More on: Q5D’s CNC automated wiring loom cell, which adds connectors and 3D prints
Electronics weekly contacted the Bristol, UK, company to find out more.
Called CY1000, it “automatically and securely adds components, connections and conductors into products or components made of metal, ceramic, or polymer,” according to the company. “It eliminates the need for separate wiring harnesses, and wiring can be co-located with the final assembly.”
Measuring 2.3 x 2.2 x 2.3mm high, the cell has a steel-framed gantry and robotic platform with a working capacity of 1m in diameter, 300mm in high and 30kg.
Interchangeable tool heads, which the company calls ‘end effectors’, deposit various wire sizes, or polymer structures, or, for example, carry Renishaw-style probes to measure the workpiece.
The basic wiring technique is anchoring wires to a flat or 3D substrate.
“It works by laying ordinary solid or twisted core wire, which it terminates using crimped ends and push connectors, or IDC [insulation displacement connector] connectors,” the company told Electronics Weekly. “Wire is secured to the product in one of three ways: bare wire can be heated and pressed into the surface of a polymer, wire ‘traps’ can be created using the 3D polymer deposition head and the wire pushed into the trap, or wire can be laid onto a surface and secured in place by over-printing using FDM. It is possible to create successive layers of bare or insulated wires, or a mix of these.”
Standard wire from the target industry is used, with wires from 0.25 to 3mm currently handled, with more to be added as customer need dictates.
In the pipeline for release later this year, is printable conductive ink or paste which will be laser sintered to produce conductors.
With a 3D printing head installed (the machine remains 5-axis) printable materials include: various nylons, PETG, PEEK, Kydex, ABS and Ultem, plus carbon fibre or glass fibre filled variants of them.
The 3D structures built are “suitable for use in automotive, aerospace, defence, industrial and potentially some consumer markets”, said Q5D. “Because we can print in PEEK and Kydex, we are able to support applications that require temperature and fire resistance.”
Mechanically, the machine’s x and y-axis can operate at up to 1m/s, and the z-axis at half that, said 5QD. The other two axes – head rotation and bed rotation, move at up to 70rpm.
Operation is stand-alone, or as part of a process line where it offers full-depth access for robotic loading.
Designers can specify operations using a CAD/CAM based on Siemens NX, but with a bespoke motion controller, post-processor and simulator.
Local control is via a touch Screen and keyboard, and the screen provides an overview of the status, performance, productivity and quality where available.
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