EPS Reviews Manchester Machine Makers’ Latest Robot

EPS Reviews Manchester Machine Makers' Latest Robot

Production Manager Alex Grimes demonstrating one of our CNC machines.

On Friday, November 11, the Manchester Machine Makers came to Engineered Printing Solutions to demonstrate two different designs for their upcoming robotics contest. The students’ visit began with tour of our machine shop as well as a demonstration of automated parts-handling solutions for both pad print and industrial inkjet printers.  Production Manager Alex Grimes showed the students radial-axis robotic pick-and-place solutions on an upcoming cylindrical inkjet application that will both load unprinted parts and unload finished goods.

EPS Reviews Manchester Machine Makers' Latest Robot

Isaac explains the logic behind one of the prototypes.

Following the facility tour, Takoda, Zach, and Isaac presented two different prototypes for their upcoming robotics challenge.  The contest involves navigating a remote-controlled robot in a confined area and picking up cones, which are then placed on pylons.  Meanwhile, an opposing team is navigating the same confined space and trying to pick up their own cones, all while avoiding the opposing team’s cones and pylons.

The first design used a cantilevered arm with a claw-like tool on the end for grasping the cones on the outside and lifting them onto the pylons.  The challenge presented by this design was that by making the cantilevered arm long enough to reach the top of the pylon, the footprint of the robot became so large as to make navigating the tight spaces of the contest a problem.  In addition, the length of the cantilever meant that more leverage was required to lift the combined weight of the arm and the cone than their servo motor was able to provide.

To address these twin problems, the team designed a second prototype.  This version eliminated the cantilever and instead employed a telescoping mechanism that lifted the cones onto pylons vertically, like an elevator.  This approach presented its own problems.  The claw tool had difficulties grasping the cones sufficiently, since its reach was less than on the cantilevered version.

The EPS design review team, consisting of Alex Grimes, Automation Control Engineer Augie Levins, and Sylvain Lacroix, Engineering Manager, proposed several solutions, including the use of a counterweight on the cantilevered arm to lessen the work required to lift the cone onto the pylon.  Alternative methods of collecting and grasping the cones were also proposed.  The robotics team will evaluate these options in the coming weeks as they prepare for the contest.

EPS Reviews Manchester Machine Makers' Latest Robot

EPS president Todd Murphy presents a check to the Manchester Machine Makers.

Engineered Printing Solutions has supported the Manchester Machine Makers for a number of years now.  We are proud to have had Isaac with us last summer for an internship and will continue to work closely with these young engineers as they solve very real challenges today and prepare for even greater challenges in the years ahead.