RFID and I/O Modules for Safe Tool Changes

Kirschenhofer Maschinenbau GmbH, the special machine manufacturer, guarantees safe tool changes for truck catalytic converters with Turck’s BL ident I/O system and TBEN-S I/O modules

Kirschenhofer Maschinen GmbH in Nersingen-Straß has made a name for itself as a special machine builder, and also for the development and manufacture of production plants for catalytic converters. The now completed manufacturing cell for truck catalytic converters can produce around 60 different types for customers. Kirschenhofer uses state-of-the-art automation technology to ensure that each catalytic converter meets the stringent quality standards and the traceability of each individual catalytic converter. Profinet I/O modules and the RFID system for the ultramodern production plant come from Turck.

  • The Profinet TBEN-S modules on the robot pass on analog values and digital signals to the pneumatic valve

  • Kirschenhofer chose the TN-Q14 read/write head with IP67 protection due to its compact design

  • The TW-R30 tag at the top of the tool can also be read reliably if it is mounted on metal

  • Three read/write heads in the tool holders ensure the use of the correct tools

  • Craig Craill and Thomas Schön (r.) are impressed by Turck’s RFID solution and by the TBEN-S-I/O modules

At hard stuffing or soft stuffing, the mounting of catalytic converters in an automated manufacturing cell is highly complex. As a result, many well-known vehicle manufacturers now turn to Kirschenhofer Maschinen GmbH in the Swabian town of Straß near Neu-Ulm. The special machine manufacturer specializes in these kinds of mounting machines.

Flexibility and traceability

Up to 60 different types of catalytic converters can be produced in a mounting plant for this major truck manufacturer. The plant has to offer a high degree of flexibility in order to handle all the variants without any refit times. The batch of pipes, fiber mats and mono blocks that were fitted in each catalytic converter must also still be traceable after ten years. This enables any costs or image damage to be kept to a minimum in the event of any recall action.

RFID tool identification

Production faults are prevented and detected by the machine during the manufacturing process. Depending on the geometry of the subsequent catalytic converter, the different tools required are clamped into a machine and mostly changed after a production batch. As the tools are stored in a central high-bay warehouse from where they are also used in other machines, the customer required an automated tool identification system.

The tool identification process was implemented with Turck’s RFID BL ident system. The tools are fitted with TW-R30-M-K2 tags for this, which are embedded in the metal. Turck’s compact TN-Q14 HF read/write heads are fitted at the tool holders. The Q14 is only 14 millimeters high and offers a maximum read/write distance of up to 72 millimeters. Although the range is shorter in the metal environment, it is still enough to protect the read/write head from colliding with the tool.

Profinet I/O module maintenance-friendly and time saving

The relevant analog values are transferred to the pneumatic valve using Turck’s compact TBEN-S2-4AO Profinet I/O block. The IP67 module is fitted directly on the robot arm and passes on the values from the controller to the valve. A TBEN-S2-4AI module with analog inputs returns the analog values of the pneumatic valve to the controller. Turck’s TBEN-S multiprotocol modules talk three industrial Ethernet protocols and can therefore not only be used in Profinet but also in EtherNet/IP and Modbus TCP.

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