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FAQ about TANIQ's Scorpo™ setups for reinforced rubber product 

Robotic automation with the exact geometry of the designed products makes production faster, more accurate and more consistent. Resulting in a significant reduction of labour and production cost as well as time. Robotic placement of all the material layers creates consistency in the form of repeatability and reliability of performance (and looks). Moreover, production is less dependent on training and skill of employees. The system can be operated by a single operator and provides a user friendly step-by-step interface. The basics and Frequently Asked Questions about the automation systems provide an introduction to Scorpo™ Robotics.

 

 

FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is Scorpo™ Robotics?
Scorpo™ Robotics is the trade name for TANIQ's robotic production equipment for automated placement of rubber, reinforcement and (nylon) pressure tape.

2. How does Scorpo™ Robotics setup look and work (basics)?

The main components are indicated in the system overview illustration. The exact configuration and dimensions of the set-up depend on the specifications of the product(s) which will be manufactured on the set-up. All setups consists of 8 main components. A flexible industrial robotic arm forms the core of the set-up (1) and places the material with the help of tools. The product is manufactured on an inner mandrel that is rotated with the external axis/mandrel rotator (2). The simultaneous and interconnected movement of the robot arm and mandrel rotator is controlled with the robotic controller unit (3). The set-up is surrounded by an intelligent safety fence (4) with an electronic door connection to the robotic controller unit.

Material placement is done with the various specially developed tools that ensure placement with consistent tension and pressure. The set-up includes a rubber winding tool (5) for placing a wide variety of rubber strip types on the mandrel. Fibre reinforcement placement on the optimum position is possible with the fibre winding tool (6) and specially developed fibre tensioner (7). Lastly, a pressure tape tool is included (8).  

For the manufacturing of large size products such as dredging hoses the robot moves on a rail parallel to the mandrel rotator to enable product lengths up to 12m.

3. Is TANIQ's Design Software part of Scorpo™ Robotics?
TANIQ's design software is incorporated in your turnkey production solution. TANIQ will develop customized design software for you, which enables you to make new designs yourself. You can easily make new designs by changing the parameters such as dimensions (length, diameter, etc.), pressure, and materials. After making a new design you can directly update it your robot for production. An important advantage is that your design and production know-how will be embedded in your software which makes you less dependent on skilled workers and their training. More information on the software can be found under Design Software.

4. What are the maximum product dimensions?
The dimensions of the Scorpo™ set-up are based on the desired product dimension by our customers. Each robot has its maximum reach which allows to manufacture up to certain dimensions. This work range can be extended. For example by placing the robot on an elevated base or rail. The table gives an indication of product dimensions for medium size products and for large size products:

5 Which products can be manufactured on a Scorpo™ Robotics set-up?
The Scorpo™ Robotics set-up can be designed to make small turbo hose up to large diameter dredge hoses. An overview of products can be found under Applications. Set-up customisation ensures that the robot is applicable tot wide range of products. Special development and continues R&D constantly increase the possibilities of Scorpo™ Robotics.

6. How many operators do you need?
A Scorpo™ set-up can be operated by a single operator. The operator will be guided through the production process following a step-by-step production manual on the touchscreen (HMI). On this touchscreen an instruction line will appear for every task the operator has to execute. Thanks to these step-by-step instructions TANIQ can train an operator to manufacture products on the robot within 2-3 days. 
While the production is highly automated the operator will execute tasks like placing/removing the product mandrel, starting the production program, attaching material at the begin/end of a winding procedure and replacing empty material spools. When the robot is winding the materials the operator has time to prepare or finish another product, or do other tasks around the set-up. Note: For the placement and removal of large product mandrels it can be necessary to have temporarily assistance of a co-worker.

7. What are the maximum winding speeds?
The maximum winding speeds are determined by the maximum robot acceleration and the maximum turning speed of the mandrel. The latter is limited by maximum mandrel weight and moment of inertia. Therefore, only a range of winding speeds can be presented here:

8. What is rubber strip winding?
Rubber strip winding is the process of automated winding of rubber strips to create rubber layers (inner liner, outer cover, inbetween layers) of your product. Besides cylindrical parts also more complex shapes such as bellows and flanges can be overwound with rubber strip. The advantage of rubber strip winding is that it enables to place the rubber strip accurately according to a predetermined pattern which results in a uniform and repeatable quality. Furthermore, it is a very fast process. Rubber strip winding speeds can go up to 2m/s.

8a. What is a rubber strip winding tool?
The rubber strip winding tool is developed for feeding the rubber strip during teh winding process while controlling the tension and dimensions (width and thickness) of the strip. It contains the following functions:

  • Spool holder. It contains a spool holder to store the rubber strip.
  • Backing foil collector. The backing foil is separated from the rubber strip and collected on a spool for easy disposal.
  • Controlled tension. The strip is controlled on tension during the winding program. This tension is pre-programmed in the winding program and can be varied over different parts of the product/ production process. the tension can be adjsuted during the winding process.
  • Empty spool detection. A sensor in the rubber winding tool will detect when the rubber strip is about to finish.
  • Break detection . A sensor in the rubber winding tool will detect when the rubber strip has broken.

8b. What is rubber strip?
The rubber layers in the product (e.g. liner, protective cover) are built up by winding rubber strips. For each (part of the) product rubber strips with different specifications can be used. The current strip winding tool is designed for strips of 10mm-80mm wide and 0.8mm-3mm thick. If required, the rubber tool design can be adjusted for wider and/or thicker strips. The rubber strip needs to have sufficient green strength (e.g. NR, SBR, CR, EPDM) and be supplied with a backing foil. TANIQ works together with compounders who can provide rubber strip on spools or you can arrange rubber strips with your own/current rubber supplier.

8c. What happens when the rubber strip finishes?
The sensor in the rubber winding tool will detect when the rubber strip is about to finish. At this point the program will be paused and the robot will move to the tool change station. There the operator can replace the spool with a new one. The robot will return to its last position, where the operator can connect the new strip and continue the winding program. Changing a spool and continuing with the program will take approximately 4 minutes.

9. What is reinforcement winding?
Reinforcement winding is the process of winding reinforcement material (cord/yarn/wire) on a predetermined pattern onto the product mandrel. TANIQ is specialized in optimizing reinforcement constructions for rubber products. TANIQ's technology in combination with the accurate robotic winding enables to design and place the reinforcement such that they are loaded more efficiently. This technology can be applied to cylinders but also to complex shaped product such as expansion joints, bellows, lift bags, elbows and turbo hoses. Furthermore, TANIQ has developed technology for optimization of multi-layer reinforcement structures for large diameters hoses, such as dredge hoses.

9a. What type of reinforcement can be used?
Technically any fibre can be wound. Most frequent used fibres for reinforcement of rubber products are polyester, nylon and aramid. The fibres are supplied on bobbins (spools). The preferred fibre characteristics (e.g. dtex) and the construction (e.g. twist level) are selected per product. TANIQ works in close cooperation with fibre manufacturers to supply (and if necessary develop) the optimal fibre for each product. Furthermore, TANIQ works closely together with fibre converters to optimize fibre characteristics such as fibre-to-rubber-adhesion and tackiness by application of special coatings.

9b. Can this process provide good fibre-to-rubber-adhesion?
An important aspect in many reinforced rubber products is the fibre-to-rubber-adhesion. The quality of the adhesion strongly depends on the materials used. To optimize the adhesion different dippings, coatings and chemical treatment of the fibres and rubber are used. The fibre can be supplied pre-treated on bobbins or they can be treated (e.g. impregnated/dipped) online. This way good adhesion quality is obtained.

9c. How is the tension in the reinforcement fibres controlled?
To enable accurate placement the tension of the reinforcement fibres has to be controlled during the winding process. The tension is preprogramed in the production software and controlled during the winding process with a fibre tensioning control system. Each fibre is individually controlled and has a break detection sensor. TANIQ can design the tensioning equipment such that it is able to handle sticky rubberized fibres.

9d. What is a fibre winding tool?
The fibre winding tool is positioned on the end of the robot arm and its function is to guide the fibres to the product surface. Because multiple fibres are wound simultaneously the tool is designed in such a way that the fibres can be placed parallel to each other on the product surface. The winding eye is designed with coated eyelets to prevent fibre damage. 

9e. What happens when the fibre bobbins are empty?
An average bobbin contains 4-10 kilometers of fibre. Bobbins can be replaced between production cycles or during production. In such case the robot will move the fibre winding tool to the tool changer where the operator can place a new bobbin. For most applications a special knot can be used to connect the lose fibre ends, after which the production can continue. 

10. What is pressure tape winding? 
The pressure tape wrapping tool is developed for supply and control of pressure tape. It contains the following functions:
•    Spool holder. It contains a spool holder to store the pressure tape.
•    Controlled tension. The pressure tape is controlled on tension during the winding program. This tension is pre-programmed in the winding program and can be varied over different parts of the product/ production process.
•    Pressure tape rewind. The tool has a function to rewind the previously applied pressure tape, which enables to reuse the tape. 
•    Empty spool detection. A sensor in the tool will detect when the wrapping tape is about to finish.
•    Break detection . A sensor in the tool will detect when the wrapping tape has broken.

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10b. Can the tape wrapping tool also unwrap the tape from the product?
Yes, the tool can be designed to also unwrap the tape. This can for instance be very efficient during production of multi-layer products which require a wrapping procedure in between layers. With the tape wrapping tool the pressure tape can be applied for compaction of the layer. Next it can automatically unwrap the product while spooling up the tape again on the tool, ready to use it again.

10c. What is pressure tape?
Mostly used are Rayon, PES, PPS, PA66 (Nylon). The pressure tape used with the Scorpo™ process are identical to the tapes used in the conventional wrapping process. To be able to fit on the wrapping tool it needs to be spooled on the standardized plastic spools. TANIQ can provide you with suppliers who provide the wrapping tape already on these spools.

10d. What happens when the pressure tape finishes?
The sensor in the pressure tape tool will detect when the pressure tape is about to finish. At this point the program will be paused and the robot will move to the tool change station. There the operator can replace the spool with a new one. Changing a spool and continuing with the program will take approximately 4 minutes.

11. What is Automatic Tool changing?
The production process various layers of rubber, reinforcement and pressure tape are applied. The Scorpo™ set-up has an automatic tool changing system. When the robot has finished with applying one material (e.g. rubber strip), the robot returns this tool to the tool changing station and picks up the next tool (e.g. pressure tape tool). The tool changing is fast and fully automated.
 

12. How is the service for Scorpo™ Robotics arranged?
For the most critical components robotic equipment from Motoman or ABB is used. All Motoman and ABB components can be serviced locally from worldwide offices. The software can be serviced remotely by TANIQ through a modem in the robot controller. Furthermore, TANIQ will provide a camera with the robot which can be accessed remotely by TANIQ with your permission only. In general your first contact for service will be TANIQ. The helpdesk is available during office hours (we will always respond to your issue within 24 hours in case you reach us after office hours). If the issue cannot be solved remotely, TANIQ can send an engineer of TANIQ or our system integrator to your location. Depending on your location we can come the same day or the next day.

13. What are the delivery times for a Scorpo™ Robotics set-up?
Delivery times for Scorpo™ Robotics are 4-9 months.

14. What can be customised?
The standardised Scorpo™ Robotics can be used as a foundation for a customised setup. Examples of customisation:

  • Robotic arm (model and position)
  • Special tensioner (number of positions)
  • Custom robotic tools
  • Mandrel rotator (axis-length, hight, position and power)
  • General layout of robot cell
  • Touchscreen interface
  • Safety system
  • Doors and fence

In addition, completely custom cells can be developed.