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Push-pull chains take the strain out of engine assembly

Push-pull chains take the strain out of engine assembly

Wokingham-based Maypole Engineering has specified the use of Grob LinearChain technology from RA Rodriguez on a bespoke engine marriage system for a premier automotive OEM based in the south of England. The purpose-designed system features two tables, each of which is lifted and lowered using a Grob LinearChain SK35-90 with 35kN lifting force and 2000mm stroke length.

“In terms of sequence, the first table lifts and engages its pallet with a front end engine assembly from the plant’s monorail system,” explains Chris Hudson, Technical Sales Engineer at Maypole Engineering. “The table is then lowered and the engine transferred to the second table via a conveyor. The second table is then raised up from where two line workers guide the engine into the car and secure it in place using nut-runners. While this is taking place, the empty pallet returns to the first table via a second conveyor.”  

Grob LinearChain features a special profile with interlocking fingers that permits it to become a rigid thrust device for pushing a guided load, such as on a linear slide or a rail. A major advantage of using a push-pull chain to move a load is that it can be stored compactly. 

“The beauty of using Grob LinearChain is its ability to collapse back into its own magazine,” confirms Mr Hudson. “Compare this with the stroke of a conventional actuator, for example, and you need to accommodate not just the length of the cylinder, but its extended stroke too. Using Grob LinearChain makes for a far more compact solution.”

RA Rodriguez can offer Grob LinearChain stroke lengths up to 30m with a maximum push force of up to 35,000kN. The device provides high positioning accuracy, constant stroke speed and shock-free motion with no elastic hysteresis under load.  

The Letchworth-based company provides support to Maypole on all projects involving Grob LinearChain. Maypole’s design team calculates the required weight that the chain will have to push and pull so that RA Rodriguez engineers can determine the most suitable LinearChain in terms of working capacity and stroke length. 

The bespoke Maypole engine marriage system, the latest application to benefit from this collaboration, was installed at the automotive OEM in January 2016 and has been working reliably ever since. Time is money in the high-volume automotive industry, so reliability is paramount, which is another reason that Maypole insists on Grob LinearChain technology.


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