Robotic Pick and Place System Facilitates Brick Spacing
A custom-designed robotic gripper head will help Northcot Brick improve its brick spacing process.
Craven Fawcett, a UK-based manufacturer of clay preparation machinery and part of Group Rhodes, is working in collaboration with SABO Brick & Tile, based in Greece, to provide a solution for brick manufacturer Northcot Brick. Based in Gloucestershire, Northcot Brick has been a Craven Fawcett customer for over 60 years. Craven Fawcett serves as the UK distributor of SABO’s manufacturing equipment. The company introduced Northcot Brick to SABO to design and manufacture a custom gripper head for a standard robotic assembly that would be used to pick and place brick.
Northcot Brick had been using a robot to perform this function for 20 years, but the company required a replacement unit because spare parts were no longer available and after-sales service was no longer offered on the equipment. The new robotic brick gripper head will incorporate programmable servo drives for brick spacing, making the process quicker and more efficient. Once the equipment is commissioned, Craven Fawcett will provide Northcot with any future UK-based after-sales services and support.
“We were looking to replace our existing robot with a new version as part of our investment in the latest technology,” said Dale Moss of Northcot Brick. “We’ve worked with Craven Fawcett for many years, and their introduction to SABO means we will be able to make our pick-and-place process for bricks even more efficient.”
The robot will offer a lifting capacity of 500 kg and four axes of movement. The brick gripper head will have the availability to pick up both 65- and 73-mm cut brick in groups of four by eight, nine, 10 or 11 brick, subject to Northcot’s requirements.
Ten servomotors will individually open and close each set of gripper head fingers, thereby allowing Northcot Brick to try different “packet” settings in order to achieve the optimum format for drying (see Figure 1). A parametric program will be written to achieve this flexibility, accessed via a Siemens touchscreen interface.
“We have worked with Northcot Brick for many years, and this new contract is the result of a great working partnership between ourselves and SABO,” said Kevin Hall, Technical Sales manager at Craven Fawcett. “Northcot Brick will benefit from a cutting-edge robotic solution that will enhance its productivity, plus the technical expertise and backup of our after-sales service.”