You can only use what you know. At BoKa Automation this would be grippers from Röhm. Based on many years of positive experience with products from the clamping device specialist, BoKa relies on two-jaw grippers for its newest development. With these, a robot grips individual workpieces for further part handling directly on the machine.
The word start-up usually paints the image of an e-business in a bustling office atmosphere, screens covered with those familiar Post-It notes, and other typical clichés. As different as the business ideas might be, successful new entrepreneurs have one thing in common: Fast growth of their companies. The mechanical engineer Severin Bobon and electrical engineer Simon Karl are such successful, new entrepreneurs. Together, in 2014, they became self-employed in a part-time gig with BoKa Automation GmbH. The numbers show the success of this concept: The first balance sheet of 2016 showed a turnover of 320,000 Euros; now, three years later, this is likely to be around 1.8 million Euros.
Platform strategy in special machine construction
The company is founded on four pillars: Personnel services, control programming, special system and control cabinet construction, as well as the fourth division: Service. Severin Bobon describes the company mission: "Our main goal has always been to provide the best possible service and solutions to our customers." This is a principle that was followed even in the development of CodaBot, the newest product from BoKa. CodaBot stands for Collaborative Discharge Assistant Robot. A special machine used to implement a wide range of customer requirements, quickly and flexibly. The highlight: A machine platform with a clever hole pattern forms the basic construction. Within the hole pattern, a wide range of devices can be anchored, such as robots, measuring machines and similar components. A mobile, modular system, which can be developed to form a complete machine. Severin Bobon explains the idea behind this in a nutshell: "A special machine which is based on a series machine and a standard building block system. Auto manufacturers do the same in the form of equipment lists."
More is doable with modules
From all this, the user can configure and create his desired manufacturing solution himself. He simply combines the different modules until the special cell is complete and perfect for his application. Since a wide variety of workpieces are to be handled with the respective applications, flexibility is the top priority, even for the grippers. "We bank on products from Röhm," explains Severin Bobon. He is very familiar with the grippers and their technology from his many years of professional experience. The managing director appreciates his good and faithful partnership with Röhm. Cooperation runs smoothly and capably and is goal-oriented, and Röhm employees are always reachable. Therefore, for Bobon, there has "never been a reason to switch." He knows Röhm grippers inside and out: "Never change a running system!"
Robot works collaboratively
The platform of the current BoKa development is called "Cube System", which is based on a plate-bending welding construction in cube form, and where such cubes can be strung together as desired. With the Cube System and the corresponding robots on it, mass-produced products can be handled directly on the machine. A system located near Hamburg shows how such a process can run. There, medical products – namely bone pins made of titanium – are removed from the turning machine automatically. Afterwards, a titanium chip is to be removed from a frontal thread bore, in order to be able to clean the bone pin in the ultrasonic bath. Afterwards, a device cleans and blow-dries the bone pin in order to then deposit the sensitive workpieces free of damage and scratches. This is a challenge, even for the grippers. Production is performed from the classical 3m bar; the workpieces can be 100 mm in diameter. A two-jaw gripper is installed in this system, the RPP50 from Röhm, modified with special, technical features according to customer wishes. Depending on the workpiece dimensions, smaller or larger grippers are used, which can be pneumatically actuated and are designed to be self-holding.
High gripping force, low weight
A wide variety of such two-jaw grippers is available from Röhm. Equipped with two parallel fingers, they are especially suited for gripping round and angular-shaped workpieces. They have a compact design, have a low dead weight, and high gripping force – properties which are especially beneficial for handling on robots or gantries. Versatile connection and fastening options also ensure maximum flexibility. Additional features of this design are the high gripping force with low dead weight, the great torque support by means of extended jaw guides when long gripper fingers are installed, as well as a long service life and high reliability, thanks to specially ground base jaws in T-slot guides. Inductive and magnetic sensors support the position query. Röhm also has versions with FKM seals in its product range for higher temperatures up to 150 degrees Celsius.
Special appreciation for quality
The special machine construction requires enormous versatility, which also applies to the grippers. To find customized solutions for this application, Röhm was able to draw on its wide product portfolio for his product recommendations regarding grippers, appreciating the open and flexible cooperation with BoKa and the clear requirements of the special machine manufacturer. The Röhm-BoKa partnership for this project ran very smoothly, which Severin Bobon explains as follows: "Röhm is a competent partner for us, one who is always reachable and who develops goal-oriented solutions with us." His hope for the future: "That our customers may go along the same path we are going with Röhm: Special appreciation for high quality, and that constantly, over the entire time span of our many years of cooperation."