ABB’s Smart Power business unit is the global market leader for low-voltage switches. The company’s assembly plant in Vaasa, Finland, produces a wide range of low-voltage switches for solar, auxiliary power, IT and industrial use.
The factory turned to JOT Automation to design and build a custom automated assembly system that could increase production volume; handle multiple product variants; and meet high quality standards.
Before getting down to automation, JOT engineers broke down the initial setup into steps and identified where potential challenges might arise. Then, they designed and built the line.
JOT’s fully automated assembly system can run two product families with up to 40 different variants. Capable of semi-autonomous production, the system increased throughput by a factor of five.
With a full load of parts, the system can run autonomously for up to two hours. A sophisticated vision system enables six-axis robots to handle components reliably with a cycle time of less than 30 seconds. Components are chosen dynamically based on the orders given by the plant’s manufacturing execution system.
Assembly is handled dynamically at various stations. These stations include pick and place operations, screwdriving, and labeling for 100 percent traceability throughout the production process. The line is also equipped with both mechanical and electrical testing stations.
After testing, the switches are placed on an outgoing conveyor for transport to a packaging station and shipping.
“Together with JOT, we created a system that allows us to fully automate our production,” says Juha Sohlberg, senior project manager at ABB. “We required a supplier that can meet demanding requirements while providing industry-leading reliability and quality.
“With this custom line, we have been able to increase our throughput while maintaining production flexibility.”
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