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Integration is the Name of the Game

News 05.09.2017

198352 Interdentalbuerste-HEKUflex Gesamt 02-retuschiert

HEKUMA's exhibit for this year, an automation system for a small brush for dental care, combines fast take-out, quality inspection and packaging. It shows the flexibility of the modular concept HEKUflex ,which was introduced two years ago.
In cooperation with injection molding machine manufacturer ENGEL and the precision mold maker HACK HEKUMA is promoting itself with an interesting production cell exhibit. "scrub!", the interdental brush developed by pheneoin collaboration with HACK Formenbau, is produced in an 8-cavity mold on an ENGEL e-motion 170/110.

The tasks of the automation system manufactured by HEKUMA include the takeoutof 8 brushes from the mold, a quality inspection of each 50th shot and the packaging of two shots each in a pouch. The interdental brush is made completely of plastic.

Even its fine bristles are injection molded. This makes a metal insert unnecessary and simplifies the production process significantly.The automation is necessary in order to protect the brushes and to preventdamage of the bristles which would occur in a free falling demolding solution.

The modular conceptHEKUflex celebrated its premieretwo years ago. It was on display amongst other events at the FAKUMA in Friedrichshafen, Germany in 2015. TheHEKUflex system presented at this time was combining the modules for take-out, camera inspection and packagingfor pipette tips. Now the focus is on showing how the interdental brushes are taken out, inspected and packaged. Here, the flexibility of the modular concept is highlighted. Because of the modular construction, it only took 50 days to engineer the system.

HEKUMA's modular concept HEKUflexdemonstratesits flexibility at Fakumaonce again
Take out of the brushes occurs at a speed of less than one second in the take out module. This requires highest precision and care, because neither the product nor the mold allow very much space for the handling. The handling area of the brush, i.e. the surface of the product that the grippers are able to touch, is merely 10x10 millimeters in size. Understandably so, since the brush size is barely 40 x 10 x 3 millimeters. The brushes are held in the grippers using vacuum suction to prevent damage to the product. After take out, the gripper moves to a shuttle plate, where it sets down all of the parts in holes designed for the purpose. Every 50th shot is moved to the camera module on the left side. All other shotsare transported to packaging directly.

198352 Interdentalbuerste-HEKUflex Kamera 02

This year's exhibit focuses mainly on integration
Third-party systems are integrated in two of the three modules. The left module, a camera module, demonstrates a 360 degree camera inspection in collaboration with STÄUBLI. The STÄUBLI TX40 holds the product in front of the camera and turns it. A total of five pictures are taken and analyzed. The camera assumes the function of product quality monitoring. If the interdental brush deviates from the standard, an alarm is signaled.

The design and the software for the camera system were created by HEKUMA's own camera development team. In addition to the length and the straightness of the center bar, another challenge is the ability to detect and measure the fine bristles. The inspection time for each part takes 30 seconds.

During the sample inspection, the production of parts continues. These burshes are moved into a hopper. Two shots are collected on a conveyor belt and packaged in a pouch. The PACKMAT “280VD Sonder” is responsible for the packaging. Once the pouches have been filled, they are welded, an“E-eurohole” is punched and the finished pouches are dropped onto a conveyor.

The conveyor moves the pouches into a box. The space-saving position of the good-parts box allows the pouches to be taken out manually during ongoing operation without any danger or bringing production to a standstill.

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