PrimeTest Automation was contacted with a request from a client to join two drawn metal cans. The process requires an adhesive application, assembly, thermal testing, and marking. It represents a great case study for analyzing specific requirements and their customized solutions.
Facing Specific Challenges
The particular challenges with this request proved interesting. At the top was a 4.5 cycle time for each assembly. The entire assembly, including adhesive application, testing, and marking of good products had to be completed in 4.5 seconds for each item.
If that wasn’t enough of a challenge, the pieces being assembled represented a tight fit, driving up the overall precision required for the automated assembly line. The adhesive application also has to match awkward geometry, eliminating some of the simpler design options for this project.
Lastly, every single assembled item required a thermal test to ensure quality. Getting that done within the prescribed time limit forced even more creative solutions in order to succeed.
Providing Sound Solutions
The successful automation process involved several creative, high-precision designs. The process begins with a vibratory feed of the components. This allows the assembly to adapt to variable part orientations despite the complex geometries.
The second step utilizes a rotary indexer. Here robots take and position the components to ensure they are properly aligned for the adhesive. Accurate alignment is crucial to the assembly process. Between applications, the indexer is moved to prepare the next component in line.
After the adhesive is placed, the two cans are joined together. The assembly is assisted by forming stations that consistently create a tight fit for the joined pieces. Two robotic arms (Fanuc LR Mate Robots) complete the joining process of the components. Joined components are then placed on a pallet. This pallet is on a conveyor that takes parts in and out of the automation stations.
Now that the components are joined, the assembled parts are taken to two more robots (Fanuc SCARA Robots) where thermal testing and laser marking processes are completed. Thermal testing is necessary to ensure that the assembled pieces can operate within desired specifications. Whenever an assembled piece passes the thermal test, it is laser marked as a good product. From there, it is returned to the conveyor as a completed item. The laser markings apply serial identification for quick tracking any items as needed.
Despite the many steps in the automation process, assembly takes just under 4.5 seconds for each item. The rapid process allows for high-speed and large-volume production.
This is a great case study to show how carefully engineered automation processes can adapt to variable challenges and meet tight specifications. PrimeTest Automation has been solving such problems for years, and our experience allows us to find optimized solutions every time. We are always ready for the next challenge, and we specialize in full assembly lines, robotics, custom automation, and more.