unscheduled part that needs to be run immediately, the process of changeover is efficient and not dependent on the availability of general plant material handling personnel and the equipment required to move the die such as fork trucks and cranes.
Economic JustificationPoints to keep in mind when considering an AS/RS system and planning the economic justification of the equipment should include the following:1. The costs to add more plant space to continue the current storage methods2. The costs of the current material handling equipment, maintenance and labor3. The time that is lost due to part quality problems4. The cost of die repair and replacements because of the current handling methods5. The cost of safety issues (insurance, lost work time, etc)6. Profits that are lost because of press downtime, such as unnecessary over time and reduced production7. Inventory costs from running large lot sizes instead of being able to run Just-In-Time
Specifications & OptionsControlled Transfer Variable Speed: Loaded Up to 80 fpm Unloaded Up to 100 fpmLift Speed: Loaded Up to 50 fpm Unloaded Up to 100 fpmSimultaneous lift and travel functionsStorage Bays: 10 to 1000Storage Size: Customer specifiedMaximum Weight: NoneOptions:Automatic load weighingManaged die trackingAutomatic press loading/unloading of the die to/from the systemBall screw or wire rope lift designPC based remote access diagnostics via modemFront office control package
Die Handling Automation • Robotic Integration • Sheet Metal Handling • Tri-Axis Transfers System Integration • AS/RS • Washer & Oiler Systems • Automation Tooling Why Atlas? Our Promise….Atlas listens to you, the customer. We embrace your vision and understand your motivation. It’s our culture of total commitment that allows us to conceptualize solutions tailor made to fit your specific applications…creating world class material handling systems that will exceed your expectations. 3100 Copper Avenue Fenton, Michigan 48430 USA Phone: +1 810.629.6663 Fax: +1 810.629.8145 www.atlastechnologies.com