Fortune 500 manufacturers in the high-tech, electronics and communications industries have a no-nonsense approach to their equipment. Without exception, it must be reliable, durable, well-designed and built with high-quality components. Such equipment is critical to manufacturing top-quality products.
WORX Machinery LLC custom builds such equipment for several Fortune 500 manufacturers and many other companies. Located in Buford, GA, the company builds robotic machinery (including assembly and packing stations), quality-control testing stations, multicamera vision-inspection systems and PCB assembly cells.
“The demand is constant for well-designed, robust and complex machinery at affordable prices—and often on tight delivery schedules,” says Michael Pate, co-owner and co-founder of WORX Machinery. “To meet these demands, we are always looking for ways to reduce design time and construction costs without compromising the quality and reliability of our machines.”
One way is to maximize the number of precision configured components WORX uses to build its machines. During the design phase of each project, staff engineers do a “buy vs. build” analysis to determine which machine parts can use configured components and which require custom components.
Pate says configured components improve design efficiency, reduce costs and speed time to market. He was first introduced to the use of configurable components while working at Panasonic several years ago. There he designed and built PCB test fixtures with precisely machined mechanical components.
WORX engineers often source configured components from Misumi USA Inc. The supplier offers a broad array of components frequently used in inspection, measuring and vision systems (imaging lenses, guide arms, sensors, probes, mounting stands and clamps) and workstations (linear rails, positioning stages, bearings, springs, collars and bumpers).
WORX used several of these components in two recent projects. One involved a robotic testing station with a vision system. The other involved a laser enclosure on an X-axis positioning stage where dental implants and medical devices are marked.
Pate says the vision system inspects small plastic check valves used in automotive applications and automated vending machines. Misumi components enable high-precision movement of the system’s cameras during inspection.
“Designing an X-axis stage assembly from scratch would probably take me a day or so,” explains Pate. “Then it would have to be produced, machined and tested, which might take weeks. Preassembled standard or high-precision adjustment stages eliminate all this work.”
WORX designers like that they can access component information online. Pate says they often use Misumi’s Web-based catalog, product selection guide and 3D CAD Configurator.
These resources save time and effort by enabling designers to download native CAD drawings directly into their SolidWorks plans. Once a design is finalized, the designer immediately orders components online.
“Many leading suppliers have online catalogs and offer CAD support,” observes Pate. “But it’s rare that a supplier provides upfront pricing and shipping information. We know in advance if the date aligns with our production schedule and customer delivery promise. This is a huge competitive advantage for us and allows us to provide a high level of service to our customers.”