John A. L. Mills & Associates Pty Ltd

Machinery Makers to the Gentry since 1976

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20 Hewitts Road
Carnegie 3163
Tel 0412 426 096
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MAHLE Piston Casting Parts Shuttle



Transfer Shuttles for Piston Die Casting Automation Upgrade
Mahle Engine Components Australia were increasing production by automating two of their casting cells at their North Laverton (Victoria) facility

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Once the aluminum pistons have been cast, the runners (excess) are snipped off. From this point they need to be quenched; however, the size of the snipper, and distances involved mean the robot could not pick up the pistons.
John Mills & Associates successfully tendered to design and build two part shuttles that would transfer the pistons from the snippers to a point were the robot could pick them up for quenching, followed by machining in a CNC lathe.



The shuttles had to fit into a small footprint, the pistons had to be lowered to clear the snippers before the carriage could retract.
The carriage is moved by a FESTO DPG pneumatic rail with air cushioning, and is raised and lowered by a standard pneumatic cylinder. All working parts a protected from falling aluminum.


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The pistons locate on dolleys, and are self-centering to ensure the robot will pick them up in the same orientation every time. The dolleys are interchangeable for the different pistons that are cast in the cells.
The shuttles are adjustable in all axis' and can be unbolted from the casting frame and removed, and put back in exactly the same place. They were designed and built over a six week period.

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