When a customer that produces specialized automotive components was looking for a way to increase their production, while improving the quality of their products, they approached PrimeTest® Automation to analyze their current production process and develop an automated solution that would help them produce their components with more speed and accuracy.
Their current, labor-intensive process, involved workers cutting out parts with a manual die punch, and then carefully positioning them on a disk where they would be permanently attached. Once complete, the finished parts needed to be loaded onto a fixture. This type of mass production is time-consuming with workers having to complete each step of the process manually, while also perform inspections for reject parts along the way.
Overall, the process was slow and flawed and needed to be updated with modern production techniques. They turned to PrimeTest® Automation as an experienced systems integrator to implement a better manufacturing and inspection process using components such as a two Fanuc six-axis material handling robots, as well as three advanced technology vision systems.
When the manufacturer reached out to PrimeTest® Automation, they were anticipating a very large order of two specific part models from an existing customer and fulfillment became an urgent need. Although we were contracted to design a machine to handle only two of the models from their full line of products, the customer also wanted the option to reconfigure or retool the new machine to handle the production of their other parts as well. Therefore, the various sizes of their full line of parts needed to be taken into consideration when designing their automation system.
One of our goals was to design a system that required minimal operator interaction. That was achieved by designing a machine able to be loaded with enough raw materials to run for a long (2 hour) cycle before needing to be reloaded. Even then, reloading could take place without halting the machine enabling seamless nonstop production of parts for as long as the machine is running.
We also wanted to maximize speed without compromising accuracy. The rapid pace production was achieved by utilizing 2 FANUC LR-Mate long reach six axis material handling robots and designing one of the robots with duel end of arm tools to expedite the many pick and place transfers. Both robots moved swiftly preforming various pick and place transfers simultaneously to keep multiple parts moving through the system at all times.
For accuracy, Two Keyence Vision sensors were used to detect that all components are present in the assembly. One sensor is used to inspect both sides of the part as robot 1 flips the assembly under the sensor. The other sensor is used to inspect the part as it is placed by robot 2 on the finished nest. If any sensor detects a missing or inaccurately placed component, it will reject the assembly.
This solution helped our customer improve their production through an automated multi-step process, which was both faster and more accurate than their previous manual operating process. This increased their throughput and enabled them to confidently accept large orders from future customers.
Major Components Included:
Welded steel machine base.
Extruded aluminum & Lexan safety enclosure.
2 FANUC LR-Mate long reach six axis material handling robots.
Four Die Press assemblies.
Four Component feeders (one for each Press).
Three process plate assemblies.
Three vision systems, including 2 Keyence Vision sensors
Two safety laser scanners.