May 11 2004

Corus Special Profiles select DELMIA IGRIP to Simulate Robot to Handle Hot Steel Samples

Simulations prove that industrial robot can perform dangerous task to improve worker safety and minimize workplace hazards.



Auburn Hills, Mich., May 18, 2004 – Digital manufacturing supplier, Delmia Corp., a Dassault Systemes company (NASDAQ: DASTY; Euronext Paris: No. 13065, DSY.PA), announced today that IGRIP was used to create a virtual representation of a hazardous robot cell.

The complex challenge was set by Corus, the UK-based metals products manufacturer, processor and distributor.  For a hundred years, Corus Special Profiles has taken samples from its red hot steel manually.  It is critical to test the strength and chemical composition of the steel, but required skilled workers and presented potential dangers during the process.

It was met by AMTRI (Macclesfield, U.K.) using DELMIA tools.  AMTRI provides support services related to the design, construction and use of manufacturing machinery and machine tools.  Thanks to the teamwork between Delmia Corp and AMTRI Corus Special Profiles (Skinningrove, U.K.), they have successfully launched its first industrial robot into the steel sampling process.  

Bill Downing, manager, manufacturing services for Corus Special Profiles explained: “Two years ago, we had an idea that the sampling role could be carried out by a robot.  We approached AMTRI to help us create a fully integrated solution.  We knew it was a difficult order, as the process never stops and the size of steel to be sampled varies in size dramatically.  To complicate matters further, the steel is between 1650o F – 1830o F (900oC and 1000oC) and the biggest sample pieces can weigh as much 155 lbs (70 kg).  The saw that cuts through the steel has a running speed of 500 rpm and is 7.2ft (2.2 m) in diameter.  While potentially a man could jump out of the way of the advancing steel, a robot can’t, so the positioning of the robot was absolutely crucial.”

The logistics of the robot’s operating area were complex.  Not only was space limited, with a great deal of equipment, but there were several, seemingly conflicting tasks, such as scrap removal and equipment servicing requirements.

AMTRI, which provides support services related to the design, construction and use of manufacturing machinery and machine tools, carried out a full site survey and settled on the Kawasaki ZT165 robot to do the sampling.  An initial simulation using DELMIA’s IGRIP proved that this shelf mounted, industrial robot, which is more usually employed as a spot welder in the automotive sector, could perform the task.

In addition, a special gripper was designed to withstand extreme heat and cope with all the markedly differing sample sizes.  A more detailed simulation was created and proved that there was just one potential option that required the robot’s maximum reach on pick up and put down.

“The confidence the DELMIA simulation gave us saved time and money.  As we knew we only had an inch to play with, and could only install within the area during scheduled weekend breaks, we knew exactly what needed to be done for the set-up to work,” commented Bob Lloyd, Project Manager at AMTRI. “Moving the platform and dismantling the cell later would have cost production and taken time.  “Right first time” is much trumpeted, but we find DELMIA prevents problems you otherwise would never even have anticipated.”

“DELMIA simulation and full cell model gave us the confirmation we needed that this solution would work.  Our operators, now safely located in an operating pulpit, are happy and have even named the robot Robbie,” concluded Downing.