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Push-pull chains give motor maker a lift

Push-pull chains give motor maker a lift

Maypole Engineering’s previous successful experiences of using push-pull chain actuation devices supplied by RA Rodriguez led the company to specify the use of Grob LinearChain technology on bespoke automated handling systems required by a leading hydraulic motor manufacturer based in the UK.

The project demanded the design and manufacture of three special workstations centred around a conveyor to automate the lifting and rotating of hydraulic motors ready for assembly operations. The motors are used for applications that range from boat winches to drill heads for tunnelling. 

“In total, the automated handling stations needed to accommodate over 20 motor variants of different sizes, some of which are double-stacked to provide more torque,” explains Chris Hudson, technical sales engineer at Wokingham-based Maypole Engineering. “The first two stations, known as T1 and T2, are completely automatic – no operators are required. These clamp, lift, turn and orientate the motors in line with specific build instructions before placing them on to pallets ready for assembly operations at T3, which has a light guard system to protect the operator.”

Each station features the same manipulation concept. Here, a Grob LinearChain SK12, with a stroke length of 1200mm and load capacity of 1250kg, is used to provide vertical motion. The chain, which is connected to a gear-motor via a Grob transmission (again supplied by RA Rodriguez), coils inside the magazine when retracted, making it particularly suited to applications calling for long strokes where space is at a premium.

Grob LinearChain features a special profile with interlocking fingers that allows it to become a rigid thrust device for pushing a guided load, such as on a linear slide or a rail. The great benefit of using a push-pull chain to move a load is that it can be stored compactly. RA Rodriguez can supply 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.  

“We finished the project around six months ago,” states Hudson. “Each station can perform vertical, horizontal and rotary manipulation of the customer’s hydraulic motors, while the production cycle time to complete the operations is just nine minutes. From our perspective, using the Grob LinearChain offers simple and quick installation, and it’s very cost effective in comparison with a hydraulic or electric actuator. Furthermore, LinearChain needs minimal head room and is easy to maintain. We have used it before on a number of high profile projects.”

Maypole Engineering is also happy with the service provided by RA Rodriguez, which has proven yet again to be far more than simply a supplier. “For each project, our design engineers calculate the required weight that the chain will have to push and pull, before RA Rodriguez works out the specification of the most suitable Grob LinearChain in terms of capacity and length,” concludes Hudson.

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