Robotic Sort and Segregation System

Cyan Tec Launch Pioneering Robotic Sort & Seg System for Nuclear Waste

Cyan Tec reveals a fully autonomous robotic sort and segregation system for handling nuclear waste. This innovative project drives forward technology in nuclear decommissioning enabling low and intermediate level waste to be sorted remotely. The advanced robotic solution is capable of safely, effectively and efficiently sorting non-radioactive waste, to increase recycling rates, reduce the number of waste containers sent for disposal and reduce the hazard to people and the environment.

The state-of-the-art system assesses the radioactivity and physical characteristics of nuclear waste then sorts and segregates it into the correct containers with data collected to inform package records. The vision system, with machine learning, acquires 2D images and 3D cloud data of objects to automatically identify individual waste and enable robotic handling. Vision and monitoring equipment autonomously control the robot and gripper selection to segregate and package nuclear waste. Advanced material analysis techniques include laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy capable of penetrating surface coatings to analyse base materials.

Autonomous Sort and Segregation System for Nuclear Waste

Managing Director Tony Jones reports “Cyan Tec is excited to pushing the boundaries of AI and robotic technology in the nuclear industry.”

Cyan Tec’s reliable solution is both configurable and scalable enabling it to handle waste of different sizes and radioactivity levels. Cyan Tec’s modular approach means the system can be simply transferable to different nuclear facilities and environments.

Cyan Tec together with partners Atkins, PSC, Manufacturing Technology Centre and Applied Photonics successfully achieved funding to drive this innovative project through the ‘Sort and Seg’ innovation competition worth a total of £5.5m launched by Sellafield, in partnership with the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and Magnox. The aim is to reduce waste, reduce manual sorting and increase segregation productivity.

The key benefits to the nuclear decommissioning industry include increased sustainability, reduced risks to personnel and significant cost savings in disposal costs.  

To learn more about this robotic sort and segregation system for nuclear waste or similar bespoke advanced processing solutions contact sales@cyan-tec.com

Fanuc Open House 2022

Cyan Tec are once again delighted to show off their flexible laser processing machine, Flexlase, at Fanuc’s Open House event.

The Open House, running from the 2nd to the 4th of November 2022, will be hosted at Fanuc’s state of art facility in Coventry, UK. This is a fantastic opportunity for potential clients to meet the Cyan Tec team and understand more about the capabilities of the Flexlase machine.

The small footprint design has the ability to cut or weld (configured to suit the customer’s requirements), including the integration of a wide range of different laser sources. Cyan Tec’s vast laser experience will assist in the configuration of the machine such as; laser processing optics, laser power and component fixturing.

Given that Cyan Tec have a history of working in a wide range of industries – automotive (including E-mobility), aerospace, nuclear, battery technology, pharmaceutical and plastics – the Flexlase has been designed with this in mind and can be easily configured to suit a wide range of applications.

Additionally, Cyan Tec has an envious reputation in the supply of bespoke automation, inkjet and laser systems, so if the Flexlase machine doesn’t meet your specification, our team are also on hand to discuss your specialist requirements in more detail.

An Insight into Laser Welding Integration

Cyan Tec have an enviable reputation when it comes to the integration of industrial laser systems, particularly in the design and manufacture of cutting and welding equipment. The latter has been a focus of late, with a large-scale project finalised for a well-regarded UK manufacturer. A key focus area for this project was the dedicated tooling, used for the clamping and presentation of the component parts. Working alongside the client, Cyan Tec produced a bespoke suite of fixtures that meet the specification of requirements and ensure a reliable process flow.

The machine was provided with an ABB IRB 6700 six axis robot, designed to reliably deliver the laser welding head to the component part, located within the aforementioned laser welding tooling. Due to the size of the components being processed by the system, the robot was fitted to an ABB IRBT motion system, effectively giving the robot a seventh axis. The robot and seventh axis were programmed by Cyan Tec’s skilled engineers to effectively run a range of component parts.

In addition to the robot and track, a 4kW Trumpf laser source was integrated, along with the required laser processing head. Following trials with the client’s components, Trumpf’s laser offering was deemed the most suitable, and ultimately underpins the success of the entire manufacturing solution.

Another feature of the machine is the shuttle system at the front of the machine. As requested by the customer, the system is manually loaded, clamped, and pushed inside the enclosure. The dual shuttle system means that one component can be laser welded, while the other shuttle is being loaded / unloaded. A number of Cyan Tec’s modular laser systems are also designed with this functionality to meet the customers cycle time requirements.

A key element in laser welding integration is the specification, supply, and delivery of the ancillary components, such as the cooling and extraction systems.

Typically, the laser source and laser processing heads are water cooled, therefore there is a requirement for a chiller. Although some laser manufacturers provide chillers as part of their supply, integrators are often required to provide a third-party cooling system and the specification of this is crucial for the protection of high-value equipment.

The extraction system is equally as important and is often a requirement for end users. The removal of laser fumes from the enclosed area as well as the filtration of such fumes before being released to atmosphere is deemed significant. The ancillary requirements such as cooling and extraction systems prove that having previous experience in integrating industrial lasers is more often than not crucial to an integrator delivering a successful automated solution.  

Additionally, the gas control is crucial to the laser welding process. Cyan Tec provided the machine with a mass flow controller, specifically designed to accurately control the assist gas from the top and bottom of the part through the component fixtures.

The laser welding process is performed within a class 1 laser enclosure, designed, and manufactured by Cyan Tec specific to each application. Depending on a number of variables such as laser power and the laser beam delivery optics, either an active or passive guard system will be provided by Cyan Tec. The design of all laser enclosures both ensure that no light can escape the cell and prevent anybody entering the laser processing area during machine operation.

In addition to bespoke laser cells like the one described above, Cyan Tec can also offer modular laser machines, which offer customers a range of laser welding and cutting solutions based around a standard platform.

Cyan Tec Launch LC Printing

Cyan Tec Systems have launched a new bench-top, single pass, inkjet print system known as the Cyjet LC series. The printer is the latest development from the designed to replace pad printing with digital technology. The launch model is single colour with spot colours offered from Cyan Tec’s ink partner Prism Flex.

With a 54mm print width and high resolution greyscale print technology the system is ideal for promo and product marking and decorating applications.

The first two customer systems are already in full production and have more than doubled productivity over the pad printers they’ve replaced, with a manually loaded throughput rate of 15,000 parts in a single shift.

The system is fully digital and the print job can be changed at will with no make ready or change-over time. Print batches as low as one can be achieved at full production speeds. Optional variable data will allow unique identifiers, bar codes, dates and addressing as well as decorative functions.

The system is easy to set up and use and most operators require a minimum of training to be proficient. When replacing pad printing, the mixing of inks, the making of plates and cleaning of pads is eliminated.

The LC’s first customer has said the machine has been “transformational” to their business.

Cyan Tec is now working on a full colour CMYK variant printing high resolution at wider print widths.

To find out more about this transformational print system, contact Clayton Sampson at Cyan Tec Systems Ltd.

The Importance of Automation Partners

As one of the UK’s leading system integrators, Cyan Tec Systems have built up a number of relationships with partners that play a key role in being able to provide customers with an advanced manufacturing solution.

For both the laser and robotics industry, Cyan Tec’s automation partners offer many competencies, including joint ventures, competitive pricing on industry leading technology and of course, crucial technical assistance throughout the life of any given project.

Talking of the laser industry – in particular using high quality laser products to perform tasks such as cutting, welding, and marking – worldwide manufacturers Trumpf and IPG have been at the cornerstone of Cyan Tec’s success.

In the last 12 months, the integration of significant TruDisk and TruFiber lasers from Trumpf’s strong product range has been notable. The different products, along with a stunning laboratory-type facility to perform laser trials that Trumpf can offer is crucial to integrators such as Cyan Tec, especially with customers’ expectations higher than ever.

A long-standing relationship between Cyan Tec and IPG ultimately peaked in terms of laser power when successfully integrating a 20kW laser – the largest laser source in Europe at the time – at the MTC in Coventry. The laser, featuring high performance as well as power, has performed exceptionally well, offering the MTC opportunities to bridge the gap between R&D feasibility studies. The results of these pre-production processes has seen Cyan Tec and IPG be successful on a number of projects, showing the importance of government-backed research facilities.

In recent years, Cyan Tec have integrated a number of laser markers, both as part of fully automated machines and as standalone marking enclosures. Laserlines and Keyence have been crucial to this successful spell, again offering Cyan Tec high-quality and reliable products. The latter have the ability to offer a wide range of components to compliment Cyan Tec’s automation solution, in addition to the laser marking source. These products include vision systems, sensors, and safety systems. The ability to have continuity is important for an integrator and therefore companies such as Keyence play a leading role.

Robotics have never been more prominent in Cyan Tec’s offering than they are today. In addition to using robots in laser automation, they are often used for industrial inkjet applications as well as more traditional assembly and testing automation. Fanuc and ABB, both with state-of-the-art facilities in the UK, have a long-standing relationship with Cyan Tec. The robotic offering from both companies spans all industry sectors and covers the complete range in terms of payload and reach.

In addition to traditional six axis robots, the advancement in technology now allows for a range of collaborative robots to be integrated into automated systems, often without the need for physical guarding. Cyan Tec have the in-house capability to determine which applications are truly collaborative, typically judged on the end effector or tool that is being used with the robot.

It is an exciting time for automation, and given the fast pace that the industry is changing, key partners will continue to play a leading role for Cyan Tec.  

Cyan Tec Launch Laser Workstation

Following a number of successful projects, Cyan Tec are proud to launch a new laser workstation. Built using a standard fabricated base frame and guard structure, the machine aesthetics are designed to fit within Cyan Tec’s range of modular laser cells.

The design of the workstation has a spacious internal working area that can be configured to suit the particular application, including the supply of bespoke fixtures and tooling.

Originally designed for laser processing such as cutting, welding and marking, it is ultimately reconfigurable, so Cyan Tec have the flexibility to use this same machine design to perform other tasks such as leak testing and assembly operations.

A sliding door system at the front of the machine ensures easy access for loading and unloading operations, as well as maintenance access when required.

In terms of the control system, the machine is designed to house all control elements (other than ancillaries such as extraction and chiller units) in the base of the machine. With floor space often a key driver for customers, the idea is to keep the machine footprint to a minimum.

The workstation includes a HMI / monitor stand attached to the main guard frame to allow operator interaction with the system during machine operation and maintenance.

If the new laser workstation does not suit your requirements, please consider the modular laser cell offering – Standard laser material processing cells | Cyan-Tec. Cyan Tec’s Hyperion range offers a number of modular laser systems to suit a wide range of production requirements. The modular build platform of Cyan Tec’s laser systems allows the selected system to be configured to suit the customer’s specific needs.

Cyan Tec at Farnborough

Cyan Tec are pleased to be teaming up with their robotics and automation partner, Fanuc UK, to show off the Flexlase cell at the Farnborough International Airshow 2022.

Farnborough International Exhibition & Conference Centre, one of the world’s biggest aerospace events, will run from the 18th July to the 22nd of July 2022. This is a fantastic opportunity for potential clients to meet the Cyan Tec team and understand more about the capabilities of the Flexlase machine.

The small footprint design has the ability to cut or weld (configured to suit the customer’s requirements), including the integration of a wide range of different laser sources. Cyan Tec’s vast laser experience will assist in the configuration of the machine such as; laser processing optics, laser power and component fixturing.

Given that Cyan Tec have a history of working in a wide range of industries – automotive (including E-mobility), aerospace, nuclear, battery technology, pharmaceutical and plastics – the Flexlase has been designed with this in mind and can be easily configured to suit a wide range of applications.

Cyan Tec Takes Advantage of Trumpf Technology

Cyan Tec Systems, a designer and manufacturer of bespoke automation systems, relies on TRUMPF solid-state fibre and disk laser technology to help maximise the quality and reliability of its machines. The company currently has 14 TRUMPF lasers at various stages of machine integration across its shop floor in Leicester: eight for laser cutting applications, five for laser welding and one for laser marking.

The delivery of turnkey projects at Cyan Tec extends from conceptual ideas – through mechanical/electrical machine design, manufacture of component parts, purchase of commercial items and assembly – to customer sign-off, installation and commissioning.

Among several specialisms at the multi-million turnover business is automated laser systems, all of which are bespoke and, to some degree, modular. Cyan Tec supplies these machines to sectors that include automotive (including EV battery manufacture), nuclear decommissioning, medical and aerospace. Typical solutions provided by Cyan Tec centre on the integration of laser equipment into a cell incorporating the required component tooling and manipulators, full guarding to comply with current legislation (active or passive), chiller units and extraction where necessary.

“We have a proven track record in providing high-tech solutions for a variety of applications, such as laser cutting, welding, cladding and ablation/cleaning,” explains Sales Manager Richard Copson. “We supply to both industry and the research sectors, working with major laser source and laser head/optics manufacturers to offer a complete solution.”

Prominent among this number is TRUMPF, with which Cyan Tec has had a successful business relationship since 2009. The partnership has grown in recent years following TRUMPF’s acquisition and subsequent rebranding of SPI Lasers.

“We use TRUMPF because their lasers suit our very diverse mix of projects,” states Richard. “TRUMPF’s wide spectrum of lasers means they can nearly always offer a solution, which is a big advantage for us. We also tap into their support. We don’t have any on-site demonstration facilities for lasers, so we rely on TRUMPF for component trials. It helps to prove the process and provides customer confidence. In addition, we occasionally use TRUMPF expertise to fine-tune the process parameters on our machines as we near completion.”

At present, the company is building 14 systems featuring TRUMPF lasers, 12 of which are TruFiber P compact models. TruFiber P compact series lasers are available in a convenient 19-inch format with laser power of up to 2 kW.

“We buy a lot of these lasers because they have a small dimensional envelope,” says Richard. “We take them as rack-mounted OEM modules, which gives us the flexibility to add whatever optical set-up we require on the end. The TruFiber P compact has a competitive price, is practically maintenance-free and offers an integrated safety concept. It’s a product we’ve been using successfully for quite some time.”

With a fibre laser such as the easy-to-integrate TruFiber P compact there is no need for alignment, adjustment or subsequent cleaning of optical surfaces once it has been built, which means there is little or no maintenance requirement. The laser also features a patented back-reflection protection system, not only protecting the laser from the damaging effects of back-reflected light, but making it possible to process highly reflective materials such as copper.

Another TRUMPF laser currently on site at Cyan Tec is a 4 kW TruDisk, which will bring great benefit to a welding system with its brilliant beam quality (up to 2 mm·mrad) and 100% consistent power output. Last but not least is a TruMark Station 3000, which combines simplicity and convenient operation with flexibility: customers can combine it with all marking lasers in the TruMark 1000, 3000, 5000 and 6000 series.

“Reliability is key in all cases, because if the laser fails our badge is on the machine so it could damage our reputation,” concludes Richard Copson. “However, I’m happy to report that the reliability and quality of TRUMPF lasers is very good. This is important because we want to build machines that perform day-in, day out and provide longevity. Of course, we need to offer a competitive price, but we will not cut corners and use inferior products. The ambition is to help customers achieve value-added product enhancement, process improvement and cost savings by designing and building robust, production-capable solutions. We also want to develop long-term relationships with our customers and maintain a good reputation in the market, as this leads to recommendations.”

For further information on the laser systems that Cyan Tec can provide, please visit Industrial Laser Systems | Cyan-Tec.

The Elimination of Overspray – Deposition with Inkjet

Cyan Tec Systems are pioneering the use of inkjet print technology to replace spray systems in a wide variety of industrial sectors. The use of inkjet can eliminate masking, reduce fluid waste by up to 80% and offer the ability to create individualized patterns and images. Cyan Tec continues to sell spray systems where the application requires it, however customers are increasingly attracted by the advantages of inkjet over spray.

Spray technology has several major disadvantages. It is impossible to spray selectively and where the substrate contains holes, for example, waste occurs, as the spray passes through the holes. Similarly, the technology requires overspray, where the deposition starts before it reaches the initial edge of the part and overruns as it reaches the trailing edge of the part. Cyan Tec has found that on an automotive dashboard part, for example, fluid loss through the holes and off the edges of the part, results in over 70% fluid waste. Naturally in today’s world, such waste is not environmentally acceptable, where it can be at all avoided by adopting alternative technologies.  

Inkjet technology was pioneered in the UK and offers the advantages of direct to product deposition, print flexibility, minimized waste and production efficiency. Cyan Tec apply their knowledge of inkjet born in the graphics and promo markets to also deploy the technology for industrial coatings. By marrying their inkjet print knowledge and vast experience of robotics and motion systems, the company offer systems that deposit decorative and functional fluids directly onto 3D objects eliminating wasteful overspray and costly masking processes. Cyan Tec claims its inkjet systems utilised, for example, to coat automotive dashboards with piano black anti-scratch finishes use up to 70% less fluid than a spray process. Where the fluid deposited is solvent based harmful VOC emissions can also be reduced by up to 70%.

Cyan Tec inkjet systems use an array of around 1000 tiny nozzles to deposit fluid precisely where required on to the substrate. Each nozzle fires a number of picolitre drops accurately controlled by means of a piezo firing element. The array which is between 50cm and 70cm wide can create a spray swathe of that width. The piezo firing elements can be addressed individually, via drive electronics and software. The selective nature of inkjet technology means features such as component holes can be avoided and fluid deposition curtailed at the edges of the product to eliminate overspray. The controllability and flexibility of inkjet means patterns and images can be created without the need for masking resulting in process efficiencies.

Examples of coating applications in the automotive arena, include high gloss interiors and protective exterior coatings over illuminated surfaces. Cyan Tec continues to drive inkjet technology into new areas and development work is taking place with more exotic functional fluids for electric vehicle electronics and aerospace applications. Like most technologies, inkjet deposition has its limitations – very high viscosities or large particle size fluids can be challenging to deposit, however these limits are being constantly surmounted as printhead manufacturers develop new printheads to meet these challenges.

Cyan Tec market a number of modular systems from entry level, single conveyor printers to sophisticated robotic depositions systems along with all the necessary automation upstream and downstream to take care of loading, cleaning, pre-treatment, curing, vision inspection unloading and so on. The company also sells flexible print modules including printheads, fluid supply systems, electronics and software as a package that can be integrated into existing or third-party customer machines.

If you think your coating or decorating process could benefit from the direct, selective, addressable deposition that inkjet technology offers, Cyan Tec are there to guide you through the possibilities. Contact them today to discuss your application at sales@cyan-tec.com or telephone +44 (0)1509 815186.

A successful MACH 2022 for Cyan Tec

Cyan Tec were delighted to show off their Flexlase laser processing cell at the MACH 2022 exhibition. The first trade show under the MACH brand since the start of the pandemic, the footfall at the NEC in Birmingham was particularly impressive and plenty of business links were created and rejuvenated throughout the week-long event.

The Hyperion™ Flexlase is a high-quality, compact, modular laser processing machine. The characteristics of the fibre fed solid state range of lasers results in higher quality welding and cutting along with faster speeds when compared to other solutions.

A modular machine structure gives the customer the ability to choose between different options, depending on the application, providing a platform to specify a dedicated processing tool but with the benefits of purchasing a standard piece of equipment.

Cyan Tec’s control software seamlessly integrates the robot, laser source and safety systems, delivering optimum quality for improved manufacturing efficiency. The machine also includes a large user-friendly touch screen which gives the operator access to machines functions, pre-set parameters, job files, drawing files, etc.

The work table is fitted on a robust slide system to allow it to be pulled out from its normal working position, giving greater access for loading and unloading of parts.

One of the impressive features of this machine is the compact footprint in comparison to the working area of the table. This machine is designed with three main configurations; a basic weld table, a weld table with rotary device and a basic cutting table.

The basic weld table will be used where the parts that are being welded can be positioned flat onto the t-slot base that is included as part of the machine or onto a fixture nest supplied separately.

As an additional option to the basic weld table, a rotary device can be fitted to the top of the table and this will allow parts to be rotated during the laser welding process. The rotary will be controlled as a seventh axis by the robot controller.

In laser cutting applications a different design of bed, including sacrificial laser cutting combes, is required. This allows a flat sheet or individual components to sit directly onto the table during the cutting process.

If the three configurations of Flexlase do not suit your application, Cyan Tec have a wide range of other modular laser cells on offer (Standard laser material processing cells | Cyan-Tec) and also can provide quotations for custom laser systems (Custom laser welding & cutting systems UK | Cyan-Tec). Please get in touch with our sales team to discuss your laser applications on 01509 815186 or sales@cyan-tec.com.

A huge thank you to key supplier Fanuc UK, who’s impressive large footprint stand was the home for the Flexlase machine for the duration of the MACH show.