Mold Handling Automation
A mold handling process concept was developed by Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) for a manufacturer of molded products. The concept was focused on automating their highly labor-intensive production operation. Using the latest in design and simulation software, SwRI created a 3D model and animation to illustrate the proposed automation process while integrating actual production rates, available floor space, and other requirements into the presentation.
The product is formed in molds consisting of a backer tray and a rubber mold insert. The major steps involved in the production process were:
- Destack full mold assemblies and release them one at a time into the material handling system
- Receive individual mold assemblies from the destacker, invert them to separate the mold from the tray, and convey the mold and pan to separate areas downstream in the system
- Recombine the mold and its original tray after the product has been removed
- Reject mold assemblies as directed by an operator
- Restack remarried individual mold assemblies
Required production rates and limited floor space made the effort challenging and called for an innovative solution.
Using production specifications from the client and sound engineering analysis, SwRI developed a conceptual design for the system. Since there were no off-the-shelf solutions for much of this automation effort, SwRI developed concepts for custom equipment and integrated them into a system that met the client's requirements. The designs and animation were presented using commercially available 3D design and animation software.
automation engineering • material handling • machine design • system integration • automated production process • eliminate labor-intensive process