Storing, conveying and transporting, order picking, etc. - SSI Schäfer is a specialist when it comes to modular storage and logistics systems and the associated software. For the production process of storage, transport and order picking containers, the company was looking for a more cost-effective and above all more reliable and smoother way to extract containers from its injection molding machines. The solution was the additive manufacturing process.
Our requirements were very clear: reliability and
speed had to increase with the conversion of
the grippers. With the additive manufacturing
of our gripper systems, we were able to solve
this problem and reduce costs. I’m very pleased
with the result and with the support from the
EOS Additive Minds Team.
With the support of the technical consultants from EOS Additive Minds, the team from SSI Schäfer was able to build up knowledge within a short period of time and specifically found this potential for improvement: the error-prone aluminum gripper was to be replaced by several dedicated grippers, each of them individually adapted to the respective box sizes and shapes. These had to be durable, quick to replace and optimally adapted to the respective requirements. The basic idea is therefore similar to that of sport: a decathlete is certainly an impressive athlete, but the experts in their individual disciplines are usually noticeably superior to him. Following this concept, EOS and SSI Schäfer set to work on the project.
The design of the suitable grippers was relatively simple, as all data on the containers were available in-house. It was also important to leave old design paths behind and make optimum use of the special capabilities of 3D printing: the integration of the air ducts in the gripper, which in turn form the basis for the pneumatic gripping mechanism for extracting the containers, is one of the specialties of additive manufacturing. It was also necessary to design the components in such a way that stability and function harmonize with one another because of the compact size and low weight of the gripper. „Ultimately, such a design is always a compromise,“ explains Toolmaking Manager Torsten Kosiahn. Thanks to its balanced property profile, the PA 2200 material selected for this purpose has proven itself in thousands of applications: solid, stiff, resistant to chemicals, durable. In addition, it enables a high level of detail and comprehensive post-processing options - in short, ideal for functional parts and movable connections. The grippers were produced in an EOS P 396.