The event: the special open day organised in Sacmi on the eve of the international Tecnargilla fair, held in Rimini. The star: the new casting station, which the 200 operators attending the event had the opportunity to observe as it produced WCs and washbasins.
Two presses were installed on the station, the first one, called AVI, for the production of WCs, and a second one, the ALV, for the manufacture of washbasins. Both were fully operative and served by a single robot. The biggest new development on show – one that sets the stage for a revolution in the field – was the extremely fast mould changeover system, which provides a competitive advantage that producers, especially those working at the high end of the market, can no longer do without given the burgeoning market demand for extreme dynamism and flexibility.
What attracted the visitors’ attention - so much so that the term ‘AVI System’ was coined and requests were made for this new sanitaryware production method to be applied on other machines and production processes – was the undeniable comparative advantage associated with mould changeover tasks as the AVI System reduces the required time by over 95%. The most commonly used technologies, in fact, have mould changeover procedures - for a complex 7-part WC – that last at least 10-12 hours: half that time is taken up by mould handling operations (carried out using fork lift trucks due to their considerable weight) and the rest by calibration of the piece pick and set-down paths effected by the robot.
What participants at the Sacmi open day were able to see with their own eyes was the production of WCs and washbasins, with robot-handled changeovers of both moulds, and the subsequent production of a second type of both articles: all completed in just a few tens of minutes and with excellent results in terms of finished article quality.
The secret of the AVI System? A fully redesigned structure which allows fully automated removal of all the mould parts by robot (while, however, retaining the ability to install existing moulds already produced for traditional machines). This reduces inefficiencies and eliminates the need for low-added-value manual handling. Moreover, reduced machine weight allows the installation of devices that permit lateral or frontal tilting, thus enhancing flexibility. And thanks to the elimination of the hydraulic control unit, there are fewer maintenance requirements.
These, then, are the key advantages of the new casting station (exhibited on 24th September complete with anthropomorphic robot) which lets manufacturers handle, inside the station, all those devices already extensively tested by Sacmi on AVM stations. To complete the special pre-Technargilla event, the exhibition area featured a further station demonstrating automatic kiln car unloading, again fully automated, by robots featuring pick-up grippers that self-adapt to variations in WC morphology and a 3D scanner mounted directly on the robot itself: the latter can recognise WCs randomly arranged on the car and provides the robot with the instructions to pick them up and set them down in an orderly manner in the unloading zone.