01 End of Line Palettizing
This project was a palettizing solution for a food packaging facility. The product was packaged in glass and plastic bottles, packaged in a cardboard flat, and shrink wrapped. One flat was produced every 8 seconds at maximum speed.
Our first challenge was how to pick up the flat of bottles. The cardboard used for the flat was not very sturdy, and the shrink wrap used thin plastic, which offered minimal support for the flat. In addition, the flat size changed depending on the product that was packaged, so tooling would need to be flexible enough to support various flat sizes..
In addition to that, the cycle time (8 seconds) was a very aggressive goal, so the robot would need to pick up 2 flats at once to meet the production requirements.
Our solution was to use a magnetic EOAT which would lift the part using the metal lids that were on all the bottles. Using an array of these magnets the robot was able to grip the flat from the top and carry it to the skid for palettizing. Several magnets were used as the material of the bottle cap was thin and controlled by pneumatic valves.
Using a Kawasaki palettizing robot, we integrated an OMRON PLC and Schneider HMI to facilitate setup of the cell and sending data to the robot. Based on the product to be palletised, the Operator selects the pattern to run and enters the flat dimensions. This allows the robot to adjust the pickup and drop off locations based on that information.
The result for this was faster palettizing for the Customer, and less physically demanding work for the employees on the line. Instead of loading the product onto the skids, they removed the full skids of product and replaced the empty pallets for the robot.
02 Assembly Error Proofing
This project involved error proofing for a radiator sub-assembly for an automotive assembly plant. The assembly was done on racks suspended from an overhead chain conveyor.
The parts were assigned a sequential build identification number, which needed to be scanned with a barcode scanner and verified that it was not a duplicate, or out of order. This also supplied information for the build of the entire sub-assembly, including various parts, and model numbers.
Eight workstations which needed error proofing were setup around the line. These included barcode scanners, Focus Box nut drivers for torqueing, and data tracking and logging. As a carrier entered the working windows for each station, stack lamps would indicate to the operators what operations were needed to be performed. If parts were added they were scanned with a barcode scanner and the part was verified against the master build information. Nuts were tightened to specific programs, based on the model number, and required torques.
If a carrier reached the end of the window before all the work was completed, then the line would stop, an alarm would sound, and wait for the operation to be completed. Once that was done, the line would start running again.
Our solution was to install an Allen Bradley PLC with distributed IO along the conveyor. A Schneider HMI was installed, which recorded the HMI Operations and security logins.
All pertinent torque data and added part information was also recorded to a database which stored the information for the customer. This was all tied to the build identification number.
The result for the customer was dramatically less errors in the assembly, and components send to the Assembly Facility.
03 Warehouse Skid Conveyor System (SSI)
The PLC and HMI software is developed for a skid conveyor system in automatic storage automatic retrieval (AR/AS) crane system. The conveyor system interfaces with a material flow and warehouse management software.
04 Robotic Paint Line
This project involved installing a new paint line into an existing manufacturing. Three paint robots were installed on a conveyor paint line which was designed to run multiple different parts in batches.
The first robot was equipped with a dry ice cleaning spray. This was used to clean the parts of dirt and oil prior to painting. The second and third robots were painting robots, applying a base coat and top coat. Paint mixing systems supplied paint to each of the robots.
Parts were identified using a vision system at the start of the line, and they were tracked throughout the line. Specific job information was sent to each robot as the part entered the paint window. The logic was designed so that part styles could change from one rack to the next, if the paint colour remained the same.
Our solution was to program an OMRON PLC and HMI’s to run the equipment. The Yaskawa Robots interfaced with the PLC to receive the job information for line tracking.
The result is that the paint line increased production capacity in the facility. The line runs multiple shifts and has a very low scrap rate.
05 Enclosure Welding/Grinding Line
This project required a robotic welding and grinding application to produce electrical enclosures. These boxes ranged in size from 12x12x4” up to 36x72x24”, and had to be able to change on the fly from one size to another, with no tool changeover. Batch processing was not guaranteed.
Our mechanical partner designed the equipment to use multi-axis servo stations to handle the adjustment of all the tooling to accommodate the various sizes. Several stations were designed to weld the seams of the enclosures, the lip of the enclosures, grind the seams, and install standoff studs in the back of the enclosure (for the inner panel).
A large amount of data was generated and supplied from Engineering for each enclosure, including all weld information, stud position, as well as other production information. This data needed to be stored in the PLC’s and transferred as the enclosure moved down the line.
Our solution was to install Allen Bradley PLC’s and HMI which communicated via Ethernet. Yaskawa servo’s were used throughout the line, totalling 32 axis.
The line was able to produce one enclosure every 45 seconds with one Operator, which was the requirement for the project. When the enclosure exits the line, another Operator inspects the weld and grind, and performs any touch-ups that may be needed. This reduced the end of line Operators by five, who were moved to other operations within the facility.