Automation is extensively used throughout automotive assembly operations to transfer components between multiple production lines. In this application, the workpiece is lifted from its original carrier and placed onto a new one where sensors on the roller conveyor check its position. Contrinex’s uniquely robust 700 Series inductive sensors, available from PLUS Automation, reliably ensure safety during the lift and transfer process as the assembly is moved.

Customer application

When the automotive assemblies arrive at the transfer station, the workpiece carrier holding them must first be halted. This is achieved with sensors on the roller conveyor which, when they detect the arrival of the workpiece carrier, cause the conveyor to stop. An industrial robot then lifts out the assembly and transfers it to a new workpiece carrier on an adjacent assembly line.

After checking that the assembly has been removed from the carrier, the roller conveyor must start-up and return the empty carrier to the workpiece loading station where automatic position checking is required to initiate the stop/restart of the roller conveyor. This prevents any product wastage or machine damage that could be caused by faulty manipulation of the robot.

Customer solution

The robust industrial construction and proven reliability, and the extended ‘Factor 1’ range of 15 to 40mm depending upon the 700 Series sensors diameter, equally on steel or aluminium make it the ideal inductive sensor for the application.

Just three DW-AS-713-M30 compact inductive proximity sensors were used to ensure the safe, reliable implementation of this task. These sensors are mounted between the rollers at the transfer station so that as soon as an incoming workpiece covers the second sensor, it is in the correct position and the conveyor can be stopped and actuators on the robot enabled.

Once the robot confirms the automotive assembly has been removed, the third sensor ensures that the empty carrier takes the correct onward path.

The switching distance accuracy of these sensors allows them to initiate a stop at exactly the right moment – neither sooner nor later. This, in turn, ensures the safest possible conditions are met as the lift and transfer process takes place while maintaining the speed and consistency expected from an automated factory process.

Contrinex sensors allow the roller conveyor to stop and restart at exactly the right moment for automated transfer stations and minimize wastage, downtime and damage to equipment.