When manufacturing vehicles, one of the most important stages of the process is end-of-line (EOL) testing. With the help of EOL testing equipment, automotive manufacturers can achieve reliable quality assurance and confidently deliver high-performance vehicles to customers. Learn more about EOL testing, what it entails, and why EOL equipment is so important.
What Is End-of-Line Testing?
EOL testing occurs at the end of the assembly process before delivery, ensuring that vehicles and their components meet all applicable quality and safety standards for the industry as well as any customer-specific requirements. These inspections comprise multiple processes, including:
Increasing Importance of End-of-Line Testing
New developments in the automotive industry have made EOL testing more important than ever. One such innovation is the rise of electric vehicles (EVs). Using battery pack end-of-line testing equipment, for example, manufacturers can ensure that their EV batteries are both dependable and safe for vehicle use. EOL testing can check several EV components, from control systems to motors.
Automotive systems have also become increasingly complex in their designs, with enhancements like infotainment and driver-assistance systems (ADAS) requiring additional testing to confirm their functionality. Using state-of-the-art EOL test systems, manufacturers can evaluate the compatibility and successful integration of these and other technological advancements within their vehicles.
In addition, many automotive regulations have tightened their standards, requiring manufacturers to take sufficient measures to maintain compliance. The right EOL testing equipment can help you avoid problems ranging in severity from warranty claims to vehicle and passenger safety issues and resulting automotive recalls.
Automated End-of-Line Testing Solutions
Automating EOL testing processes has become a necessity as manufacturers seek to optimize operational efficiency and productivity without sacrificing test accuracy. Automated testing equipment enables shorter overall testing cycles while eliminating the need for human intervention, resulting in lower labor costs, reduced risk of human error, and improved productivity.
To realize the testing benefits of end-of-line automation equipment within your production line, Advanced Manufacturing Development (AMD) Inc. can help. We have extensive experience in automotive assembly and parts testing solutions. Using AMD’s EOL testing equipment allows you to compare testing results to a part’s set criteria to make sure it falls within acceptable tolerances and specifications. If not, you have the opportunity to replace or rework the part before a customer receives your finished product, ensuring safer vehicles and a positive customer experience.
Among our custom testing station options, we’ve developed camera-equipped vision systems that can identify anything from the presence of the correct parts within an assembly to a weld’s mechanical resistance. Using our technologies, you’ll even be able to differentiate components based on subtle differences that the human eye might struggle to detect, such as headrests of real versus synthetic leather material. Additionally, our testing stations can evaluate for:
The “noise” that components produce regardless of amplitude or frequency
The force required to activate a button
The synchronization of central console compartment doors
You can also conduct functional testing for electronic boards and various mechanisms on a vehicle.
Learn More About Testing Equipment for the Auto Industry
High-quality automated end-of-line testing equipment facilitates effective testing for automotive parts and vehicles. AMD specializes in custom standalone and integrated testing stations, which we’ll design and build based on your unique needs and precise specifications. Our EOL equipment will help you automate testing processes for highly efficient evaluations that minimize the risk of human error and out-of-spec components.
To best support your company’s goals for quality assurance, we also offer in-line testing equipment as well as a range of assembly stations and manufacturing machinery. Contact us to learn more about our equipment solutions for the automotive market, or request a quote today for custom EOL testing stations and more.
Robotic cells are highly advanced systems programmed to carry out a specific task or multiple tasks. They are commonly integrated into various manufacturing operations to boost efficiency, enhance product quality, and improve employee safety via automation. Here, we’ll explore robotic cells and their role in manufacturing electronics and auto parts. For more information on this topic, please download our eBook.
What Is a Robotic Cell?
A robotic manufacturing cell is an automated work system consisting of one or several programmable robots. Sometimes called robot cells or robotized cells, these systems are used to perform specific functions at various points in the manufacturing process.
Typically, robotic cells are composed of the following primary components:
Depending on your unique needs, system integrators can design the most effective robot cell that enhances safety and makes the most of available space. By integrating these systems into your electronics and auto part manufacturing processes, you can optimize and speed up operations.
Robotic Cells in Electronics Manufacturing
The electronics manufacturing industry is a rapidly advancing sector that relies on the latest production technologies to meet demands for faster, smaller, and more sophisticated devices. Robotic cells are ideal for helping manufacturers meet these demands, offering benefits such as:
Ease of Integration. Modern robotics systems are easy to program, integrate, and deploy. Robotic cells can meet the unique needs of the electronics industry – for example, they can be designed with secondary decoders to achieve the required precision and accuracy.
Improved Reliability. Robots offer incredible reliability, with many offering a mean time between failure (MTBF) of over 62,000 hours. Although robotic cells may include several sensors, machines, and other devices that have higher error rates than the actual robot itself, the overall system is typically far less complicated than other automation solutions.
Robotic Cells in Auto Parts Manufacturing Operations
Robotic cells are ideal for carrying out various tasks in the auto parts manufacturing industry, including:
Welding. Robots with extended reach and high payload can manipulate and weld large components like frames and body panels. Small robots with shorter arms can weld brackets, handle mounts, and other subassemblies.
Assembly. A robotic assembly cell can perform complex and laborious processes, such as motor and pump construction, windshield installation, wheel mounting, and screw driving.
Machine Tending. Robotic systems can be programmed to perform machine tending tasks, including loading components into CNC machines and removing finishing moldings from injection molding equipment.
Material Removal. Programmable robots can perform various repetitive material removal tasks, such as flash trimming, mold polishing, and fabric cutting.
Part Transfer. Robotic cells can perform labor-intensive and unsafe tasks, including moving heavy or hot components throughout a manufacturing facility.
Download Our eBook on Robotic Cells for Manufacturing Electronics & Auto Parts
Robotic cells offer several advantages for electronics and auto part manufacturing, including improved worker safety, enhanced productivity, and better product quality. At AMD, our highly experienced team of robotics experts can design custom robotic cells capable of handling both simple and complex manufacturing tasks.
For more information about the many benefits, features, and applications of robotic cells within electronics and auto part manufacturing operations, download our eBook. You can also request a quote to get started on your custom robotic cell solution.
Vision inspection systems incorporate automation, cameras, and sensors to speedily and reliably assist with process monitoring and product inspections in various applications. By integrating such systems into your production and assembly lines, it’s easier to ensure and maintain quality across your operation.
What Are Vision Inspection Systems?
Vision inspection systems rely on a combination of cutting-edge software, and vision systems to inspect goods during processing and production. They incorporate visual inspection automation technology and sometimes robotics to enhance tracking capabilities and quality assurance.
These systems have widespread applications, including but not limited to:
All-in-one smart cameras
High-speed controllers for 2D, 3D, and line scan camera systems
AI- and rule-based vision tools
Lighting, lenses, and peripheral systems for basic optimal image generation
Standard and laser microscopes
Safety laser controllers and scanners
Photoelectric, laser, and fiber optic sensors
Product and part marking and coding
As manufacturing and assembly operations become increasingly complex, dependable vision system inspections are becoming essential to effectively monitor and evaluate quality, trace and serialize products, and more.
Pros and Cons of Vision Inspection Systems
Vision inspection systems come with benefits and disadvantages, outlined below to help you determine if these systems are right for your application and operation.
Some of the advantages of using vision inspection systems include:
Optimized Efficiency: Automated inspections increase efficiency by replacing manual processes, allowing for faster inspections that still reliably ensure high-quality output throughout the production process.
Minimized Risk of Human Error: For successful manual inspection processes, a trained professional or team must perform the evaluations repeatedly, with an increased chance of missing damaged or flawed products as compared to cameras and sensors. Automated vision inspection systems optimize consistency and accuracy with minimal human intervention, maintaining better quality and keeping customers happy with defect-free products.
Cost Savings: Using camera systems for early defect detection will all but eliminate the need for later product rework and help prevent potential recalls. As a result, you benefit from considerable cost reductions in labor and materials over time, all while protecting your brand’s reputation.
Process Versatility: It’s easy to repurpose vision inspection systems for different applications and products, allowing for maximum versatility across your production or assembly line.
Increased Precision: Using advanced vision systems can allow stations to automatically perform critical measurements down to +/- 0.025mm, inspect for perpendicularity using coaxial lights and other inspections that a human just can perform.
While vision inspection systems offer numerous benefits, they also come with certain downsides to consider, such as:
Higher Upfront Costs: A vision system for quality inspections may result in lower long-term costs, but their initial costs tend to be considerably higher than those of a standard sensor. While such sensors can cost between $1,000 to $1,500 on average, expect to pay several thousand dollars or even tens of thousands for a full vision inspection system solution.
Need for Specialized Knowledge: The complexity of these systems makes them harder to install and maintain, requiring experts to carry out system integrations and repairs. This, too, can result in higher costs. Gaining an in-depth understanding of the breadth of the system’s capabilities can also be challenging. New technologies have lowered the requirements for specialized knowledge as programs have become more user friendly.
Potential Technical Issues: Environmental elements like dust or related debris, inadequate lighting, or even inconsistent conditions within your facility can negatively impact sensors, reducing inspection accuracy.
Incompatibility with Non-Reflective Product Surfaces: Sensors and cameras may have a difficult time measuring plastic parts or components with opaque or black coloring due to the lack of light reflectivity on their surfaces.
Difficulty Selecting Equipment: There are many brands out there to choose from, which can make it difficult to find the right solution for your unique application. Also, some camera brands will sometimes try to upsell their latest products which can lead to applications that use much more expensive equipment than needed.
Vision Inspection Systems From AMD
For high-quality vision inspection systems, Advanced Manufacturing Development (AMD) has the expertise and resources necessary to design and implement customized systems that maximize quality throughout your production line. We integrate state-of-the-art testing technology in our systems, including precision cameras and sensors that enable comprehensive quality inspections for virtually every process and part.
Our automated testing stations and systems will first identify the presence of each part. Then, in addition to checking for flaws or defective components, you can also use these systems to monitor for proper part orientation, color, and surface finish; confirm proper assembly; and accurately evaluate component form and dimensions. Using these vision solutions, you can measure the amount of glue, lubricants, sealants, and other such substances applied to a part, as well.
Let AMD Create a Vision Inspection System for Your Needs
Looking to implement a high-performance vision inspection system? AMD is here to help. We specialize in high-quality, custom automation solutions, including vision inspection systems that incorporate state-of-the-art technology. To learn more about our offerings and capabilities, contact us today, or begin your next project by requesting a quote.
Leak testing is a key quality control measure that ensures parts and assemblies meet their operational requirements. In the automotive sector, it verifies the safety and reliability of components and their production processes. Automotive component performance is critical, and vehicle manufacturers must choose suitable leak-testing methods to avoid safety issues, product recalls, warranty claims, and customer complaints.
What Is Leak Testing?
Leak testing is the quality control process that checks for liquid or gas leaks in manufactured parts. It’s a non-destructive testing method, as the tests won’t damage or alter the object under inspection. Leak testing encompasses various detection methods, giving you multiple options to choose from depending on the specific component or assembly you’re evaluating.
Also, the testing process ensures more than just product quality. By checking for leaks during production, you can also identify and address any problems within the manufacturing process itself that might be leading to quality issues. The testing process helps improve production efficiency and reliability, leads to quality end products, and reduces waste and rework.
Why Leak Testing Is Critical for Automotive Component Manufacturing and Assembly
The automotive sector is among the primary industries that rely on leak testing. Vehicles are made up of complex systems containing different types of fluids, some under pressure, that are very close to components that can be damaged if even a very small leak is present. EVs in particular require strict testing requirements as they have components like batteries and motors that can pose a danger to passengers if damaged.
Leaks within a single part affect the performance and safety of vehicles. At best, leaking parts will significantly impact the performance of your vehicle, reduce fuel efficiency, and increase emissions. At worst, a leaky component can prove disastrous, resulting in complete system shutdown, battery fires, and hazardous situations for drivers.
Differences Between EV and Internal Combustion Engine Leak Testing
EV designs don’t include a number of the components that vehicles with internal combustion engines have, like fuel lines and injection systems. In EVs, your focus for leak detection is on break fluids, water tanks, and AC fluids as such leaks will lead to damage in EV batteries.
Manufacturers will sometimes test their components to three times their maximum rated pressure to ensure nothing has the possibility to leak under even the most demanding operating conditions. Using tested, high-quality parts helps prevent short circuits as well as car fires and explosions, as EVs are extremely sensitive to leaks compared to internal combustion engine systems.
What Auto Components Require Leak Testing?
To ensure leak-tight parts and system or assembly connections, automakers employ leak testing for the following:
Chassis and Powertrains: This automotive component category encompasses anything from transmission systems and engine blocks to wheels and drive axles. It also covers powertrain oil and water circuits, as well as electrical components like vehicle lights and electronic control components.
Safety Components: Parts like airbag ignitors, brake lines, and fluid reservoirs all require leak testing to ensure optimal safety in a vehicle’s performance.
Cooling Devices: Heat exchangers, radiators, AC hoses, condensers, and compressors should all undergo leak testing to ensure proper functionality.
Batteries: A lithium-ion battery is an example of an EV component that benefits from leak testing.
Fuel Systems: Systems like injection systems and fuel vapor management systems should receive leak testing, as should components like fuel lines, filters, pumps, and tanks.
Completed Assemblies: In addition to the above systems and components, some final circuits that require leak testing include engine water and e-battery cooling circuits.
Other components that benefit from leak testing include but are not limited to water tanks, internal combustion motor parts, shock absorbers, headlights, and other automotive parts exposed to rain and humidity.
What Leak Test Methods Are Common in Automotive Component Assembly?
Different testing techniques are available to accommodate the wide array of components that require testing. They determine if a component has a leak and if its seal will hold at a predetermined pressure level. Some common leak test methods include:
Helium Leak Test: This highly accurate test pressurizes a component with helium, which acts as the tracer gas, and then a sniffer probe scans for leaks. It’s effective at finding even small leakages.
Pressure Decay Leak Detection: In the open air, pressure decay testing seals a component’s openings prior to pressurizing it inside. After stabilizing, you then monitor the internal pressure to detect decay.
Vacuum Decay Leak Detection: Alternatively, a vacuum decay test monitors for pressure buildup occurring after lowering pressure levels and introducing a test medium.
Flow Test: By bringing the air within the tested volume to constant pressure, you can identify that there’s a leak in a part should you need to add additional air to maintain pressure.
Ultrasonic Testing: This inspection technique utilizes sound waves to indicate that a leak exists as well as pinpoint its location
Automated Leak Testing Solutions From AMD
Leaks, no matter how small, can significantly affect the reliability, effectiveness, and safety of an automotive component. At Advanced Manufacturing Development (AMD), we offer a range of automotive testing solutions. Based on your specific application, our team will assist you in selecting the optimal automated testing station and equipment as well as the right testing technique to assure optimal performance and quality in your products. Contact our team for more information, or request a quote today.
For leaders in EV motor manufacturing, testing electric motor rotors and stators is a minimum industry requirement. Only comprehensive testing protocols, backed by automated processes, can consistently reduce motor failure rates, enhance efficiency, and improve traceability. By testing electric motor rotors and stators during manufacturing, companies can detect and isolate defects before motor assembly.
Learn more about the types of rotor and stator tests, as well as our testing capabilities.
Types of Rotor and Stator Tests
Once rotors and stators are welded or joined together, they must be inspected to ensure compliance with manufacturing specifications. Stator and rotor tests examine the components’ physical and electronic characteristics so that there are no issues when the motor is assembled. These tests are required by the machine manufacturers, and only once the components pass the tests can the motor be assembled.
Rotor and stator tests inspect the following:
Presence of debris
Surface of the components (making sure there is no damage to the surface of the components)
Benefits of Rotor and Stator Tests
Stator and rotor quality assurance testing standards are higher than any other testing standards in EV manufacturing. AMD can deliver faster rotor and stator testing due to our experience working with several prominent manufacturers in the field. Our machines can also provide assembly of rotors and stators, so we can offer a full solution to clients in both the U.S. and Mexico.
AMD’s advanced automated solutions increase product quality and production volumes for lamination companies that manufacture rotors and stator cores. Our vertically integrated facility enables us to create new automation lines from scratch in as little as 30 weeks. AMD’s engineers can provide local in-person machine support for companies in the U.S. and Mexico.
Using both gauges and vision systems while applying force, we can test stacks once they leave the press. Our testing services check for height, parallelism, concentricity, perpendicularity, current, surface damage, and debris. AMD also offers preparations for final motor assembly, such as:
Stator and rotor assembly
Housing and cover assembly
Learn More About Rotor and Stator Tests
Testing rotors and stators during manufacturing is vital to producing high-quality electric motors. AMD is your partner for assembly and inspection automation for stators and rotors. We’ve helped countless companies successfully automate their manufacturing lines to cost-effectively scale production in their industry.
Automated assembly lines have revolutionized manufacturing processes across various industries, offering increased efficiency, precision, and productivity. To create a highly customized and efficient automated assembly line, you need to carefully select the equipment that suits your specific requirements.
In this blog, we will explore the key components of an automated assembly line and discuss different brand alternatives for each section. These components include Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs), sensors, vision systems, pneumatic and hydraulic systems, robots, feeding systems, and servo presses.
Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs)
PLCs are the brains behind an automated assembly line, responsible for coordinating all the operations. They control the machines, conveyors, and other equipment to ensure seamless production. When choosing a PLC, you have several reputable options, including:
Siemens: Known for their reliability and advanced features, Siemens PLCs are widely used in industrial automation. This is a great alternative that offers great service across the U.S. and Mexico, with competitive pricing and better lead times.
Allen-Bradley (AB): Another industry giant, Allen-Bradley offers a range of PLCs suitable for various applications. During the pandemic, they were heavily impacted by supply chain issues, and getting hold of some of their equipment could mean waiting close to one year. They have fixed some of their issues and lead times are much better now. If you are planning on using them, be aware of their lead times.
Omron: Omron PLCs are favored for their user-friendly programming and robust performance. They are increasingly becoming a second choice when AB or Siemens is not available. They are a relatively newer brand and will take some years to become as popular as other established players.
There are many PLC brands, and they all can deliver great functionality. The key is to choose a brand that offers great support in your location and matches your internal capabilities.
Sensors play a crucial role in detecting and monitoring various aspects of the assembly process. Depending on your requirements, you can choose from brands such as:
Keyence: Keyence offers a comprehensive range of sensors, including photoelectric, proximity, and vision sensors, all known for their accuracy. We personally love working with Keyence. They offer great customer service and are our first choice when it comes to developing a new application. Their cameras are great, too.
Sick: Sick sensors are recognized for their durability and reliability in harsh industrial environments.
Banner Engineering: Banner Engineering provides a variety of sensors, including ultrasonic and laser sensors, designed for precise measurements.
When it comes to choosing the right brand, it’s key to look for the brand with the best engineers who will offer support when developing an application or trying to fix your current system.
Vision systems are essential for quality control and inspection tasks on the assembly line. There are several brands that offer vision systems. But when it comes to the best performance and service, only two come to mind:
Cognex: Cognex is a leader in machine vision systems, offering high-resolution cameras and software for defect detection and identification.
Keyence: Keyence also provides advanced vision systems that integrate seamlessly with their sensors and automation equipment.
These systems offer very robust applications, and each has its own advantages and disadvantages. We recommend you reach out to both companies and compare their proposals. In the end, it comes down to the engineers that will support your location.
Pneumatic and Hydraulic Systems
Pneumatic and hydraulic systems are critical for controlling the movement of components and tools. Brands to consider for these systems include:
Festo: Festo is a leading manufacturer of pneumatic and hydraulic components, known for innovation and efficiency. They are a great choice when it comes to standard applications. There are some brands that offer incredible solutions that can cost 10x more. You can think of Fest as the no-frills, reliable solution.
Parker Hannifin: Parker Hannifin offers a wide range of pneumatic and hydraulic solutions suitable for industrial automation. They are incredibly popular and have been doing pneumatic and hydraulic systems for years. You can’t go wrong with them. We would recommend you reach out to your local rep and have them take a look at your application.
SMC Corporation: SMC is known for its high-quality pneumatic products and comprehensive automation solutions. Similarly to Fest, you can think of SMC as the no-frills and reliable solution. We love working with them as they offer great learning opportunities for our engineers. Every few weeks they come to our facility, showcase their products and any new developments, talk to our engineers regarding current projects, and recommend products.
Industrial robots are increasingly integrated into automated assembly lines. Some top robot manufacturers include:
Fanuc: Fanuc is a global leader in industrial robots, providing a wide range of robotic solutions for manufacturing. They are very popular in the U.S. due to their service and incredible capabilities. Choosing a robot brand has more to do with the brand representatives who are close to you and the financial conditions that they offer.
ABB Robotics: ABB Robotics offers flexible and efficient robotic systems suitable for various applications. They are our favorite brand to work with and we have developed a very close relationship with them throughout the years. We have experience working with several robot brands, and we consistently choose ABB robots when we need to move heavy items fast!
Universal Robots: Universal Robots specializes in collaborative robots (cobots) designed to work alongside humans safely. They have become a household name and are an increasingly popular choice for new applications. Our only concern with them is that engineers tend to overuse them. They are reliable but can run into limitations when the application requires the robot to perform complex tasks like moving a large amount of weight very fast and with great precision. If your application is simple, they are a great choice!
Keep in mind that we left out many robots that are used across the industry. Other great brands are IAI, Epson (both IAI and Epson are our top choices when it comes to very fast robots), Yaskawa, and many others. We have worked with pretty much all of them, and they all offer great, reliable products.
We rely exclusively on third parties to provide our feeding systems. These companies ensure a reliable supply of components to the assembly line. Feeding systems are a component that is traditionally overlooked by many novice engineers, but you can’t imagine the problems that can come when you have problems with the feeding system. We recommend reaching out to a U.S.-based manufacturer of feeding systems and having a detailed understanding of their capabilities and limitations before purchasing a piece of equipment. There are many cheap solutions available, but please don’t let money be the driving factor for your destination—it could bring you problems down the road.
We have been working with the same company for more than 20 years, and they are great! We won’t disclose their name as we consider them a trade secret (but if you really want their name, just send us an email and we would be more than happy to introduce you).
Servo presses are used for precise and controlled assembly and fastening processes. Some notable servo press manufacturers are:
Promess: Promess specializes in electro-mechanical servo presses designed for force and position control. Insider tip—the company is divided into two separate entities, so there are two independent sites you can visit: the German site and the American site. Make sure you are always contacting the German team, as they have pretty much the same equipment but at a substantial discount.
Pressotechnik: Pressotechnik provides advanced servo presses for various assembly and joining applications.
Contact AMD for More on Choosing the Right Equipment
Creating a customized automated assembly line requires careful consideration of the equipment and components you select. Each brand mentioned in this blog has its strengths and may be better suited to specific applications or industries. It’s essential to evaluate your production needs, budget, and long-term goals to make informed decisions when choosing equipment for your automated assembly line. By selecting the right equipment and brands, you can maximize efficiency and productivity while ensuring the highest quality of your manufactured products.
In order to succeed, manufacturers across all industries must work diligently to overcome the challenges of today’s highly competitive market. One of the best ways to stay competitive and optimize manufacturing processes is to build manufacturing resiliency. By doing so, your business will be better equipped to manage any disruptions and scale operations to keep up with growing demand.
What Is Resilient Manufacturing?
Resilient manufacturing refers to businesses’ ability to maintain critical functionalities, manage stress, and adapt to changing circumstances. Resilience is not just about surviving during challenging times, but is more about developing improved processes and operations to ensure your business thrives in the long term.
By implementing automation for your assembly and testing you can better meet customer needs under changing circumstances while opening up new business opportunities.
Why Is Resilient Manufacturing Important?
Rather than managing only simple and localized issues, manufacturers are now facing more complex and global challenges. These issues can include:
Supply chain disruption
Changes in demand or customer expectations
A lack of critical resources
Being resilient means that your business is capable of bouncing back from these types of disruptions. For instance, having a resilient supply chain will enable you to identify risks and mitigate their effects without negatively impacting operations or revenue. In fact, you may be able to convert disruptions into lucrative business opportunities through the integration of resilient supply chain processes and management.
With the help of manufacturing resiliency, businesses have the ability to gain market share over their competitors, resulting in boosted customer satisfaction and retention, improved brand reputation and image, and increased overall revenues.
How Can You Make Your Manufacturing More Resilient?
If you want to make your business’s manufacturing more resilient, there are various steps you can take, including:
Leveraging Technology and Automation. One key way to make your operations more resilient is to continue adopting the latest technology and incorporate automated manufacturing solutions.
Nearshoring. Rather than outsourcing your manufacturing processes overseas, move your operations closer to home. Nearshoring your manufacturing operations comes with multiple benefits, such as reduced labor expenses, improved lead times, lower costs of insurance and freight, and many more.
For additional information about how to facilitate resilient manufacturing for your business, download our eBook. You’ll learn all about the steps you can take to increase your manufacturing resiliency with our in-depth guide.
Build Your Manufacturing Resilience With AMD
Resilient manufacturing is key to keeping ahead of your competitors and ensuring you can adapt to changing industrial and global circumstances. Want to know more about how resilient manufacturing can help your business and how you can build your resilience with the help of AMD? Contact us today with any questions or request a quote for our solutions.
Automated assembly lines use a variety of machines to control the processing and movement of materials. By fully automating an assembly line, manufacturers can produce a higher volume of products quicker with less human error, enhanced precision, and increased efficiency. Here, we’ll dive into the various components and benefits of a fully automated assembly line, as well as how it differs from semi-automated assembly lines.
Components of a Fully Automated Assembly Line
Fully automated assembly lines run with minimal human intervention, using automated feeding equipment and conveyor systems to feed or load parts into the machine. Once loaded, the part moves through various stations where different types of stations carry out the necessary manufacturing steps based on preprogrammed instructions. Common components of a fully automated assembly line include:
Robotics. Robotics play a fundamental role in automated assembly lines. They can perform various types of repetitive manufacturing tasks, including painting, welding, assembly, and much more, with improved efficiency and reduced human error.
Conveyor Systems. These systems are used to move products and materials between workstations.
Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs). These robots transport materials and products throughout a plant or warehouse environment, reducing the need for human workers to move heavy loads.
Testing. Automated testing stations carry out the required tests to ensure a product meets predetermined criteria and adheres to the necessary standards.
Marking and Traceability. These stations add crucial information, such as lot and batch numbers, to products to aid in traceability, quality assurance, and regulatory compliance.
Packaging. Typically the final step in an assembly line, packaging robots can be programmed to pack individual products in various positions on trays, boxes, or pallets.
Assembly. Robots are not always the ideal solution; non-robot assembly stations can perform assembly steps when convenient.
Benefits of a Fully Automated Assembly Line
Fully automated assembly lines offer the following benefits:
Increased Productivity. Automation boosts productivity by increasing production speed, eliminating human error, and reducing manual labor.
Consistency. Automation can carry out tasks with optimal consistency and accuracy, ensuring the same level of quality for each part.
Cost-effectiveness. Automated machinery can perform repeated tasks 24/7 with fewer errors and little human intervention. This lowers labor costs as well as costs associated with wasted materials and reworking.
Safety. Automation enhances safety by eliminating the need for human workers to perform repetitive or dangerous tasks.
Improved Quality Control. Automated systems can include sensors and other inspection technologies to check for part defects and other errors. This results in less waste and improved product quality.
Improved Use of Resources and Time. Automation allows human workers to focus on more complex tasks, enhancing overall production efficiency.
Improved Customer Satisfaction. Because automated assembly lines offer higher speeds and enhanced precision, customers will receive products on time and with consistent quality.
Semi-Automatic Assembly Lines and How They Compare
While fully automated assembly lines use machines and robots to perform all manufacturing tasks, semi-automatic assembly lines combine machinery with human labor. This type of automation solution is well-suited for low-volume production lines that require a higher degree of flexibility and customization. Although semi-automated systems still incorporate various automated aspects, they require human intervention for loading/unloading materials, performing quality checks, and monitoring production processes.
Depending on your particular needs, semi-automated assembly lines may be a better solution, offering various benefits, such as:
Faster implementation times
Lower capital costs
Can solve bottleneck issues
Automate Your Assembly Line With Help From AMD
Whether you choose a fully-automated or semi-automated production line, automation can help to boost productivity, increase quality, and reduce human error. At AMD, we specialize in custom-built assembly line automation solutions. With expertise in manufacturing, engineering, and system integration, we can deliver quality automation solutions that meet your unique requirements.
The experts at AMD can visit your facility to help you determine which automation option is the best fit for your operation. Contact us or request a quote today to schedule a visit.
Integrating automated manufacturing equipment into your facility requires a well-developed customer service process that covers you from purchase to implementation and after-sale maintenance. To ensure the success of your automated production project, there are several key components that you should look for in a partner. In addition to maintaining close relationships between engineers and customers, your automated production partner should communicate effectively, collaborate with customers, and offer thorough testing to ensure quality and performance.
Close Relationship Between Engineers and the Customer
The engineer and customer relationship is crucial to implementing an automated production line successfully. This success stems from the engineer’s capacity to address the client’s challenges and meet their production line needs reliably and efficiently. AMD’s engineers collaborate with the customer and make a substantial effort to understand the client’s budget, production objectives, and expectations to successfully establish a relationship.
Our engineers share their design guidance and technical expertise to deliver solutions that align with the client’s constraints, priorities, and expectations at a cost-effective price. We make sure the project adheres to the client’s expectations by providing consistent updates as the project develops. Before a production of a new machine begins, customers have to approve a fully designed machine so it meets all the customers expectations.
Communication is vital for clarifying the client’s preferences and requirements. Miscommunications can result in misunderstandings and a solution that fails to meet the customer’s requirements. At AMD, we rely on seamless communication to create a custom automated production line that adheres to our client’s specifications. We work with a single-point-of-contact approach where the lead engineer will oversee the project all the way from concept to runoff at your facility and he will be responsible for all the communication with the customer.
AMD works closely with customers to understand the fine details and meet their objectives and goals. Our consistent communication keeps the client informed of the project’s progress and potential challenges during the implementation process. This also allows us to get valuable feedback from our customers, which can be used to make the necessary adjustments and improvements to their automated production line.
When AMD collaborates with customers, we are able to deliver the most successful projects. We collaborate with customers throughout the entire project, from machine design to post-installation repair and part replacement services.
Collaboration is vital to successfully implementing automated production lines and requires consistent communication and coordination between people, processes, and components involved in production. This level of collaboration ensures the production line is profitable, productive, efficient, and safe.
Successful testing is critical to ensuring the automated production line will meet the client’s expectations. Our in-house equipment testing capabilities offer the following benefits:
Machine Debugging: We evaluate the machine’s performance under each possible scenario to ensure everything remains functional and in place. We run the machine for several hours, ensuring we can overcome each potential challenge.
Optimize Efficiency: We can identify inefficiencies, malfunctions, and bottlenecks through testing to optimize efficiency and throughput while reducing the production line’s potential downtime.
Quality Assurance: Our testing ensures proper calibration of the machine to produce consistent results within the client’s specifications. This helps to minimize defects and provide high levels of quality.
Customer Specific Guidelines: We accommodate any testing procedure required by the client.
Automation Equipment From Advanced Manufacturing Development
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Leak testing processes ensure the high-quality, consistent performance of products that need to provide a reliable seal at a set pressure level. However, there are many different types of leak tests, such as helium leak tests, mass extraction tests, and more. At AMD, we provide automation and manufacturing solutions for a wide variety of components and industries. Keep reading to learn more about the value of leak testing for production cycles and to identify the type of leak testing that best fits your company’s needs.
Types of Leak Testing Technology
There are eight major types of leak testing that your facility can use to ensure the integrity of products. They are:
Air Leak Testing With a Micro-Flow Sensor at Pressure Conditions
This leak test measures and replenishes lost air from products under test conditions. The test uses an integrated microsensor that can replace emitted or leaked air within a part or assembly so the test product stays under consistent pressure conditions. This helps measure the rate of air leakage.
Air Leak Testing With Mass Extraction (Vacuum Conditions)
Rather than holding the test product under standard environmental conditions, this test holds the product under vacuum conditions to identify and measure any leaks. The vacuum conditions make the test more sensitive and informative. It also uses a Micro-Flow sensor.
Helium Leak Detection
This test relies on a tracer gas that a field mass spectrometer can easily measure. A popular tracer gas is helium, as spectrometer units set to 4 amu can detect ionized helium to measure the severity of any leaks.
Rather than measuring trace gases or direct air leaks, ultrasonic testing processes involve identifying any sound waves that indicate the presence of a leak. Leak sources generate ultrasonic signals that technology can use to uncover the location of the leak.
Leaks cause temperature fluctuations when the body of the product, the internal fluid, and the surrounding environment have different temperatures. As a result, manufacturers can use thermal imaging via infrared cameras to detect the presence and location of any potential leaks in a test product.
Tracer Gas Detection
Tracer gas detection is a broader category of testing that includes helium leak detection. In these processes, helium, hydrogen, or another tracer gas, is used to find potential leaks. The gas moves throughout the test product and concentrates near the leak. Testers can then use technology to sense those concentrations and uncover leaks. This type of testing process is often used in plumbing, refrigeration, and HVAC systems.
Dye Penetrant Testing
For welds or joints that may have a leak, testers can apply a dye-penetrant substance to the area. Any leaks will draw the dye into the gap or defect, allowing testers to inspect the area and see the displaced dye under specific lights.
Acoustic Emission Testing
Similar to ultrasonic testing, acoustic emission testing uses sound waves to uncover the presence of potential leaks. Leaks can output acoustic signals and stress waves, which technology can then pinpoint.
Understanding Your Application
Leak testing is a vital process in many different industries. As a result, each industry or specific product may be subject to different testing requirements. These industrial regulations may guide the type of testing required, the quality control standards which must be met, and the maximum allowable leakage. Some industry-specific considerations include:
Aerospace and Automotive: Some parts that often undergo leak testing include air conditioning systems, brakes, power train systems, heat exchangers, welded systems, and machined castings.
Medical: Medical devices and implants, single-use disposal technologies like catheters, and laboratory equipment often undergo leak testing.
Pharmaceuticals: Packages like vials must also be tested for leaks, as any potential leak is just as likely to allow microbial contaminants in as it is to allow pharmaceutical goods to leak out. Packages undergo helium leak detection tests to measure them against maximum allowable leak levels (MALLs).
Consumer Electronics and Utilities: These products or systems are tested to ensure minimal risk of water contamination.
Factors to Consider
Because different products and applications require different types of tests, it’s important to select the right leak detection process for your company’s unique production or service needs. Consider the following:
Leak test conditions: Different products must have or cannot have different pressurized leak conditions, either outside or inside the product.
Environmental factors: The test environment will affect the viability of different tests.
Cost: More complex tests are often more expensive than simple tests that can be done under diverse environmental conditions. Consider both the cost of the materials and/or service and the cost of preparing for the test.
Throughput and cycle times: The speed of each test matters, especially if every part must be individually tested.
Learn More With AMD
At AMD, we’re here to help guide your leak detection test equipment selection to ensure you have the right tools and resources. Contact us today to learn more about our different leak detection test options or request a quote to start your order.