Dial and Slide Combination Reduces Cycle Time

Speed can be a critical factor in the selection of assembly equipment. High annual volume requirements have engineers looking for unique automated solutions that result in both quality products and high throughput levels. With so many options for automation, how do you know where to start?

One manufacturer was looking for a semi-automated orbital riveting machine to meet their high-volume requirements.

The challenges

  • Multiple assemblies
  • Long parts
  • Three forming locations that vary between assemblies
  • Bottleneck of operator load time

Orbitform’s Assembly Experts reviewed their part design and recommended changes to make assembly easier, such as having all forming locations on the same axis and plane. While this did not eliminate the challenges, it did provide the opportunity for a unique equipment solution. 

To meet cycle time requirements, Orbitform’s engineers combined two automation solutions – a 2-position dial and a servo-position slide – into one unique piece of equipment. Parts were loaded into fixture nests at station one, while our orbital powerhead formed parts at station two. The powerhead was attached to a column located on the servo-position slide to move between the forming locations. Equipped with multiple safety sensors, a status light, and protected by guarding and light curtains, this 2-station setup allowed part loading/unloading and forming to occur simultaneously. 

Fixture ID sensing also reduced changeover time. At the start of each cycle, the fixture ID for the incoming part is read, and the associated program loaded into the PLC. The forming station then moves to the first programmed forming location while the dial moves the part into position. To further reduce cycle time, the forming station also has the function to form in the reverse order, depending on its location at the end of the previous cycle.

This 2-station dial and slide combination provided a unique solution for this manufacturer. By moving the powerhead between forming locations and allowing part load/unload and forming to occur simultaneously, cycle time was greatly reduced. The bottleneck of operator load time was nearly eliminated. Other benefits included a more ergonomic load condition, a safer operation, and a more uniform machine layout. 

When high volume requirements have you looking for automated or semi-automated solutions, it can be challenging to know where to start. When partnering with Orbitform, our experts thoroughly review your part for any potential equipment challenges, make recommendations for redesign, and present the best solution to meet your needs. Contact us today for your unique equipment solution.