Columns

Assembly in Action: Taking Advantage of All Three Dimensions

August 21, 2008
/ Print / Reprints /
ShareMore
/ Text Size+




When Ophthonix Inc. (San Diego) first set out to manufacture its custom-made iZon high-resolution eyeglasses, it anticipated having an outside laboratory do the processing. However, the company quickly realized it would have to do the work itself if it was to ensure that its lenses were of the highest quality. This, in turn, meant creating a new production facility that would not only meet initial customer demand, but future production needs as well.

The ultimate goal was a fully automated, conveyor-based, continuous-flow pull system capable of accommodating the company’s lean manufacturing philosophy. The system also had to seamlessly incorporate a number of existing workstations and processing machines Ophthonix had acquired as it was developing its new cutting-edge lenses.

To help cut costs, systems integrator Eagle Technologies (Bridgman, MI) suggested treating the company’s 10,000-square-foot finishing lab like a cube, taking advantage of the facility’s vertical, as well as horizontal, space through the use of vertical buffers and other flexible material handling systems.

Employing a pallet-based VarioFlow modular conveyor system manufactured by Bosch Rexroth (Buchanan, MI), Eagle Technologies ultimately created a system that is flexible enough to accommodate as many as six autoblockers, six lens generators, a dozen polishers and four robotic edgers if necessary.

“Eagle did a tremendous job implementing this system,” says Ophthonix vice president of operations John Lemperle. “It’s nice because Eagle is large enough to be competent, but still offered a small-company approach with regards to attentiveness, detail and response time. Plus, they were able to install the system in less than three weeks, which is a quick turnaround for a conveyor system of this magnitude.”

As part of the effort to take advantage of the lab’s vertical space, Eagle created a cooling tower that lifts the lenses off the floor to a raised area, eliminating the need for an expensive tray stacking and destacking area. After cooling, the lenses are carried to a workstation where they are given their individualized curves. Afterward, they continue on to a series of stations where they are delivered to the company’s assembly, inspection and packing personnel.

“Quality is improving daily, currently putting us at a 90 percent yield range, even though production of our lenses is more intensive. If this process was done manually, we would need more people and a facility twice as large,” Lemperle says.

For more on systems integration, call 269-465-6986 or visit www.eagletechnologies.com.

For more on conveyor systems, visit www.boschrexroth-us.com or call 800-739-7684.

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, the hosts of Manufacturing Revival Radio sit down with Adam Malofsky, Ph.D., president and CEO of Bioformix to discuss his company’s innovative, energy-saving adhesives and polymers, which cure without the need for heat or light. 

More Podcasts

THE MAGAZINE

Assembly Magazine

april assembly cover

2014 April

The 2014 April Assembly includes a cover story about robots and small manufacturers plus much more. Check it out today!
Table Of Contents Subscribe

Immigration Reform

Could immigration reform benefit U.S. manufacturers?
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.

Assembly Showrooms

ASSEMBLY Showrooms

STAY CONNECTED

facebook_40px twitter_40px  youtube_40pxlinkedin_40px