Assembly line automation allows companies to meet high production demands by performing assembly processes without the intervention of a human operator and moving parts along automated process sequences. Due to the large variety of products that need to be assembled and the different processes each assembly involves, automated assembly machines are almost always custom designed, allowing companies to create a highly individualized solution. This selection guide will describe the most popular types of assembly automation equipment and the benefits they offer.
Choosing the Best Automated Assembly Machine for Your Application
Assembly line automation equipment can be classified into three main styles: factory, manufacturing, and robotic automation equipment.
Factory automation equipment. Factory automation machines perform general movements, such as lifting or lowering.
Manufacturing automation equipment. Manufacturing automation machines are designed to assemble a specific product and can be very fast and efficient. They usually run faster than a robotic assembly station but lack the flexibility that a robot can provide. Custom built machines are designed to run one part with a minimum number of variations. They can also perform quality control and other tasks related to general manufacturing.
Robotic automation equipment. Robotic automation equipment involves more technical machinery that can perform assembly, material handling, painting, or other more sophisticated tasks. This equipment can be very flexible; once a robot is programmed, it can switch from one product to another by simply selecting the product on a menu.
All types of assembly operations involve bringing together two or more parts to form a different product. Assembly operations that can be automated range from welding, stapling, gluing, screwing, pressing parts together, inserting, riveting, clinching, and many more operations that join components. To facilitate these operations, various types of automated assembly machines can be used, including:
Marking systems: In the current manufacturing ecosystem, traceability of assembly components is common and sometimes mandatory. Marking systems (laser marking, ink jet & micro percussion) enable manufacturers to add important pieces of information to parts to facilitate product traceability in the production line.
Testing systems: Automated testing can be performed during the assembly process or at the end of the line when the assembly is complete. All types of testing can be automated, including functional tests, dimensional inspection, detection of components, noise detection, functional tests, and many more operations that guarantee that the final assembled product meets the required quality criteria.
Leak detectionsystems: This type of automated equipment can test products after they come off the line, or it can be integrated into the production line to test products during manufacturing. In large production operations, manual sniffing, pressure decay systems, bubble checks, flow systems, or spraying can be time-consuming. Automatic leak detection solutions facilitate a much higher-detection speed with minimal operator input.
Welding Systems: Weld quality depends on two factors: weld integrity and repeatability. Automated welding systems utilize electronic weld process controllers to ensure weld integrity. These components also allow for repeatable input parameters, resulting in consistent output. For example, we can make hot plate welding machines with different welding plates in different positions that weld at the same time.
Pick-and-place robots: Pick-and-place robots grab incoming components from a feeding conveyor, vibratory bowl feeder, or tray and place them into the assembly or packaging containers.
Inspection systems: Vision systems or vision sensors inspect a component’s dimensions, color, quality, and other details without physically touching them. In-line inspections offer earlier identification of defective components and significantly reduce the usage of out-of-spec parts.
Palletizers: Using either conveyors or robotic equipment, palletizers automate the palletizing process, dramatically reducing employee injuries as well as the amount of time needed to lift and move heavy components. In manufacturing applications, robots remove products from the production line and load them onto a pallet.
Automation solutions like robotics, inspection, leak, and welding systems solve many types of production-related problems. Automated assembly machines from AMD can help you achieve a semi- or fully-automated production line that improves workplace safety while reducing manufacturing costs. We can help you create the most suitable type of assembly line automation for your business, including:
Fully automated: Fully-automated assembly lines require little to no human interaction to complete production processes. Workers simply monitor machines for issues and replenish parts as needed.
Semi-automated: Humans work alongside machines, performing tasks like loading parts into tooling and other fixtures or moving components from one automated station to the next.
Lean manufacturing automation: Manufacturers only incorporate automated solutions that add the most value into the assembly process, creating the highest ROI.
High-throughput manufacturing automation: Continuous motion technology like servo-based or mechanical cams, machine vision, and tooling are used to dramatically increase throughput speeds and reduce cycle time.
Assembly Line System Structure
To learn more about each stage in the assembly line system, hover over each section in the graphic below to reveal additional information and detailed images.
Custom Automation Equipment Solutions from AMD
As an industry leader in automation and assembly, AMD delivers state-of-the-art manufacturing solutions, including fully customized, turnkey equipment. We’ll work closely with you to ensure we deliver a custom automation solution that matches your particular requirements. Our custom automated machining offerings include:
Inspection with vision systems or vision sensors
Marking and traceability
We design, fabricate, and install everything from a complete automated assembly line to a single manual, semi-automatic machine.
Contact Our Experts for Premium Assembly Automation Equipment
At AMD, we specialize in creating innovative technology that increases your workplace safety, profitability, and production capabilities. Our engineering team will work with you to develop a customized solution that solves your application-specific challenges. If you have any questions about our automated assembly machines, contact us. To get started on your automated solution, request a quote today.
Assembly machines and robotic technology contribute significantly to the appliance manufacturing industry. They’re highly effective in smaller assembly applications, putting together household appliances like toasters, irons, or vacuum cleaners. However, for companies that manufacture high volumes of large white goods like clothes washers or refrigerators, in many cases, robots currently handle only those tasks that aren’t part of the assembly process, like stamping, machining, painting, and product testing.
As the market continues to evolve with innovations in automation technology, furthering robotics integration into the appliance industry’s assembly lines for large appliances is the logical next step. Appliance manufacturers can achieve an optimal return on their investment with faster, more accurate, and highly efficient production processes that provide the benefits of operational flexibility and decreased costs.
Appliance manufacturers have to consider automation when designing new products to make its use favorable. This concept means including features in the different components that make it easy for an automatic system to orient them and assemble them into the product, taking into account that the robot will always make the same trajectory and movements and doesn’t have the capability to make small tweaks or process modifications to force an assembly to happen. Manufacturers have to update the design of the appliance to make full use of the capabilities that an automatic system can provide instead of trying to have robots do the tasks that humans do or are good at doing.
Growing Demand for Automation in Appliance Manufacturing
After the automobile industry, the appliance manufacturing sector comes in as the second-most automated industry worldwide. From toasters to refrigerators, appliances all utilize complex electrical components that manufacturers must carefully assemble, welding them on the production line. Robotic automation allows manufacturers to achieve significant savings in appliance production time as compared to manual processes.
Boston Consulting Group Inc. (BCG) found in 2015 that robots completed a mere 10% or so of tasks in manufacturing operations. However, the same study anticipated an increase to 25% by 2025, with the largest growth projected in the appliance and electrical equipment industries. BCG reasoned that the high wages for human workers in these sectors and the abundance of tasks into which manufacturers can easily incorporate automation would hasten global robotics adoption in these fields.
Benefits of Automation in Appliance Manufacturing
In a world where automation is becoming the norm, it’s important to understand how the appliance manufacturing industry can capitalize on its benefits. Compared to manual operations, automation offers superior:
Precision. Automation allows companies to increase accuracy within their assembly applications for greater uniformity and repeatability. Robotic technology reduces or eliminates the risk of human error, producing higher-quality products for your market.
Speed. Automation increases production speeds, efficiency, and throughput without having to sacrifice quality in large appliances like refrigerators, stoves, washers, and dryers. It positions manufacturers to be successful and keep up with businesses while operating in a highly competitive market.
Flexible, scalable operations. Manufacturers can quickly adapt robotic technology to production changes, like an altered design or product modification, without necessitating a revision to the actual assembly line. Also, the enhanced productivity allows manufacturers to scale their operations as needed.
Integration capabilities. The ease with which manufacturers can incorporate turnkey automation solutions into their current operations and machinery allows them to seamlessly automate complex processes that would otherwise cost them in greater time and labor investments.
Adherence to industry/regional quality standards. Automation in appliance manufacturing boosts compliance capabilities as the equipment will assemble all appliance parts and equipment per the highest quality standards to meet industry or regional requirements.
Improvements in Automation
Robots are becoming smarter and more beneficial than ever in appliance manufacturing. BCG projected in 2015 that robotic systems’ improvements in flexibility, production speed, and related advantages would continue at a rate of approximately 5% per year. This versatile, highly networked technology is already utilizing advancements like gripping systems and vision sensors to improve and expedite processes.
While the initial investment for automated equipment has traditionally been more cost prohibitive than that of human labor, continuous innovations in information technology and robotics, along with the resulting improvements in assembly line performance and product pricing, will eventually lead to automated practices being the more cost-effective of the two. Incorporating automation now will help appliance manufacturers gain a competitive advantage before 100%-automated assembly lines become fully mainstream in the industry.
Including robots in assembly lines is one option for automation in the appliance industry, but manufacturers can automate many other processes as well, like punching or drilling holes in cabinets, clinching or riveting components, making functional testing, etc.
Contact AMD for Appliance Manufacturing Automation Solutions
Automation increases efficiency, speed, and high-quality product throughput, greatly enhancing the manufacturing process for large appliances. At Advanced Manufacturing Development (AMD), our domestic and international teams of experienced engineers and technicians can assist you in integrating automation solutions into your manufacturing lines. With a focus on design, performance, quality, and budget, we offer fully automated equipment, high-speed stations, and assembly lines capable of producing up to 100 ppm to revolutionize your operation.
Contact us today to learn more about what AMD can do to support automation solutions in your business, or request a quote to get started.
In the past, adding workers to resolve operational problems was a viable solution for many businesses, but this isn’t the case today. Instead, automation is the solution to lengthening shifts and recent struggles to find employees. With automation, companies can increase efficiency and productivity without increasing labor expenses.
When choosing the right industrial automation equipment and systems for your application, you’ll need to take several variables into consideration. Learn more about what these are below.
Assess Your Automation Equipment Needs
Automation is a part of lean manufacturing principles, which aim to create efficient and repeatable processes. When deciding on an automation system to integrate into your operations, you will need to assess your operations as a whole using value stream mapping (VSM). VSM allows you to identify and keep track of every aspect of your manufacturing operations, from staffing to material volumes to production timelines. With the help of VSM, you’ll be able to minimize waste during manufacturing, making it as efficient and lean as possible.
When selecting the right automated assembly system, your manufacturing volumes and overall budget are the main factors influencing your decision. Typically, businesses integrate an automated solution to address specific challenges regarding product configuration or distribution. Normally automation opportunities show themselves up as bottlenecks in the plant space, where raw materials or materials in process start to pile up because of an inefficient process in the assembly line.
Semi-Automated vs. Fully-Automated Systems
The two primary types of automated systems are semi-automated and fully-automated systems. Each offers unique advantages for various applications.
Semi-automated systems provide an ideal solution for applications that rely on operator involvement to some extent but still benefit from improved efficiency. It’s best to install these systems if the production volume is small or if certain assembly processes are too complex for full automation. Even when a process can not be fully automated because of the characteristics of the components or the process, incorporating technology into the assembly process helps the operator prevent mistakes due to inexperience or burnout.
If semi-automated systems aren’t sufficient, companies may install fully-automated systems. These processes are ideal if products don’t depend on operator assistance and are compatible with automated feeding. Fully-automated systems also meet the needs of operations with high production volumes. Although some may argue that manual labor is more cost-effective than total automation, these systems come with a high return on investment in the long term.
Matching Automation Needs to Solutions
Before fully integrating an automated system into your operations, you may be able to take smaller steps to start. These initiatives could help you ease into automation before you invest in more comprehensive processes.
For example, a collaborative robot or cobot can perform automated tasks alongside operators. A facility may use autonomous loaders and vehicles to simplify the transportation of materials from one area to another. A camera-equipped robotic arm could inspect parts, enabling staff who are normally responsible for inspections to focus on other tasks. Another robotic arm could assist with loading and unloading parts to and from computer numerical control (CNC) machines, while human operators can perform more complex, technical tasks.
Industrial Robot Options for Automation
Different types of industrial robots can help automate a wide range of tasks. Each task that a facility needs to automate will determine which type of end-of-arm tooling (EOAT) you will require.
Articulated Robots: These robotic systems feature multiple joints that allow for more flexibility of motion. Applications for these robots include welding, printing, material handling, packaging, metalworking, machine tending, laser cutting, tie belt application, glue application, staple application, etc. Almost any process that a human operation does now can be automated by a robot as long as the trajectory is always identical from one part to the other. Robots are not intelligent machines and will repeat exactly the same movements every time, this implies that the components have to be “automation quality” so that the variation from one part to the nex is minimal.
SCARA Robots: Selective Compliance Articulated Robot Arm (SCARA) robots include two rotary joints to perform various assembly tasks. They can move along all three axes, but they are especially well-suited for lateral movement positioning and the assembly movement being vertical from top to bottom.
Cartesian Robots: Also known as rectangular robots, Cartesian robots are less expensive than other systems and offer high levels of accuracy. They operate on the X, Y, and Z axes of the Cartesian coordinate system, allowing for vertical and horizontal motion on all three axes. Applications for these robots include drilling, 3D printing, storing, and packaging. Usually these types of robots are modular making it possible to have the X and Y axis servo controlled and the Z axis with a pneumatic cylinder or any combination of servo controlled and pneumatic movements.
Delta Robots: These systems comprise jointed parallelograms that connect to a base, allowing them to pick up items and place them precisely. Their fast and accurate motions make them ideal for use in electronics, pharmaceutical, and food manufacturing processes. These robots are the fastest types of robots being able to make movements in fractions of a second. These robots are ideally suited for assembly operations with a vertical movement from top to bottom.
Polar Robots: Also called spherical robots, polar robots consist of a linear joint and two rotary joints connected to a robotic arm. Their benefits include simple controls, efficient operations, and a long reach that make these systems suitable for many applications, including automotive parts assembly.
Robotic Work Cells: For a more efficient automation system, consider installing an all-in-one robotic work cell unit. A robotic work cell makes it easy to get your operations up and running soon after installation. Companies can customize robotic work cells based on their unique needs across a range of applications.
Contact AMD for Custom Automated Equipment Solutions
For reliable automated equipment solutions, turn to the experts at Advanced Manufacturing Development (AMD). As a leading industrial automation equipment manufacturer, we’ll help you develop a custom system based on your application’s unique requirements.
A robotic cell, also known as a robotized cell, is a group of machines set within an automatic work cell. The primary purpose of robotic cells is to maximize, accelerate, and simplify the production process so that it attains a high level of repeatability and quality.
Unlike human workers or traditional machines, robotic cells are autonomous and can consistently perform complex tasks over night, weekend, and holiday shifts without the presence of a controller. Examples of tasks include detecting leakage, assembly, welding, testing, and transferring products to their next station. The lack of human intervention streamlines production efficiency. Read on to learn why robotic cells are the future of manufacturing.
Assembly Line Efficiency: Traditional Manufacturing vs. Robotic Cells
Early automobile manufacturers such as Ford used a classic assembly line to manufacture cars. Traditional manufacturing comprised several steps performed by different workers to come up with a single product. The end products were often large and complex, but despite their complexity, they were all identical. The process relied on balanced timing from station to station, but relying on human workers led to increased wait times as workers down the line waited for their colleagues in previous stations to finish their part. This waiting resulted in labor-intensive, inefficient production.
As technology has advanced and demand for product variation increased, manufacturers have attempted to adapt their assembly lines. To accommodate differences between products, some products need more time to manufacture than others. However, this leads to decreased productivity and increased waiting time. Manufacturers—and their customers—require a more innovative solution.
Automated manufacturing is increasingly replacing traditional manufacturing. An automated assembly system still utilizes the sequential process of classic manufacturing, but automated lines have more machines and fewer human workers. This feature has greatly reduced human error, added the capability of accommodating product variation, lowered long-term production costs, and made the workplace safer.
Robotic cells can be used to handle different tasks, such as:
Pick and place
CNC machine tending
Finishing and polishing
Robotic Cells Have a Fast ROI
Although robotic cells require a significant initial cost, they offer a quick return on investment, which is a key factor when working on a tight budget. Companies can receive a full ROI within as little as a year when working with robotic cells. The cost of hiring and retaining employees to work on different parts of the manufacturing process can accrue over the years. Robotic cells significantly lower the cost of human labor, leading to increased productivity and profits. Instead, companies can hire human employees for more complex and fulfilling roles, such as engineering and programming.
Enhanced Safety in a Robotic Cell
Another great advantage of robotic cells is the safety aspect. Robotic cells have scanners, fencing, emergency stops, light curtains, and additional safeguards to ensure employee safety while working close to these machines. Robotic cells can also easily handle tasks that would otherwise be high-risk to workers, such as processes that use toxic chemicals, sharp objects, and heavy machinery.
Flexibility of Robotic Cells
Today, customers want to have personalized products. For example, when you buy a car you want to be able to choose the exterior and interior colors, sound system, etc. Conversely, traditional fixed automation is not flexible enough to handle personalized production. Robotic cells, however, offer much more flexibility when it comes to personalizing the product to a customer’s liking as well as all the benefits mentioned above. The robot’s inherent flexibility in handling a wide variety of products is also very convenient when many variations need to be handled by the same assembly line.
Needless to say, new manufacturing technologies are programmable to fit the expertise or the needs of your personnel and assembly line.
Your Partner for Your Robotic Work Cell Needs
The advantages of robotic cells far outweigh those of traditional manufacturing. At AMD, we are experts in designing and manufacturing custom robotic cells for different applications based on our customers’ unique needs. If a robotic work cell doesn’t fit your process, AMD provides manual, semi-automated, and fully-automated machines. With the help of our experienced team of robotic specialists, you can select the solution that works best for you. Contact us today or request a quote to get started on your solution.
Computer numerical control (CNC) machining is a popular manufacturing method that utilizes programmable software dictating the movement of tools or workpieces. Depending on the specific technique, CNC machining can utilize mills, grinders, lathes, drills, routers, and more.
Learn more about the features, benefits, and applications of CNC machines.
What Is a CNC Machine?
A CNC machine allows operators to create components that would be very difficult or impossible to produce manually. Every machine is made of three basic parts: a command center, a drive system, and a feedback system. CNC technology can use a set of computer prompts to create complex 3D shapes out of metal, plastics, or wood.
CNC machining removes material from a stock workpiece through a series of processes including milling, drilling, turning, and other operations. These tasks ultimately create the shapes and features of the finished product.
Benefits of CNC Machining
CNC machining comes with a variety of benefits:
Versatile capabilities: Utilizing advanced design software, CNC machines create components that cannot be replicated with manual machines. CNC machines can produce nearly any size, shape, or texture required. There are also certain machines that come with automatic tool changers or touch screens that further simplify production capabilities.
Less labor: CNC machines only require a single programmer, who can upload the required designs to multiple machines. One operator can oversee each of these machines simultaneously. Manual methods require one skilled operator per machine, plus a supervisor for the team. Lower labor costs mean you can better optimize your workflow and focus more on your customers.
High production: Design specifications and programming only need to be entered once, and the CNC machine can produce high quantities of goods. High production rates allow you to scale your business more efficiently.
High precision: CNC machines produce consistent precision. Their computerized nature allows them to eliminate the risk of human error and achieve tolerances as tight as +/- 0.001 inch.
Reliability: CNC machines can work all day, every day, including weekends and holidays. The only downtime necessary is for maintenance or repair.
Design repeatability: After the initial set of specifications has been entered and the ideal prototype created, the CNC program can repeatedly retrieve the same design and create the product again. This master file will be accessible from that point on, regardless of operator changes or other external factors.
Uniformity: With conventional machining, even the most capable engineers will produce slightly varying components. CNC machining produces parts exactly alike every time.
Cost savings: The combination of specialization, precision, and speed equals significant savings for your company. The lower costs can be returned to the company to build your competitive advantage.
Higher safety: CNC machines are far safer than conventional machines, where human workers are close to sharp cutting tools and other moving parts. CNC machining enables them to keep a safe distance from the production process.
Low maintenance: G-code CNC software automatically updates itself as needed. CNC machines typically don’t require much more maintenance than regularly changing cutting instruments and doing some light cleaning. These maintenance services can be performed by the operator—no need for outside professionals.
Industrial Uses of CNC Machining
CNC machines are useful for producing parts for many sectors, including:
CNC Machining Services from AMD
Advanced Manufacturing Development (AMD) has been in the part machining industry for 25 years. We manufacture around 95% of the machined parts we use, and every part goes through a quality control process that ensures proper tolerances and high quality. Our machining facility houses over 20 CNC machines, specializing in medium-sized components (64” x 32” x 30”). Our lead time is generally five to 10 days.
To get started on your custom CNC machining project, pleaserequest a quote today.
In Advanced Manufacturing Development over the last 25 years, we have learned about the importance of part machining. In our experience building assembly lines for the automation industry, precision, quality, and timing of the machined components are all critical factors when creating a machine. A single mistake can delay the completion of the project or create hidden problems that endanger production months down the road.
Machining Solutions from AMD
For this reason, Advanced Manufacturing Development decided to create a best-in-class in-house machining shop and quality department that manufactures more than 95% of every machined component we use. With time, our clients started approaching us looking for a reliable provider of machining services.
In 2019, we started offering machining components to third parties independently from our automation division. Today, we run a competitive machining facility with over 20 CNC machines. We concentrate on the manufacturing of medium size pieces (dimensions up to 64” x 32” x 30”) with tolerances up to 0.001” and lead times as low as 5-10 days.
Contact Advanced Manufacturing Development
As the industry continues to face demand for faster, smarter, and more complex parts, we are committed to applying our technical knowledge and project management skills to design based on your specifications and requirements. To request a quote for your project or learn more about the CNC services we offer, contact us today.
Since 1996 Advanced Manufacturing Development has been providing custom assembly solutions that are tailored to each customer’s particular need and are financially feasible in order to help improve safety, reliability, and profitability.
For over 25 years AMD has created cutting-edge manufacturing solutions, implementing only the highest standards in quality, design, and functionality. Positioning itself in the automated system integrator industry as a company that adapts to customer specifications and applies the best practices. What set us apart from the competition is how every project is unique to each client’s specifications, with whom we work closely to address the challenges their organization faces today in their assembly line and develop machines that ensure exactly what they envision, with higher quality production, completing tasks efficiently, accurately, and with a high degree of conformity and repeatability.
Through all these years, our success is measured by the performance of our solutions and the satisfaction of our clients. We do not stop until we have ensured the machines meet the desired production requested outputs. Our engineers conduct simulations, provide training on the operating and programming of the equipment to facilitate the integration system into the facility, select the appropriate solutions for specific applications, and provide full-service delivery if necessary.
We have spent years developing our team of professional’s in-depth knowledge of all assembly components, continuously improving, and complying with the applicable regulations. Our experienced engineering team at AMD can construct anything from an individual assembly station to a complete manufacturing line with balance on a technological level and engineering experience.
As the industry continues to face demand for faster, smarter, and more complex parts, for integrated automation solutions, AMD will keep creating cutting-edge solutions, maintaining our competitive edge and passion for engineering.
JuanErdmann, CEO, and founder of AMD stated, “I am delighted that from the beginning I have been able to see how a professional team with years of experience has been formed and keeps growing and thriving. In a quarter of a century, we have managed to consolidate ourselves as a leading company, in which we have developed more than 1500 very exciting and challenging projects. Our team of people is very diverse in many aspects and that shows how we continue to innovate and develop constantly. It is a dream to have created a company where people can share their passion for engineering.To all our clients, thank you for considering us as a supplier for your applications all through these years.”
Advanced Manufacturing Development (AMD) provides turnkey services for your global rollouts by standardizing vision inspection systems, so you can guarantee ship dates and comply with all international and domestic guidelines. We create repeatable solutions, which are tested thoroughly before they roll out nationwide or worldwide. We take standard systems and select the right camera, mechanisms, lighting, and other hardware and software for the application.
Our vision inspection systems fit your precise setup, enabling you to adhere to all local standards without having to redesign anything. Standardization creates consistency across inspection programs, system controls, mechanical setup, and electrical components.
As vision system specialists, we focus solely on creating solutions that are custom-designed, programmed, and fully automated for use in every system on your plant floor. AMD works directly with you to create a vision inspection system to address your unique needs, deliver the best achievable pass/fail rates, and reduce liability.
When you partner with AMD to integrate your machine vision systems, you gain access to the following benefits:
High degree of precision (inspection and verification)
High speed/high production rate applications
Improved repeatability (GR&R)
Stringent pass/fail rates
Quality, purpose-built systems that are long-lasting, low maintenance, and reliable
Detailed and documented system designs that can be repeated to multiple plant locations and/or lines
4 Things to Look for in a Vision Integrator
When looking for a machine vision integrator, there are four important things to look for:
1. Excellent Client Relationships
Ask for references from other clients and contact them about their experiences on past machine vision projects. A good machine vision integrator will be responsive and collaborative with the client to best meet their needs.
2. Feasibility Lab
A high-quality machine vision integrator will have a feasibility lab to thoroughly develop the scope and specifications of a machine vision job. This lab will have the ability to create a miniature version of the proposed system and will be able to test and retest it to reach the optimal design.
3. Front-End Engineering
The goal of front-end engineering is to completely understand the client’s expectations of their vision inspection technology. This includes any pass/fail rate success criteria and custom specifications.
4. Project Management and Technical Expertise
Ask the references about the integrator’s project management and technical expertise. It’s also important to make sure the integrator can provide examples of past projects and discuss in detail about the challenges and progressive steps of your machine vision system project. Adept project managers and technical experts are necessary for successful outcomes, speed, and cost management.
Machine Vision Integrator Applications
Machine vision integrator applications include:
Robot guidance. Vision-based solutions work to guide the movements and positioning of robotic systems. This cuts the need for hand tooling and labor. For example, a robot using a vision system can correctly pick parts from a conveyor belt, even if the parts are not in a fixed position. They can also load parts onto worn or deformed pallets without the risk of crashes and spills.
Defect detection. Vision systems can detect defects, such as cracks, porosity, voids, etc., on the surface of parts to improve quality and reduce scrap.
Assembly verification. These systems can verify the presence of objects within a given area. This ensures that all pre-programmed objects are in their precise spots within a given location for both manual and machine assembled components.
Part identification. Part identification ensures that correct parts are present and tracks the item throughout the assembly process. Examples include Datamatrix, 1D Barcode, Optical Character Recognition (OCR), and more. This provides full-scale traceability throughout the manufacturing/assembly process and reduces nonconformities.
Contact Advanced Manufacturing Development (AMD)
Partnering with the right machine vision distributor can provide added value and peace of mind when it comes to meeting your application and business objectives. At AMD, we are committed to applying our technical knowledge and project management skills to design the vision systems based on your specifications and requirements. To learn more, contact us today.
A variety of applications may benefit from the use of robot system integrators. The integration process entails programming and equipping industrial robots to perform automated manufacturing tasks. A robot integrator is a company that works to understand customers’ robotic system requirements, develop automation plans, and put those plans into action.
Functions and Benefits of Robotic System Integrators
Robotic systems integrators offer many advantages through the tasks they can perform. A reliable integrator will be able to:
Conduct a study on the feasibility of a project
Provide tips to help increase cost-effectiveness
Select the appropriate tooling, work cells, and robots for a particular application
Train operators on programming robotics and work cells to facilitate automation
Assist with the integration of the robot system into the facility
Ultimately, robot integrators will be able to provide complete packages and improve automation for a wide range of facilities. As a result, companies see several key benefits of integrating robotics into production lines and other systems. Specific advantages include:
Improved accuracy, consistency, and repeatability
More efficient production
Reduced production and labor costs
Improved quality and cycle times
Some industries that benefit from working with robot integrators include companies in the automotive, consumer goods, appliances, eCommerce, and medical industries, among others.
Industrial Robotics vs. Collaborative Robotics
Depending on the needs of each application, there are two types of robotic systems available to integrate into different facilities.
Industrial robotic systems are designed to perform repetitive tasks in a variety of industrial facilities. Industrial robotics can consist of multi-axis robotic arms, automated cells, automated guide vehicles, or conveyance. Today, these systems are highly scalable and flexible to meet the specific needs of various applications. Operators can also easily reprogram these systems in the event of increased demand, product changes, or seasonal changes. This combined accuracy, flexibility, and scalability makes industrial robotics ideal for use in worldwide production lines of low to high volume.
Some of the applications for industrial robotic systems include:
In collaborative robotics integration, integrators install robots and other technology to improve automation to complement employee efforts, as opposed to replacing them. Collaborative robots, or cobots, present certain potential difficulties when integrating them alongside employees. For example, employees may need training around proper safety measures when working near robotic arms to minimize the risk of injury. This is why it’s important for companies to work with integrators that have sufficient experience in consulting and planning to successfully integrate these systems.
Both industrial and collaborative robotics can be beneficial depending on the application, making it important to select the right system with the help of an experienced robot integrator.
Automate Your Facility with the Help of Advanced Manufacturing Development
At AMD, we can help you automate operations using turnkey and build-to-print assembly solutions based on each of our customers’ needs. Our internationally located engineers can conduct consultations, develop proofs of concept, and integrate third-party machinery to provide the automation you need for improved efficiency and lower production costs.
If you would like to learn more about AMD’s capabilities and get started on a custom robotics integration solution for your facility, contact us today and we’ll connect you with one of our experts.
Hot plate welding is a method of joining thermoplastic parts in a permanent, molecular, and frequently hermetic bond. During the process, a heated table called a platen is heated to a specific temperature. Next, the two joining surfaces are brought into contact with the platen for a precise amount of time in order for them to melt before being joined together. A proper hot plate welded joint will be just as strong, if not stronger, than other areas of the part.
Almost any thermoplastic material can be joined using hot plate welding, which has led it to be a frequently chosen solution for numerous applications. In cases where uniform weld flash, hermetic seals, or multiple parts per cycle are necessary, hot plate welding is frequently chosen as the preferred method.
What Is the Process of Hot Plate Welding?
Hot plate welding is a direct thermal contact process that creates a clean joint. This process allows nearly any shaped part to be joined together while eliminating the need for glues, adhesives, and solvents. It can be performed horizontally or vertically, and it can be used with complex geometric shapes, curved surfaces, and internal walls.
As mentioned above, hot plate welding utilizes a heated platen. Once heated to a specific temperature, the plastic parts that are being welded are pressed against the plate to melt and soften the joint interface. To complete the weld, the melted parts are immediately pressed together.
Hot plate welding is a very forgiving process where parts are bent or deformed due to the injection molding process. If parts are taken out of the mold at high temperatures, the contractions of the plastic while cooling can bend or deform the parts. In a hot plate welding process, the parts welded are pressed against a metal plate that has the desired shape. From there, the plastic melts and takes the form of the hot plate so any deformation is corrected for a perfect result. This is particularly useful as the parts get bigger because it is more difficult to maintain tight tolerances.
With some type of plastics, the adherence of the melted plastic to the hot plate becomes a problem. To solve this the hot plate is sometimes coated with Teflon or other materials that prevent adherence. Another option is bringing the hot plate to a position very close to the part so that radiation from the plate can melt the material without actually touching it, thus not having the opportunity to adhere.
In our machines, we analyze the size and shape of the part and include as many heat zones as needed on the heat plate to obtain a uniform melted surface on the plastic parts. Each heat zone has independent temperature control. Another feature is that the movements of the parts and the heat plate are servo-controlled giving the process precise dimensional control of the melted material surface and the final pressing position of the welded components. We can also make the heat plate horizontal or vertical depending on the characteristics of the parts to be welded. We have made machines with different welding plates in different positions that weld at the same time. This applies to parts like automotive intake ducts that have many PCVs ports and connections that need to be welded in different locations and orientations.
When to Use Hot Plate Welding
There are several welding methods to consider when joining plastics; however, there are certain circumstances where hot plate welding is the preferable solution. If you are working with large components, or if the product has a complex geometry, hot plate welding would be the most effective joining method. It’s also an excellent choice for applications that don’t tolerate loose particulate or applications requiring a high-strength or hermetic seal.
In addition to these instances, many components can benefit from the low-stress, high-strength nature of hot plate welding. It is an effective method for small parts with simple geometries, and it is frequently used with injection-molded components. It is also ideal for joining plastic pipes in applications where a completely leak-proof seal is required.
Hot Plate Welding Solutions from AMD
Advanced Manufacturing Development (AMD) offers welding automation packages tailored to each customer’s exact specifications. Our knowledgeable engineering team can offer weld process recommendations that optimize your productivity and functionality. If your application involves plastic materials, our hot plate welding machines can provide a solution that fully meets your needs.
AMD is located in Texas, where our team of over 100 engineers creates expert automation solutions. We deliver excellence in manufacturing and can provide customers with the best possible prices through the use of our Mexican manufacturing facility. For more information on the welding solutions we offer and how we can meet the needs of your application, please contact us today.