In watch case manufacturing, the ‘case center’ is an integral part of the watch. The case center is made with Brass, aluminum, and stainless-steel materials. The manufacturing process involves ‘press forming’ operation (refer Figure 1). Forming is an operation where a blank (component – pre-formed case center) is pressed between a set of dies (with specific shape) to produce a finished or semi-finished part.
Sequence of tasks performed, during the forming operation, are as below:
Forming process, being a precise operation (100 microns tolerance on the die profile), accurate placement of the component is critical. Thus, special care must be taken to place the component correctly on top of the die. Currently, a special central locator is used for ensuring the component does not change its orientation. Since there are many variants of these components, it becomes difficult and time consuming to change the gripper to suit different variants of the component, assuming, we have as many grippers as the number of components. However, there are around 1000+ variations in size and shape and thus difficult to a. manufacture as many grippers b. managing the inventory and c. increasing the changeover time.
We are looking for a solution for standardized gripping mechanisms (covering all the size and shape of the component) which will enable picking up the component and placing it in the die with perfect alignment and orientation.