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Atlas Copco Designs a Fastening System For a Flexible Future
Atlas Copco’s PF6 Flexsystem, the company’s latest fixtured tightening system, is designed with the future in mind. Using ATI’s Heavy-Duty Robotic Tool Changers, Atlas Copco is able to achieve a modular work cell that leaves plenty of manufacturing floor space and flexibility for today’s ever-changing automotive assembly environment. For Atlas Copco, adaptable and flexible production lines are integral to their customer’s productivity. ATI’s Tool Changers and Tool Stands play a vital role in delivering that capability.

Glance under the hood of your vehicle and you’ll notice a complex array of metal parts that make up the vehicle’s powertrain. Each of these items must be fastened securely to a specified torque—an extremely laborious and time-consuming task when done by hand. Atlas Copco developed custom-configured end-of-arm tooling designed to tighten each of the powertrain’s hard-to-reach nuts all at once. This also reduces additional equipment, material overhead, and labor requirements. Powertrain assembly configurations vary between vehicle models, so an automated system must be able to dock and change multiple spindle fastening tools to maximize productivity.

The PF6 Flexsystem handles multiple tasks while reducing cycle time and overall footprint. Utilizing a single robot equipped with ATI Tool Changers, the compact but versatile PF6 Flexsystem offers customers a safe and efficient method of spindle fastening. Changeover is hands-free as the robot docks one tool and picks up another to be ready for the next product coming down the line. When not in use, additional end-of-arm tools are stored using ATI’s Tool Stands where power is maintained and they are shielded from dust and debris.

Atlas Copco’s tools required custom connectors that ATI was able to accommodate easily by adapting the design of their Heavy-Duty Tool Changer. ATI offers a wide range of high-quality standard products; when combined with their custom engineering capabilities, they have great flexibility to create an ideal solution. In this case, a simple connector change streamlined the design of the cell and helped Atlas Copco avoid expensive custom connector cables.

Sean Kane, Senior Product Manager at Atlas Copco, states that the company spent considerable time analyzing and researching which attributes of a fastening system are most critical to their customers. They found that improving flexibility and reducing footprint are vital to manufacturers as they seek opportunities to upgrade existing production plants with shorter, faster, assembly lines. “The PF6 Flexsystem,” Kane says, “enables automotive suppliers to adapt to their customers’ changing needs and relies on flexible suppliers like ATI to help meet those requirements.”

Integrating ATI products into the PF6 Flexsystem enabled Atlas Copco’s customers to free up valuable assembly floor space, reduce equipment and labor requirements and material overhead, and eliminate additional cabling needs. The new system saves customers time and money; it’s compact, reliable, and ready to handle a variety of products in the automotive industry and beyond.

About Atlas Copco: Atlas Copco's Industrial Technique business area creates productivity-enhancing manufacturing solutions by offering Smart Connected Assembly products. This concentration positions Atlas Copco as a leader in helping customers realize their vision of Industry 4.0/Smart Factory solutions in assembly operations with a complete product offering consisting of tools, software and data driven products. The result is increased productivity and lower cost for industrial customers such as automotive manufacturers.

For more information about Atlas Copco, click here.

For more information about ATI Tool Changers, click here.

Images courtesy of Atlas Copco and ATI

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