Automation Solution to Eliminate Operator Error

As we travel through this pandemic, the need for medical equipment and devices is surging.  In addition to the increasing demand, labor shortages are driving medical device manufacturers to seek out additional automation.  One manufacturer recently reached out to Orbitform with a challenge in forming an endoscopic surgical tool. 

Previous Process

Previously, this customer was forming the articulating joint manually with impact riveters.  The quality of the joint was inconsistent, demand was rising, and labor shortages were forcing the manufacturer to seek additional options.  Orbitform partnered with the customer’s engineers to determine the best options for controllability and increased throughput.  In reviewing options, it was determined that an automated 8-station dial would provide the best solution.

Auto-Load Rivets

This machine utilized an auto-load option with a unique feeding system: a vibratory bowl presented rivets in the shank side up orientation which were then loaded into the anvil via a pick and place unit.   Due to the size and delicacy of the rivet, this eliminated operator handling to decrease cycle time. 

Consistent Solution

On the forming station, a B-125 was added with force and distance monitoring.  This monitoring could ensure consistency from part to part during forming.  An additional precision LVDT which provided extra sensitivity was added to the following station to confirm finished form consistency as well. 

Part Detection

A high-end camera was added to the auto unload station to measure the finished form diameter of the rivet.  The camera distinguished good parts from bad parts and unloaded them to the corresponding bin.  In addition, a probe station after the auto-unload station confirmed the fixture was empty and ready for the next rivet to be loaded.

Once complete, the final machine provided all the necessary monitoring to eliminate operator error, ensure consistency in each joint, and greatly reduce cycle time. 

 

When faced with challenges in assembly, manufacturers often seek the advice of Orbitform.  Whether it be the medical, automotive, aerospace, home goods, or hand tools industries, we partner with customers’ engineers to determine the best assembly solution to fit functional requirements and return on investment.  Contact us today to start developing your unique assembly solution.