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KUKA KR 1000 titan assembles cylinder blocks at the FAW Group

Use of KUKA robots sets benchmark in manufacture of heavy-duty diesel engines in China

Largely unknown in Europe, the FAW Group is one of the largest automotive manufacturers in China. In February 2012, FAW Jiefang Automotive Co., Ltd. Wuxi Diesel Engine Works, a full subsidiary of the FAW Group Corporation, began operating a production plant for the manufacture of heavy-duty diesel engines with a yearly capacity of 125,000 units in Huishan. Robots from Augsburg are being applied to a wide range of tasks in this plant. The highlight here: KUKA KR 1000 titan's handling of 700 kg cylinder blocks.

Massive cylinder blocks require a heavy-duty robot

Weighing up to 700 kg, the need to rotate the cylinder block of a 6DM diesel engine (for example, for the assembly of a cylinder bank, crankshaft and oil pan) presents particular challenges on the assembly line. Conventional handling with rotary and lifting devices as well as adequate manpower was not possible due to space requirements and a lack of efficiency. The combination of a workpiece weighing between 500 and 700 kg and a 200 kg gripper means only a heavy-duty robot with a 1000 kg payload capacity can be considered for this task.

Titan from KUKA handles the cylinder block with ease

As soon as the cylinder block, weighing 500 kg before assembly, reaches the work island, the KUKA KR 1000 titan picks it up under sensor control and sets it down on a workpiece carrier. From here, the cylinder block passes through several work steps, including the installation of connecting rods, cylinders, oil pans, etc. During this assembly work, the robot must rotate the cylinder block exactly 90 degrees at a defined point. Upon completion, the cylinder block - now weighing 700 kg - is brought back to the island station where the KR 1000 picks it up and performs a 180-degree rotation to set it down on the workpiece carrier. The assembled block then continues its journey through the assembly line.

The KUKA KR 500 handling a crankshaft

The strongest KUKAs robot on the market

The KR 1000 titan is the KUKAs strongest six-axis robot on the market. With a maximum reach of 3,202 mm, a repeatability of ±0.1 mm and a payload range of 1,000 kg, this high-tech machine is the world champion of industrial robots. Its working envelope encompasses up to 78 m³. Besides the KR 1000 titan, two KR 16s take on challenging sealing applications while a KR 210 and a KR 500 are responsible for heavy handling and assembly operations. The six-axis KR 210 stands out due to its payload of 210 kg and a reach of 2,700 mm.
The KR 210 takes over heavy handling and assembly operations

Efficient KUKA solution exceeds original expectations

The intelligent system layout with the KUKA island station (in a double-X-design) allows for shorter paths within the full assembly line, thus reducing the number of work carriers, increasing the efficiency of the assembly line and reducing the investment costs. The robots must also install the heavy components, at times applying a great amount of force, while causing no damage to these important parts. Their masterful performance allows these KUKA machines to complete the challenging tasks with flying colors. Today, the assembly line has a production output of 125,000 units a year, far exceeding the 100,000 called for in the original planning.

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