Wittmann Inc. (Booth S1049) will launch its first manufacturing in China by the end of this year, with workers in Shanghai set to build a robot for the Asian market.
The firm already owns a plant in Shanghai that houses its sales and service office for the region, Michael Wittmann said in a June 23 interview at NPE. The company will ease into production there, first assembling components of the W720 hybrid robot, which is making its debut at NPE.
The firm can bring more operations and manufacturing for the robot in-house as the Shanghai employees are ready, Wittmann said.
``It's just the beginning,'' he said. ``There is so much that is happening there.''
Manufacture of the W720 for the rest of the global market will continue at Wittmann's Hungary operations.
The company has owned the building for two years, using it for storage. It had planned to start production there earlier this year, Wittmann said, but travel restrictions to the region because the SARS epidemic slowed the project.
The firm designed the W720 specifically for ease of manufacturing in China, he said. The robot has a motor-driven, horizontal axis and a fixed kick-stroke design for applications requiring pick-and-place operations and simple secondary functions.
It can handle payloads up to 11 pounds and is suited to handle automation on presses with up to 330 tons of clamping force.
At NPE, Wittmann is debuting a half-dozen new pieces of equipment, drawing on its capabilities in robotics, materials-handling, controls and size reduction. It has 126 items on display.
The firm also is stressing its technical aspects, with more breakthroughs featured at NPE than at K 2001, Wittmann said. Featured at the booth, but not set to go on the market until fall, is a touch-screen control system available as an option.
The combination allowed the business to debut the Robofold sutomated materials-handling system this year, marrying robotics with an automated delivery unit. The robot automatically switches lines, allowing operators to change resins remotely and purge the lines automatically, said Todd Rains, national sales manager.
Robofold allows 15 sources and 25 destinations for the automated materials handling, and each line not in use has a built-in shut-off cap that is opened and closed with the robot's tooling.
``It takes the human error element out of the picture,'' Rains said.
The W633 ultrahigh-speed servo robot is equipped with a lightweight, telescopic vertical arm specifically designed for thin-wall parts and applications requiring extremely short removal times.
The Drymax 30 twin-bed desiccant dry-air dryer is set for applications requiring throughputs of as much as 35 pounds per hour. The process blower and all heaters are contained in a cabinet small and light enough to mount directly on the machine.
The new Feedmax vacuum loader series is designed for use globally and with low maintenance. A shielded capacitance-style proximity switch eliminates programming, using timers for faster loading, preventing material outages.
The W602 sprue picker offers vibration-free operation by improving the free-flow guide system. Adjustments to the wrist mechanism allow a 20-degree range of motion.
The Tempro Primus C mold temperature controller offers a range of standard features, but at a lower cost than other Wittmann systems, at about $1,400.
The MC 2840 central granulator allows for a high throughput of very large, thick parts, capable of handling an entire pallet at once. The steel cutting chamber has a 28-inch-by-40-inch opening and two bed knives.