004 Türrosette
Technical Report
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One-Man-Show in Brakel

Four interlinked robotic units at FSB GmbH in Brakel are organized into a flexible production system to complete ongoing orders for customized rosette fitting solutions.

Locks, door coverings, and rosettes are not ordinary products, but rather ones with a high use value. Solutions require an effective design with high functionality as well as a high level of quality. This becomes clear when an inexpensive door lock falls apart after being used three times. FSB GmbH in Brakel intentionally follows a different path, focusing on automatic, quality-oriented, competitive products made in Germany. For the manufacture of fitting assemblies for door handles and rosettes made from aluminum, stainless steel, bronze and brass, FSB maintains the appropriate manufacturing standards. Typical catalogue products are available in addition to variations and custom solutions made according to customer specifications. The specialists from Brakel have expert control over the process sequence. This process begins by pouring or re-forming raw materials and is followed by precision mechanical production work. It includes finishing surfaces by polishing and varnishing and finally painting or anodizing top surfaces. To achieve this, FSB counts on a balanced mix of a high level of automation and a highly qualified workforce. 

An important partner is SHL Automation located, in Böttingen, a company specializing in flexible robotic solutions for varnishing and polishing. “We have been working with SHL for over twenty years and have over forty robotic systems currently in use,” says Alexander Flakowski, operations manager at FSB plant 3 in Brakel. “In the beginning, it was about the varnishing and polishing of door handles made from aluminum.” The latest project consists of a fully integrated but decentralized capability for turning, notching, varnishing and polishing stainless steel rosettes. With this equipment, the unformed raw materials are batch-processed into a series of rosettes as required by unique orders. “Every lock and every door handle has a rosette on both sides,” says operations manager One-Man-Show in Brakel Flakowski. “Currently, there are nine different types of stainless steel rosettes, and so there has to be considerable flexibility.”

Since there was already a successful interconnected process for producing aluminum rosettes in place, FSB added processing stainless steel rosettes using robots as well. An additional difficulty presented itself since the unformed rosettes had to be expanded from within and then formed into a precisely shaped notch. Therefore, it was necessary to integrate turning and notching machinery. “With regard to performance and durability FSB is first class” says SHL marketing expert Willi Tillinger. “Our robots always have three lives, one in thefirst plant unit, one in the following plant unit and a further life in the third plant unit. ” This is standard for the previously mentioned turning, notching and polishing processes.

The production unit is divided into four functioning segments that work independently. Four robots handle all of the materials. Four production units are used. These consist of notching machinery to put the indentations in place, a polishing unit for polishing and scotching, an additional polishing unit for flat polishing and scotching on top surfaces, and finally, a palette unit to stack the finished products. At the beginning of the production process, metal turning machinery is used to process the  inner side. From there the rosettes travel by a conveyor belt into the area of the notching machinery.

The placement of the notch has to be in the correct position so that it is asymmetric to the punched hole. Therefore, each rosette is sorted by means of a photo work-station system that shows the position of each individual rosette. A robotic grabber turns the work piece into the correct position and then releases it. After setting the notch, the pieces are stacked on a pallet. Following this, the robot moves the pallet to the polishing unit area where the outer side is polished successively. This is followed by a scotching process. Afterwards, the stacking magazine is sent for more flat polishing and scotching. Finally, the unstacked and now finished rosettes are transported over a conveyor belt into the pallet unit area. Here the conveyor belt is unloaded and the final laminar palletizing of the completed rosettes into plastic boxes with separators takes place. Near the notching machine, a Kuka KR5 robot is responsible for sorting, placement orientation, feeding of the notching machine, removal of the notched pieces and palletizing the completed pieces.

The outer polishing and scotching work is organized by a Kuka KR16. During flat polishing and scotching, an additional Kuka KR16 robot is responsible for the handling of materials being processed. The machine takes rosettes individually from the stack and places them into a multiple work-unit entry point. Lastly,
the robot takes the completed polished and scotched rosettes to the conveyor system for use by the palletizing unit. Here, the KR16 takes the completed rosettes from the conveyor and places them into plastic boxes. This robot is also responsible for separating them and is therefore equipped with a double gripping vacuum used for rosettes and concurrently for the separating process.

SHL designed the entire plant in cooperation with FSB and installed it as a turnkey operation. The applied robots are universally useful machines as they are equipped with grabbers, tools and programmable computers so that they can complete their missions. Therefore, it does not matter which type is used and for what purpose. Alexander Flakowski and his colleagues agree: “We have designed the production unit to be fully automatic for use in a three shift operation but can nevertheless be production flexible according to order specifications.” Product types and lot changes are not a problem for notching thanks to the optic system and the high degree of accuracy provided by automation. At FSB, only one operator runs the entire unit. The operator is trained through appropriate course(s). This worker is also responsible for the time for the turnover of the materials. “With our roughly 40 robots, we have the production of our fitted products well in hand,” Flakowski is happy to say.

“Because of the SHL installation we are able to continue to produce high-quality products made in Germany.”