Columns

Assembly in Action: Robots Pay for Themselves in Seven Months

December 17, 2007
/ Print / Reprints /
ShareMore
/ Text Size+


Keihin IPT Mfg. Inc. (Greenfield, IN) manufactures automotive air and fuel-line components, and is no stranger to the use of flexible automation, having implemented its first robotic die-casting system in 1988. The company now has approximately 950 employees and 28 robots. The latter are used in a variety of die-casting, machining, sealing and assembly applications.

In late 2006, the company upgraded the line it uses to add heat inserts and collars to plastic intake manifolds by installing a series of five HP20, six-axis robots from Motoman Inc. (West Carrollton, OH). The cells making up the line run year-round, 24 hours a day, 5 days a week. The line completes a new intake manifold in 32 seconds.

Before the addition of the robots, the line required four operators performing a series of loading and unloading operations manually. But, with the robots, a single operator can tend the entire line, providing a direct labor savings of nine people per day. As a result, the five robots were able to pay for themselves in just seven months.

In addition to the five robots and their NX100 controllers, the line includes a loading conveyor; seven custom assembly machines that install nine heat inserts and 12 collars onto each manifold; another custom assembly machine that places four gaskets onto each manifold; and an exit conveyor. Dane Systems LLC performed all systems integration work. Each six-axis robot is equipped with a pneumatic parallel gripper and handles one part at a time.

The eight stations that make up the line are arranged in a “U” to save floor space. In operation, the first robot unloads the fixtured parts from the infeed conveyor and loads them into the first station. The robots then take turns cycling the parts through the rest of the stations that comprise the line, with the last robot loading the finished assemblies onto an outfeed conveyor. An Allen-Bradley Control Logix PLC controls the entire line via Devicenet and Ethernet.

“The benefits to implementing the robot cells were decreasing our labor cost for the product and utilizing skilled operators in more difficult assembly tasks. The robots also create flexibility for us, as we can use them for future processes as the current product phases out, unlike dedicated machine tooling or a custom gantry system,” Miller says. “We were very pleased with the expertise of the Dane staff. By working together with Dane early in the project, we were able to install, debug and have the system up and running in one week.”

For more on flexible, automated assembly, call 937-847-6200 or visit www.motoman.com.

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to Assembly Magazine.

You must login or register in order to post a comment.

Multimedia

Videos

Image Galleries

Behind the Scenes at Ford's Michigan Assembly Plant

People are the heart and soul of the 2012 Assembly Plant of the Year. This slideshow shows some of the men and women who build three different types of electrified vehicles alongside traditional gas-powered cars on the auto industry’s most flexible assembly line—Ford’s Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, MI. Photos courtesy Ford Motor Co.

Podcasts

 Live from The ASSEMBLY Show, Bob Wood, president of ECI Spinnomatic, talks about his company’s newest product: a fully automated riveting cell equipped with a rotary indexing table, a six-axis robot, an orbital forming unit, and laser sensors. 

More Podcasts

Assembly Magazine

december 2014 assembly

2014 December

The 2014 December Assembly includes our Capital Spending Report plus much more. Check it out today!

Table Of Contents Subscribe

Plant Production

How much will your assembly plant produce next year?
View Results Poll Archive

THE ASSEMBLY MAGAZINE STORE

welding.gif
Welding: Principles & Practices

This text introduces students to a solid background in the basic principles and practices of welding.

More Products

Clear Seas Research

Clear Seas ResearchWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications,Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.

STAY CONNECTED

facebook_40px twitter_40px  youtube_40pxlinkedin_40pxgoogle plus  

Assembly Showrooms

ASSEMBLY Showrooms