Success Story DAIMLER

We at SUMCAB Specialcable GmbH see ourselves as a partner of manufacturers and distributors of industrial robots, who, in addition to high-quality products, also provide solutions to technical problems in conjunction with a comprehensive service portfolio. As a specialist for mechatronic robot peripherals, SUMCAB optimises, supplies and integrates pre-assembled cable systems for robot-guided tools and hand-held programming devices (teach panels).

SUMCAB's mechatronic robot peripherals are proving their worth in various industrial robot applications at the Mercedes Benz powertrain factories in Untertürkheim, Germany.
The tradition and history of the motorcar have been heavily influenced by the Daimler AG's main factory at Untertürkheim, which has been operating for over 110 years and now serves as the lead plant in the company's global powertrain production network. The core parts of the car – engine, gearbox, axles and the associated components – are produced in several factory subsections at this high-tech’ site.

Numerous industrial robots are deployed in the various production and technology centres for a huge variety of manufacturing applications including assembly and handling operations as well as various thermal and mechanical joining processes such as inert gas metal arc welding and inserting screws and bolts using guided robots.

Products and Services Required

Many industrial robots from various manufacturers are fitted with cabling systems from SUMCAB Specialcable GmbH, the cable specialist from Pfedelbach (Baden-Württemberg, Germany) with long-term robotic experience, and the powertrain plant operator has been highly satisfied with our mechatronic products for many years now. For the users in the robotics areas, a supplier's competent on-site service is even more important than the hardware provided, whereby the main thing is that the robot peripherals are deployed in such a way as to satisfy the most stringent standards. Robotic plant that is not professionally optimised can result in greater wear and tear even culminating in failure-related production downtime.

SUMCAB supports the robot sections in developing solutions to difficult application cases. It is not always possible to utilise standard cabling products for application-specific power supply, so it is often necessary to develop and manufacture bespoke robot-specific solutions that take account of all plant conditions, system requirements and environmental influences. SUMCAB specialises in precisely this area, which means that we can provide our customers with a more customised and wide-ranging service.

Operational Safety Assured

Daimler AG served as a pilot project customer for the market launch of our recently developed MTPReelTM (Multi Teach Pendant Reel) cable retraction system for teach panels. The powertrain section had agreed to carry out some in-depth functional testing of the devices in a wide range of utilisation scenarios within the production areas. This involved testing various design variants for the different robot control systems deployed in the forge, foundry, welding bay and assembly section.

The cable retraction system was specially designed for the connector cables of portable teach panels for industrial robots and mobile control panels, and ensures that the connection cable is stored in an orderly and safe manner when the teach panel is no longer in use. It is available for the ABB, KUKA and YASKAWA robots used in Untertürkheim as well as for the mobile panels from SIEMENS and KEBA and many other robot manufacturers.

The MTPReelTM ensures that the teach-panel-to-robot connection cables are not left lying in a disorderly manner on the floor, where they would present a trip hazard as well as risking damage by forklift vehicles. A rotating contact system ensures that the crucial safety functions of the portable teach panels, such as the enabling switch and emergency off switch, are transmitted in a failure-fee, reliable manner. The result is comprehensive operational safety, which had already been verified by in-depth testing by the German Technical Inspection Association (TÜV) prior to market launch.
Since then, several well-known manufacturers of robots and mobile panels have included the MTPReelTM in their product portfolios, which represents an additional benefit for the plant operators, as it means that the robot manufacturers have accepted liability and responsibility for warranty claims.

Strong Demand for dresspack systems

Another product from the SUMCAB portfolio, our dresspack systems for industrial robots, is used at the Mercedes Benz works in Untertürkheim. Depending on the requirement, the technical equipment of the industrial robots differs in the various technology centres. For example, the majority of design variant requirements of the handling robots in the foundry are not comparable with what is needed in the gearbox or engine assembly areas. Therefore, the dresspack systems technology to be used is usually dictated to the external plant suppliers via the requirements specification based on the technological and manufacturing environment at the point of use. As an approved supplier listed in the requirements specification for the Daimler AG powertrain area, SUMCAB have established and proven ourselves in this context. We supply dresspack systems that, whilst being standardised to some extent, can still be produced in variable construction designs. The SUMCAB robotic peripherals for the powertrain section primarily need to provide reliable connections for the pneumatic system, power supply and signal transmission, in addition to the occasional cable connection for robot-controlled industrial bolting tools and a field bus system, which must be carried along. Another perennial issue is cabling for image processing and special technologies.

The challenges to be overcome by the dresspack systems components include the vigorous utilisation of the degrees of freedom and the large radius of movement traversed by the robots. A triple-shift system is operated at the Untertürkheim site, partially for six days per week. Due to the sharply increasing utilisation duration, the availability of the robots and concomitant durability of the peripherals is extremely important for production operations. Available windows of opportunity for servicing and repairs are in short supply during the week and are usually only available in sufficient length at the weekends. Heat and fouling are additional stress factors as are weld spatter that occurs during path welding. This places enormous demands on the products.

Service as a Core Strength

The powertrain section emphasises SUMCAB’s service provision as one of our core strengths. Not only does SUMCAB supply specialist products, we also provide support with the installation and integration of our cabling systems and their industrial robots. Whenever problems with the power supply leads were identified, SUMCAB has repeatedly been asked to find and implement appropriate solutions for the robots, whereby existing dresspack systems from other manufacturers sometimes had to be replaced with SUMCAB products. At the same time, SUMCAB has repeatedly been commissioned to optimise existing plant.

Our services are requested by the department as required. SUMCAB has the necessary flexibility and provides the qualified personnel. Our service engineers arrive rapidly at their deployment area and start dealing with the issues. A rapid solution is required whenever production is halted due to failures, and SUMCAB provides the necessary services for this from a single source.

The following service are included in our service portfolio:

• Support with the installation and assembly of dresspack systems, initial plant assembly and optimisation of existing plant
• Preventative servicing of fully equipped existing plant (preventative maintenance as an external service provider on site)
• Repair of supplied dresspack systems and MTPReelTM
• Supplier for constructive solutions to technical challenges