Diesel Exhaust System Manipulator

Requirement

Due to a change in emissions regulations, diesel truck manufacturers are required to incorporate redesigned exhaust systems in the manufacturing process. The new systems are larger and heavier than the previous designs (~ 150 lb, 7’ long) — the change requires retooling in both the manufacturing and assembly lines. Material handling systems are required to lift and transfer the assemblies through the weld cells; after completion, the parts need to be lifted from the gauge /test station, pitched 90° and set into the dunnage racks. Alignment during insertion into the weld cell fixtures is critical — the forward flange is captured to index the part in the fixture and must be inserted carefully during installation.

Solution

A combination of pneumatic gripper tooling integrated with servo-drive articulating arm lifters meet the requirements of handling and manipulating the exhaust assemblies throughout the manufacturing process. For horizontal transfers through the weld cell fixtures, the in-line slide handle controller gives the operator the precise control needed for moving the parts in/out of the weld fixtures. For the critical alignment requirements during the insertion phase, “float mode” is engaged allowing the operators to levitate the parts into the gauge standards. For transfer into the dunnage, remote pendant controllers are used allowing the operators to control the tooling and lifters from an extended handle. Float mode is also utilized in this process for alignment/placement into the dunnage racks.