- SPECIAL REPORTS
High-tech entertainment electronics—from diminutive MP3 players to large LED screens—are what Blusens Global Corp. manufactures on its new automated assembly line. Located in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, the manufacturer is recording growth rates of up to 200 percent per year.
The new manufacturing line is based on the TS 2plus transfer system by Bosch-Rexroth Corp. Joaquin F. Garcia, customer service manager at Blusens, says the conveyor was chosen because it can accommodate products of varying sizes, including MP3 and MP4 players, hard disk drives, and LED and LCD television sets with 15- to 26-inch screens.
A modular system, the TS 2plus is available with different types of conveying media (polyamide or toothed belts, flat top or accumulation roller chains) and units (lifting, drive, curves and transverse conveyors). System drive chains are electrically conductive to protect sensitive electronic components against damage resulting from electrostatic discharge.
At the Blusens plant, the conveyor forms a rectangle measuring about 1.5 by 16 meters. It features lifting and traversing units that move pallets to 20 workstations (10 on each side). The pallets are electrically conductive and contain parts or subassemblies.
Smaller products are assembled in a few workstations, while larger products are assembled in several workstations. For smaller products, 640-millimeter-square pallets are used and automatically moved to workstations after a specified period of time. However, for larger products, a worker must actuate a switch to move the pallet to the next workstation.
In the workstation, damped separators gently stop the pallets. Positioning units lift the pallets a few millimeters to sepa-rate them from the conveyor chain and prevent friction with the conveyor belt. Workers then load or unload the pallets as necessary.
Each workstation has an accumulator area where pallets can be parked so assembly can take place. When no pallets are parked there, the areas can be disabled to increase space between successive items and prevent larger assemblies from colliding at adjacent workstations.
Workstations feature an Indra-Logic PLC with a touch screen that allows workers to easily select assembly functions. However, if a workstation is not being used, it can be shut down to shorten production cycles.
Each workstation is ergonomically designed. It has balancers to suspend screwdrivers; nearby electrical sockets and ca-bles to power accessories; and a compressed air unit to dust off parts. These ergonomic features have increased worker productivity by about 25 percent, says Garcia.
The transfer system is subdivided into four zones so Blusens can quickly and easily modify setup for a specific project. This flexibility also is applied to the system’s electrical and mechanical layout.
The control circuit for each zone is set up using a fieldbus module, which is attached to pneumatic valve manifolds that actuate the system’s lifting, holding and positioning functions. Simple electrical input-output modules allow each zone to be reconfigured and rewired independently. This makes it possible to easily automate manual workplaces by adding robots.
For more information on transfer systems, call 269-695-0151 or visit www.boschrexroth-us.com.