All cylinder locks may look alike on the outside, but on the inside, each is unique. Internal cylinder components include core pins, springs and sealing plugs—all of which require precise insertion.

Despite their uniqueness, cylinder locks are mass produced by companies like AUMAT Maschinenbau GmbH. This Solingen, Germany-based manufacturer has served customers in the lock industry since 1970. It also makes specialty machines for the automotive industry.

In mid-2012, AUMAT decided to fully automate component insertion into its lock cylinders, and reached out to rotary-table and automation specialist WEISS GmbH for help. Over the next eight months, WEISS developed, tested and installed a system based on its LS 280 linear palletizer.

The oval-shaped system combines the precise component positioning, short cycle times and gentle ramp-up of an indexing table, with the flexibility of a linear transfer system.

It features 21 paired pallets, 12-meter-long conveyor sections on each side and rotating discs at each end. Fifteen processing stations are located along the conveyor sections. The production rate is 360 cylinders per hour.

After a worker places 10 predrilled cylinders and companion keys into tooling on the paired pallet, its RFID data monitor determines which lock belongs to which key. The cylinders are simultaneously rotated and measured with a laser, before core pins and springs are inserted and examined with optical equipment to verify proper insertion.

Finally, the paired pallet is moved to another station where an electronic press seals the cylinders’ holes with plugs, and workers remove the assembled cylinders from pallets. Stationary cam followers (bearings) enable each cylinder to absorb the vertical force
applied during sealing.

“The number of different pins [inserted is] very large,” notes Stefan Trommlitz, managing director of AUMAT. “That gives rise to countless combinations.”

Customized application software (WAS.LS) controls the assembly system and communicates with the plant’s main controller. The software provides preset parameter values that enable the operator to configure and monitor the system. Programming knowledge is not required.

Trommlitz says the system’s modular design quickens integration and maximizes flexibility. Its solid steel base eliminates the need to build a frame but can be reinforced when necessary.

 For more information on linear assembly systems, call 888-934-7762 or visit