Automated Assembly Line

/, Process Development/Automated Assembly Line

Midwest Engineered Systems has built a complete row unit assembly system for an agriculture equipment manufacturer.

 

The Challenge

Our customer contacted us to build an assembly line for a new product with world class operator ergonomics that increases assembly efficiency while delivering comprehensive quality tracking.

The goals of the project were the increase throughput with fewer operators without causing additional physical stress.

Process Development

Cycle time analysis, prebuild testing, and evaluations of various material handling techniques were reviewed. The Pros/Cons for various paths were reviewed with the customer and eventually led us to the AGVs

The Solution

After a full evaluation of the project’s challenges and goals, Midwest Engineered Systems provided the customer a complete solution, which included:

  • Jervis Webb Smart Cart AGC System- 12 smart cart system supports parts on each unit and automatically travels from station to station.  The carts adjust in height between stations based on the height of the next operator and the work zone of the assembly.  The carts are set to travel on a magnetic tape and are equipped with safety scanners. Each of these carts are also equipped with a ‘lazy susan’ like device that allows the part to be accessed from all sides without the operator moving.
    • GCI Load Balancing Manipulators
  • Atlas Copco Torque Tools
  • Schmidt Presses
  • Loading Station- Heavy part loading station with a supermarket based loading of subcomponents
  • Assembly Stations- Lift assist mechanism for torque tools with angle versus distance feedback for quality control.
  • Operator Hand Tool Stations- Programmable tool stations verify operator assembly sequence when tool is removed from cradle.
  • Part Unload Station-Quality checkpoint with large operator assist.
  • Controls System- PLC based control infrastructure controls the carts motion and path while verifying correct assembly sequence and fastener torque control for each assembly.
  • Safety Features-   operator push buttons, control system interface, safety interface, integration with AGC Smart Cart system.  Safety system engineered with factory safety coordinator reference ISO standards and Factory Mutual for the safest working environment.
  • Process Testing & Install-    All equipment was setup in the MWES facility for production trial runs and testing before installation.  Final runoff testing was conducted at the customer’s site to ensure the system met all requirements.

smart-cart-line

Impact to the Customer

The final assembly line system provided the customer with the following benefits:

  • Increased production
  • 50% labor reduction
  • Increased quality & consistency of finished product
  • MURI MUDA MURA standards for ergonomic and wasted motion implemented
  • Intuitive and logical assembly process reduces training time and process verification ensures a quality assembly every time.
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