TF Automation has worked with Bolton Plastics, market leaders in the manufacture of blow-moulded automotive components, since 2007, supplying around 75 special purpose machines plus checking fixtures, test equipment and assembly aids.
TF Automation has recently been commissioned by Bolton Plastic’s to design a solution that required HDPE air ducts to cool batteries in their electric vehicles for their automotive client. The brief was to design and engineer a slave machine to fit Bolton Plastic’s host machines to be capable of producing parts to match the blow-mould cycle time. The machine was specifically required to check every part for holes before manufacture, cut the ducts using swarfless cutting technology with no debris being left in the duct, whilst also minimising operator load / trimming time.
Using the client’s CAD data to ensure a perfect fit, TF manufactured a one-station special purpose machine that clamps the parts into CadCam 3D machined nests, for leak testing prior to manufacture. Waste parts are then removed by careful knifing, ensuring no internal swarf or dust is left in the duct and then twin trepanning of two Ø50mm holes is performed. The disks are retained on the pin, lifted clear and ejected down a chute with sensors.
If the discs are “not seen” the parts are automatically “locked” inside the machine and the operator notified. Any ejected disks or waste parts are fully recycled back in to Bolton Plastics manufacturing process, ensuring minimal wastage. The electrical control cabinets were also built in-house and the machine plcs programmed by TF staff, ensuring that any changes could be accommodated quickly and efficiently. Once loaded into the host, the slave machine can be coupled via quick connectors and is ready for production within minutes. Equally efficiently, on completion, the slave can be quickly removed and “shelved” until required.