Steering Gear Manipulator for Dunnage Loading

Requirement

A tier 1 manufacturer of steering gear assemblies needed to pick the 65 lb parts from the assembly table and load them into the dunnage rack for shipment. Loading of the dunnage posed a significant safety and ergonomic problem – the operators needed to reach in 40” in order to stack the components on the rear shelves. The tooling design was further constrained by the fact that access to the completed part was limited to a small portion of the upper surface due to dunnage rack and assembly table interferences. Furthermore, the part needed to be rotated 16° to seat properly in the dunnage support pockets.

Solution

A servo-driven, zero-gravity high speed lifter was integrated into pneumatic end tooling designed to probe the assembly bushings and grasp/capture the part with a rubber coated gripper pad. Since the assembly had several possible design changes within the next 18-months, all of the tooling interface components were designed to be adjustable including the gripper pad placement as well as the support pin angle, depth and pitch. The extended handle allows the operator to reach the rear shelves of the pallet rack without needing to step into the rack.