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Robotic wiring centre will save up to 15 hours per panel

15 September, 2014

Following five years of development, a German company is about to launch what it describes as “the world’s first robotic wiring centre” for control and switchgear panels. By eliminating the need to wire mounting plates by hand, and by making connections between devices automatically, Kiesling Maschinentechnik says that its Averex machine will cut the time needed to produce a panel by up to 15 hours.

The system cuts wires to the correct length before stripping them and crimping them with wire ferrules. It then feeds the wires through a cable duct and attaches them to components such as terminal blocks, contactors and motor circuit breakers. It can switch between wires of different colours and cross-sections from 0.75–2.5mm2. Push-in connections and automatic wire-changing and labelling increase the degree of automation.

The work done by the machine is said to meet all applicable standards and safety requirements.

It typically takes about 180 seconds to wire a mounting plate by hand; the robotic machine completes the same task in about 40 seconds. It uses lasers to identify the parts and to check their dimensions against assembly tolerances. The 15-hour saving per enclosure is based on about 300 wire connections.

Kiesling Maschinentechnik is part of the Friedhelm Loh group, which also owns Rittal and Eplan. Loh acquired the business last year.

Rolf von Kiesling, the company’s managing director, predicts that the Averex system will help manufacturers to accelerate their production processes significantly, “particularly in production systems engineering, where the same wiring configurations are used over and over again, and on a scale close to mass production. If the engineers can access complete component data quickly, automated wiring rapidly becomes cost-effective – even in a lot size of one.”

Kiesling's robotic wiring centre could save up to 15 hours of assembly time per control panel

At the heart of the robotic system is a patented machine head which performs cable routing, cutting, stripping and crimping operations. The machine head, which can rotate through 270 degrees, also provides torque-controlled screwing functions and incorporates a tool changer that can hold up to six tools.

As well as screw connections, the machine can also make push-in connections to terminal blocks. It includes an automatic wire-changer that can handle up to 16 wires and an automated wire-labelling system.

Data is transferred to the robotic wiring centre via a specially developed machine-to-machine interface. The data can be imported from Eplan software, and can include information on components and their positions on a mounting plate, drawn from 3D models. The machine starts by using this information to check the manually assembled mounting plate before wiring up the components automatically and autonomously.

Kiesling says that the Averex machine is now production-ready, but it is planning to conduct two to three real-world field trials before releasing the technology commercially.

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