Title:
Robot system and method for maintenance of base plates in electrometallurgical and industrial processes
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
At present, the maintenance of base plates in electrometallurgical processes is carried out manually which increases the maintenance costs and decreases the quality and the useful life of the base plates. Due to the above, a robot system and method have been developed for the polishing and replacement of base plates insulation in an automated way.

The robotic system is composed mainly of a robotic manipulator (1) of at least 5 degrees of freedom, and a gripping mechanism (2) which allows to take the polishing device (3), also the system has a second robotic manipulator (4) that a gripping mechanism (5) replaces the base plates insulations.




Inventors:
Salamanca, Hugo (Santiago, CL)
Application Number:
11/598137
Publication Date:
06/28/2007
Filing Date:
11/13/2006
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
414/729
International Classes:
E02D13/00
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Primary Examiner:
LEYKIN, RITA
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
GOTTLIEB RACKMAN & REISMAN PC (NEW YORK, NY, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A robot system for the maintenance of base plates in electrometallurgical and industrial processes, comprising two anthropomorphous robotic arms of at least 5 degrees of freedom, each of which is provided with one control, communication and programming unit, one gripper adapter, one pneumatic gripper, its fingers, one pneumatic gripper driving system, one electric supply system, one polishing device and a tool holder wherein the first anthropomorphous robotic arm of at least 5 degrees of freedom is provided with a multifunctional gripping mechanism which allows in a sequential and programmed way to take a polishing device from a tool holder located at one of its sides, and move it through a defined path to the polishing area where the polishing process of the base plates is carried out and once this task is ended a second anthropomorphous robotic arm of at least 5 degrees of freedom carries out the replacement of base plates insulation in an automated way.

2. A robot system for the maintenance of base plates in electrometallurgical and industrial processes according to claim 1, wherein the anthropomorphous robotic manipulator could communicate by itself or through a PLC interface with the control system.

3. A robot system for the maintenance of base plates in electrometallurgical and industrial processes according to claim 1, wherein the anthropomorphous robotic manipulator has the capacity to obtain and interpret the information from installed analogue and/or digital sensors.

4. A robot system for the maintenance of base plates in electrometallurgical and industrial processes according to claim 1, wherein the anthropomorphous robotic manipulator has the capacity to generate analogue and/or digital signals to control analogue and/or digital input devices.

5. A robot system for the maintenance of base plates in electrometallurgical and industrial processes according to claim 1, wherein a multifunctional gripping mechanism is used to manipulate and polish the base plates.

6. A robot system for the maintenance of base plates in electrometallurgical and industrial processes according to claim 1, wherein a multifunctional gripper is used to remove and replace the insulation and also to move the base plates.

7. A robot system for the maintenance of base plates in electrometallurgical and industrial processes according to claim 1, wherein it has the capacity to move, manipulate and release the polishing device for the base plates and/or cathodes in different paths within the work volume of the robotic system.

8. A robot system for the maintenance of base plates in electrometallurgical and industrial processes according to claim 1, wherein the anthropomorphous robotic arms of at least 5 degrees of freedom are mounted on a fixed and/or mobile support.

9. A robot system for the maintenance of base plates in electrometallurgical and industrial processes according to claim 1, wherein a multifunctional pneumatic gripper is used which allows in a sequential and programmed way to take, manipulate and release the polishing device of the base plates and/or cathodes.

10. A robot system for the maintenance of base plates in electrometallurgical and industrial processes according to claim 1, wherein a pneumatic gripper is used comprising of at least 4 fingers, which allows to grasp and/or release the polishing device of the base plates and/or cathodes.

11. A robot system for the maintenance of base plates in electrometallurgical and industrial processes according to claim 1, wherein a multifunctional pneumatic gripping mechanism is used to carry out the automated replacement of base plates insulation in a sequential and programmed way.

12. A robot system for el the maintenance of base plates in electrometallurgical and industrial processes according to claim 1, wherein the anthropomorphous robotic manipulator has an electrical system driven by three-stage induction motors, with vectorial and/or scalar control.

13. A robot system for the maintenance of base plates in electrometallurgical and industrial processes according to claim 1, wherein productivity and efficiency in the polishing procedures of the base plates and the replacement of base plates insulation in electrometallurgical processes of different metals increases.

14. A robot system for the maintenance of base plates in electrometallurgical and industrial processes according to claim 1, wherein the system may operate automatically, or semiautomatically, and also allows solutions scalability.

15. A robot system for el the maintenance of base plates in electrometallurgical and industrial processes according to claim 1, wherein the system could be integrated to the ISA process and the Kidd process.

16. A robot system for the maintenance of base plates in electrometallurgical and industrial processes according to claim 1, wherein it prevents the plant personnel from being subjected to a high physical demand and harsh environmental conditions.

17. Method for the maintenance of base plates in electrometallurgical and industrial processes using the robot System of claim 1 to 16, wherein the first anthropomorphous robotic arm of at least 5 degrees of freedom is provided with a multifunctional gripping mechanism which allows in a sequential and programmed way to take a polishing device from a tool holder located at one of its sides, and moves it through a defined path, to the polishing area where the polishing process of the base plates will take place, so as once this process is ended a second anthropomorphous robotic arm of at least 5 degrees of freedom replaces the insulation of base plates in an automated way.

18. Method for the maintenance of base plates in electrometallurgical and industrial processes using the robot System of claim 1 to 16, wherein the anthropomorphous robotic manipulator could communicate by itself or through a PLC interface with the control system.

19. Method for the maintenance of base plates in electrometallurgical and industrial processes using the robot System of claim 1 to 16, wherein the anthropomorphous robotic manipulator has the capacity to obtain and interpret the information from installed analogue and/or digital sensors.

20. Method for the maintenance of base plates in electrometallurgical and industrial processes using the robot System of claim 1 to 16, wherein the anthropomorphous robotic manipulator has the capacity to generate analogue and/or digital signals to control the analogue and/or digital inputs devices.

21. Method for the maintenance of base plates in electrometallurgical and industrial processes using the robot System of claim 1 to 16, wherein a multifunctional gripping mechanism is used to manipulate and polish the base plates.

22. Method for the maintenance of base plates in electrometallurgical and industrial processes using the robot System of claim 1 to 16, wherein a multifunctional gripping mechanism is used to remove and replace the insulation and also moves the base plates.

23. Method for the maintenance of base plates in electrometallurgical and industrial processes using the robot System of claim 1 to 16, wherein it has the capacity to move, manipulate and release the polishing device of the base plates and/or cathodes in different paths within the work volume of the robotic system.

24. Method for the maintenance of base plates in electrometallurgical and industrial processes using the robot System of claim 1 to 16, wherein the anthropomorphous robotic arms of at least 5 degrees of freedom are mounted on a fixed and/or mobile support.

25. Method for the maintenance of base plates in electrometallurgical and industrial processes using the robot System of claim 1 to 16, wherein a multifunctional gripping mechanism is used to take, manipulate and release in a sequential and programmed way the base plates and/or cathodes.

26. Method for the maintenance of base plates in electrometallurgical and industrial processes using the robot System of claim 1 to 16, wherein a pneumatic gripping mechanism is used comprising at least 4 fingers which allow to grasp and/or release the polishing device of base plates and/or cathodes.

27. Method for the maintenance of base plates in electrometallurgical and industrial processes using the robot System of claim 1 to 16, wherein a multifunctional gripping mechanism is used to replace in a sequential and programmed way the insulation of the base plates and/or cathodes in an automated way.

28. Method for the maintenance of base plates in electrometallurgical and industrial processes using the robot System of claim 1 to 16, wherein productivity and efficiency in the polishing procedures of the base plates and replacement of the insulation of base plates in electrometallurgical processes of different metals.

29. Method for the maintenance of base plates in electrometallurgical and industrial processes using the robot System of claim 1 to 16, wherein the system may operate automatically or semiautomatically, and also allows solution scalability.

30. Method for the maintenance of base plates in electrometallurgical and industrial processes using the robot System of claim 1 to 16, wherein the system could be integrated both to the ISA process and to the Kidd process.

31. Method for the maintenance of base plates in electrometallurgical and industrial processes using the robot System of claim 1 to 16, wherein it prevents the plant personnel from being subjected to a high physical demand and hash environmental conditions.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit of provisional patent application Ser. No. 60/734,982 filed 2005 Nov. 10 by the present inventor

FEDERAL SPONSORED RESEARCH

Not Applicable

SEQUENCE LISTING OR PROGRAM

Not Applicable

BACKGROUND

1. Field of Invention

This invention relates to the use of robotic technology in mining industry, specifically in electrometallurgical and industrial processes.

BACKGROUND

2. Prior Art

The electrodeposition process is one of the current and simplest methods to recover, in a pure and selective way, the metals in a solution This process mainly uses the permanent cathodes or base plates, which are deposited in tanks for a determined period of time and through the electrometallurgical process, the metal in the solution starts to deposit in the walls of the plate until reaching a determined weight. Once the weight is reached, the cathodes are retrieved (harvest) through an operation carried out by the bridge crane, which takes the volume of cathodes of each cell and moves them to the scrubbing tunnel. From the scrubbing tunnel the cathodes pass to the stripping machine where the copper is finally separated from the base plates.

As a result of this process the base plates deteriorates on a continuous basis which is caused by the chemical (corrosion) or mechanical (bending, and hammering during stripping) effects. Due to this, the base plates should be constantly subjected to repair where the surface is polished and the insulation is replaced.

At present, the maintenance of the base plates is carried out manually, which presents high maintenance costs and low quality levels. This causes the electrodeposition process to have low quality base plates that affect the efficiency of the process.

SUMMARY

A robotic system has been developed for the maintenance of the base plates where one robotic arm polishes the base plate then a second robotic arm replaces their insulation in an automated way.

DRAWINGS—FIGURES

In the drawings, closely related figures share the same numbers, with different alphabetic suffixes.

FIG. 1. View of a robotic manipulator system for the maintenance process of base plates in electrometallurgical and industrial processes.

FIG. 2. View of a robotic manipulator system for the maintenance process of base plates in electrometallurgical and industrial processes

FIG. 3. View of a robotic manipulator system for the maintenance process of base plates in electrometallurgical and industrial processes

DRAWINGS—REFERENCE NUMERALS

1. Robotic manipulator

2. Gripping mechanism

3. Polishing device

4. Robotic manipulator

5. Gripping mechanism

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

This invention refers to a new robot system for the maintenance of base plates in electrometallurgical and industrial processes, where the polishing and replacement of base plates is carried out automatically.

With reference to FIG. 1, FIG. 2, and FIG. 3, the robot system is composed mainly of one robotic manipulator (1) of at least 5 degrees of freedom, provided with a communication, acquisition and control system, and a gripping mechanism (2) which allows to take the polishing device (3) from a tool holder, so as a second robotic manipulator (4), provided with a communication, acquisition and control system, and a gripping mechanism (5) removes and replace the base plate insulation.

Additionally the system could be integrated into a single manipulator which has the two functions. The configuration of one or two manipulators will depend on the flow of base plates to be subjected to maintenance.