A manufacturing company approached PrimeTest Automation® with the need to automate the assembly process for a complex ignition component using robotic assembly. Their current manual process was highly labor-intensive, with small components that made it difficult for the operator to manipulate.
Additionally, the company was assembling the components via a batch process, where they assembled groups of products at once instead of using one-piece flow. This meant that there was downtime between batches as the machines were reset, greater amounts of inventory on hand, and it also made the QA process more difficult. If one part from a batch wasn’t correct, the entire batch needed to be reprocessed or scrapped.
Overall, the assembly process was inefficient and needed to be retooled. They were looking for a system integrator who could implement assembly, test, and measurement solutions using traditional components, such as PLCs and robotics, but who could also add more custom features, such as vision inspection and data collection.
Combining our experience with robotics, vision inspection, controls, small-part handling and the company’s product knowledge and one-piece flow experience, PrimeTest Automation® developed a more efficient, automated assembly process. The system incorporates an inductive vacuum brazing process, which uses higher temperatures than soldering and results in a stronger join between two metals.
To perform the actual assembly, PrimeTest implemented a Fanuc LR Mate 200 iC six-axis robot, whose light weight, high dexterity, speed and high accuracy made it ideal for the complex assembly process. The system is controlled by an Allen Bradley MicroLogix 1400 PLC, and utilizes a National Instruments NI-1752 smart camera to visually inspect each component. The below video shows the robotic assembly in action.
Overall, PrimeTest Automation’s robotic assembly system increased the speed, accuracy, and efficiency of a complex manufacturing process.