Canon Virginia Inc., located in Newport News, VA, not only manufactures copiers, printers and cameras for its parent company, but also does a brisk business as a world-class contract manufacturer for a wide range of other customers.

Recently, the company implemented a two-tier conveyor from Dorner Manufacturing Corp. to speed up the process whereby it removes freshly made parts from its injection molding machines and then moves them along for inspection and further processing.

At the heart of each station is a pick-and-place robot, which removes the parts from the mold and presents them to an operator for inspection. Canon decided to go with a two-tiered system both to allow the operator to keep pace with the robot and make the best use of it plant's limited floor space.

To meet Canon's needs, Dorner engineers stacked a pair of the company's 2200 Series conveyors in a single frame and at a slightly offset orientation, about one foot above the other. A low-profile conveyor specifically designed to fit into small, tight spaces, the 2200 is well suited to just these kinds of applications. It is available with a flat belt, a cleated belt or a modular plastic belt, and can accommodate both center and end drives.

In operation, as the pick-and-place robot removes the parts from the mold, it sets them on the lower conveyor, which indexes forward after receiving an all-clear signal from the robot to create space for the next group of parts. The robot continues this process, until an indicator on the conveyor signals that it is full, as which point the robot begins loading finished parts on the upper conveyor.

As the operator removes each group of parts, the conveyor once again indexes to present another group for inspection. After the operator has removed the last part, the conveyor runs for a set time to ensure the conveyor is truly empty. The system then signals the robot that the lower conveyor is once again ready to receive parts. The cycle continues uninterrupted as long as the robot has parts available, and the operator continues removing them from the conveyor.

"The implementation of the custom-built two-tier conveyor systems from Dorner throughout our molding department has allowed for better utilization of Canon's most valuable asset-our workers," says Canon Virginia Inc. mechanical engineer Aaron Dereski. "We're very pleased with the systems and how they've helped us to increase production output while lowering overall costs."

For more on conveyors, visit www.dornerconveyors.com or call 800-397-8664.