Function critical components

Function critical components

Challenging combinations of functions

Huygens Engineers regularly receives assignments to design components that combine a number of functions in an environment with challenging access, volume or material constraints. Thanks to our experience with the widely varying projects, and indisputable creativity of some specialised team-members we are able to realise challenging combinations of functions with a degree of efficiency.

Universal drive mechanism for hygienic thermoplastic belts

A belt that transports foodstuffs must be kept as hygienic as possible and should therefore be easy to maintain and clean. It must deal with the varying properties of products in terms of geometry, temperature, abrasion and contamination. To design a universal drive mechanism for such a system, Huygens Engineers closely collaborated with the client to extensively research various solutions, with a wide range of fully modular functions.
Universal drive mechanism for hygienic thermoplastic belts Universal drive mechanism for hygienic thermoplastic belts

Accurate high-speed grabber

For a manufacturer that produces a large assortment of plastic parts, Huygens Engineers designed a machine that cuts the parts to size at high speed and with great precision. An important component of the machine is a specifically designed grabber that is able to efficiently and quickly grab elements of hundreds of different shapes. We developed both the software and hardware for this application, which we tested and validated in-house.
The grabber must be able to perform three functions simultaneously, both accurately and quickly: move parts of different sizes and shapes, detect potentially defective parts and preposition the parts correctly. And these actions must be performed within a cycle time that can be as short as 1.2 sec-onds. Conventional suction cup systems were unusable due to the irregular geometry and recesses in the parts.
One of the actions to be taken by the grabber is a synchronisation with the continuously moving belt. That is why we chose a robot grabber with five linear servomotors that have both grabbing and measuring functions. The accuracy of these measurements is of the order of tens of microns while achieving accelerations of 10m/s². As the grabber moves at high speeds in the horizontal plane, we designed it to be as compact and light as possible in order to minimise strain.
The grabber performs three functions simultaneously The grabber performs three functions simultaneously
The grabber synchronizes with the continuous feeder The grabber synchronizes with the continuous feeder

Robot arm

An injection moulding company asked Huygens Engineers to improve a design for a robot arm. The new design is meant to make the arm suitable for scaling up the production of plastic buckets.
Robot arm Robot arm
Robot arm detail Robot arm detail
Robot arm graph Robot arm graph
The robotic arm uses suction cups to remove 10L buckets from moulds once they open. It then places the buckets at a fixed transport location. Picking up, moving and putting down the buckets must all be done within a time of 0.4 seconds. This causes high acceleration stresses in the robot arm. In ad-dition, the room for movement is very limited, although the arm must make a 90-degree rotation using a servo motor. We therefore had to work with the lowest possible power and a suitable geome-try that minimises forces and optimally distributes the forces in the structure during acceleration and deceleration. Through analyses of acceleration patterns in a 3D model, this led to a phased accelera-tion and deceleration of the robot arm with a rigid triangle incorporated in the construction.

Hygienic and energy-efficient dryer

Huygens Engineers developed a dryer for the food industry and for drying sludge in water treatment. The dryer is an energetically improved version of a freeze dryer and minimises the damage to the cell structures of the products being dried. It is extremely energy-efficient, because the latent energy – which is required for evaporation – is not lost.

The dryer works based on a thermal cycle: the evaporation of water at the front of a plate causes condensation on the other side of that plate. The water evaporates at a low pressure. A vibrating evaporator plate in the dryer makes it particularly suitable for processing products that normally cake. To keep everything hygienic, only smooth, curved stainless steel surfaces were used. 

Hygienic and energy-efficient dryer Hygienic and energy-efficient dryer

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