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Seat belts buckle up with air and oil.

Seat belts buckle up with air and oil

TRW Vehicle Safety Systems, Louisville, MS, is a major producer of automotive seat belts. The production lines at the plant need presses that are reliable, versatile, and energy efficient. In 1987, engineers found a system that met these requirements in the Powerpackage air-to-oil intensifier from Pressotechnik Ltd, Addison, IL.

Lamar Horne, production maintenance supervisor, needed a press that could stake rivets, crimp, fold a base, and insert pins. To power this press and perform the functions, TRW facilities in the US, Mexico, and Canada have purchased Powerpackage cylinders in capacities ranging from 1 to 50 tons.

Each employs an energy-saving air-to-oil intensifier system that splits the forward stroke into a pneumatic fast approach and a resistance-activated power stroke. The cylinder has three operating stages: air-operated fast approach, pneumatic-hydraulic power stroke, and air-operated return stroke. Contact with the workpiece automatically starts the power stroke.

Where other pneumatic and hydraulic cylinders waste energy during the approach stroke, the Powerpackage engages the power only when needed. Tests show the product can provide energy savings up to 90% over conventional cylinders.

The Powerpackage cylinders feature 100% air-to-oil separation, and the integrated oil system eliminates external oil reservoirs. The cylinder has only three internal moving parts. Most important is the double-supported working rod that carries the load from the approach stroke on through the power stroke.

The Powerpackage controls riveting force by monitoring oil pressure. An adjustable switch signals the valve to retract when pressure reaches the operator-set value.

Previously, TRW used air-powered toggle presses, Mr Horne notes. "In addition to excess air consumption, the problem with air-toggle presses is that power is maximum only at the end of the stroke. With the new cylinders, we dont' have to adjust the stroke, and power is constant throughout the load.

"The cylinders contribute to a clean and quiet work environment, and they help provide longer tool life. Air consumption is lower, and we estimate our maintenance costs dropped nearly 80%."
COPYRIGHT 1991 Nelson Publishing
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Manufacturing Solutions
Publication:Tooling & Production
Date:Nov 1, 1991
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