2019 New Product of the Year
Vote for Product of the Year at The ASSEMBLY Show
More than 300 exhibitors are displaying the latest products and services at the 7th annual ASSEMBLY Show. Fasteners, power tools, adhesives, dispensing equipment, conveyors, robots, software, and, of course, automated assembly systems are among the myriad new products on display.
To help draw attention to the breadth and quality of new technologies on display, we’re holding the 2nd annual “Product of the Year” contest at the show, and you—the attendees—will be the judges. We’ve nominated 20 products in five categories that we think are particularly innovative. All you have to do is vote for your favorite when you visit the exhibit hall on Tuesday, October 22 or Wednesday, October 23. Voting will take place in Town Square right in the center of the exhibit hall.
The winners in each category will be announced Thursday, Oct. 24, at 9:30 a.m. in Learning Theater #1. Here’s the low-down on the nominees:
Category #1: Assembly Machines & Systems
Linear-Motor Conveyance System for High-Speed Assembly
The SuperTrak Micro is a linear-motor-based conveyance platform that enables the creation of flexible and high-speed production systems. Its unique merge-and-divert technology allows manufacturers to fundamentally change the way an automation cell is designed. Built on the SuperTrak Gen3 foundation, the platform combines individual shuttle control with high-speed sort-and-divert capability. With payload of 1.5 kilograms per carrier and a part spacing as low as 50 millimeters, this platform is ideal for small-part assembly. Modular components within the platform let designers configure a process before determining the final product, making it perfectly suited to high-mix applications. The platform is versatile enough for manufacturers to adapt to market conditions and meet customer demands—whether the task is to build 1 million batches of one, or one batch of 1 million.
ATS Automation Systems Inc., www.atsautomation.com, 519-653-6500
Hybrid Welding Platform
With the TH3 platform, an operator can quickly change out tooling to perform infrared or hot plate welding, or implement a plug-and-play module for hot-plate welding. The THS is the first platform to deploy multiple welding processes, and the first system capable of welding both rigid and flexible thermoplastics, thanks to the addition of hot gas. It offers fully programmable servo control of the upper tool, lower tool and the heater profile at each weld setup, and is designed to weld contoured or complex thermoplastic parts. This precise motion ensures high accuracy, reliability and repeatability to the welding process. The platform software provides both phase angle control for infrared welding and proportional, integral and derivative loop control for hot-plate and hot-gas welding. An automatic tool recognition feature allows for process-specific recipe recall.
Dukane, www.dukane.com, 630-797-4900
System Assembles Suture Kits
This fully automatic machine assembles, inspects, tests and packages surgical suture kits. This flexible machine can accommodate any surgical gauge needle or suture size, from USP 1 through 4/0, with a length range of 45 to 120 centimeters, whether monofilament or braided. Vision systems automatically adjust the system for needle selection, handling, crimp alignment and inspection. The process for joining suture to needle includes an integrated pull test and 360-degree vision inspection of each assembly to ensure joint quality, all while operating at a speed of 900 parts per hour. The automated packaging system optimizes the suture winding process for needle control, which enhances the experience for the medical practitioner. In the final phase of the process, the system allows for private labeling by recording batch and lot numbers in a database. More than 25 inspections are included in the system.
Lanco Integrated, www.lanco.net, 207-409-7511
Flexible Parts Feeder
The PFVF-03 Vari-Flex feeder is an alternative technology for feeding complex parts. The 24-inch rotary table presents parts for pick-up and orientation by a collaborative robot, recirculating parts not selected to a bulk storage prefeeder. Easily integrated with various robots and vision systems, it accommodates a variety of part geometries and part families with its quick-change tooling. The system can feed 30 parts per minute or more, and it can be used in a multi-table arrangement sharing a single robot. A touchscreen display with PLC and remote Intranet access provides easy control and reduces I/O usage. A programmable four-color light tower visually displays the system’s operational modes. Made from FDA-compliant materials, the feeder is available separately or as a completely integrated system with robot and vision system.
Performance Feeders Inc., www.performancefeeders.com, 813-855-2685
Category #2: Adhesives, Dispensing & Curing
After being activated with a 405-nanometer UV light for 5 to 10 seconds, the FlashSet UV-5608DC epoxy allows an assembler 45 to 60 seconds to join two parts—even if both are opaque. The adhesive’s ground-breaking chemistry requires no mixing, reduces errors and produces a strong bond to metal, ceramic, glass, ABS, polycarbonate, Ultem and other engineered plastics. Green strength occurs after 30 minutes, with full cure taking place over the next 16 hours at room temperature. If desired, full cure can be accomplished with UV energy or a higher intensity blue light within 10 seconds. Variations with alternative dwell and cure times, and viscosities are available. The cured product exhibits excellent thermal, water and chemical resistance, and withstands temperatures from -40 C to 120 C.
EpoxySet Inc., www.epoxyset.com, 401-726-4500
Battery Assembly Adhesives
Teroson and Loctite battery assembly adhesives cure in less than 15 seconds and adhere strongly to a variety of surfaces. The adhesives can be used to bond cells to cells, cells to carriers, and battery frames to trays. Among the newest adhesives in the lineup is Teroson MS9396, a silane-modified, one-component, moisture-cure material with high adhesion to multiple substrates. It is used in applications where good elongation is required.
Henkel Corp., www.henkelna.com/adhesives, 800-562-8483
Progressive Cavity Pump for Continuous Dispensing
The 797PCP and 797PCP-2K volumetric progressive cavity pumps deliver precise, repeatable fluid volumes as small as 0.01 millileter per revolution with a volume tolerance of ±1 percent. The core components of the pump—a rotor and stator—form a perfectly sealed metering chamber. As it rotates, the pump allows continuous volumetric dispensing that is unaffected by external factors, such as changes in viscosity, fluctuating fluid pressure, and the full-to-empty effect in syringe barrels. The continuous seal also prevents shear and pulsation, making the pump ideal for precise dispensing of abrasive pastes, epoxies and UV-cure adhesives. The pumps come in three sizes: 0.01, 0.05 and 0.15 milliliter. Both pumps work best when controlled by the 7197PCP-DIN or ValveMate 7197PCP controllers. The former offers an intuitive, Web-based interface. The latter has an intuitive touchscreen interface.
Nordson EFD, www.nordsonefd.com, 800-556-3484
3D Printed Disposable Mixing Nozzle
Re Mixer I is a disposable mixing nozzle that mixes two-part adhesives in less than half the length of existing options. This means half the adhesive waste, increased operator dexterity, and greater positional accuracy in automated meter-mix systems. The mixer is produced with advanced 3D printing technology. Recursive computer simulation was employed to derive its unique shape.
Re Mixers Inc., www.remixers.com, 847-340-7103
Category #3: Fastening Tools
Ultra-Low-Torque Fastening System
The CCS fastening system is designed for ultra-low-torque assembly applications, such as electronics and medical devices. It includes a brushless DC electric screwdriver, controller, cable and power supply. The small and lightweight screwdriver has a torque range of 10 to 180 millinewton-meters, handles screws size S0.6 and larger, and easily mounts to a robot. The controller lets users set up 16 different run-down strategies to address different screws and target torques within a job. Data collection offers traceability, while the graphing capabilities provide a visual assist during fastening setup. Three modes of operation (normal, high speed and tapping) can be controlled through a PC or PLC. The system offers eight inputs and outputs.
ASG, Div. of Jergens Inc., www.asg-jergens.com, 888-486-6163
The EABS right-angle nutrunner enables an assembler to tighten fasteners in cramped spaces with one hand, so he can use the free hand to support himself or hold other components out of the way. For greater versatility and comfort, the tool is battery powered, ergonomically designed and weighs just 2 pounds. It is 11 inches long, tightens fasteners up to 24 newton-meters and can run at more than 1,000 rpm. To further boost productivity, the nutrunner can be paired with the company’s wireless Connect smart hub for applications where traceability is essential. Pairs in seconds.
Desoutter Industrial Tools, www.desouttertools.com, 877-224-7377
Ergonomic Control System for Cordless Tools
The Ergonomic Tightening System (ETS) directs a cordless tool to deliver short pulses of energy into the fastener during tightening, so the operator safely retains control of the tool. The motor-control algorithm minimizes the average force experienced by the operator, which helps prevent injury. ETS is available on the QX Series cordless fastening tools in both pistol and right-angle configurations. Workers no longer have to manipulate the tool and a stationary torque-reaction device. ETS tools increase mobility and access for tasks requiring one-handed tool operation or when optimum operator agility is paramount. Four operating modes are available: standard direct drive mode; ergonomic mode, which delivers the least amount of energy per pulse; performance mode, which distributes moderate energy per pulse; and productivity mode, which delivers the most amount of energy per pulse.
Ingersoll Rand Power Tools, www.irtools.com/ets, 704-655-4000
Precision Torque Screwdriver
Booth: 1517, 1517
The FG line of cam-over preset hand screwdrivers are accurate, precise and durable. The tools have a calibration life of more than 20,000 cycles—four times the ISO6789:2017 Type II Class F standard of 5,000 cycles prior to recalibration. In addition, service is not required until more than 100,000 cycles. The tool’s physical design has been updated from the previous generation. The handles have fewer flutes and larger recesses to make them more comfortable to hold, less likely to cause hand fatigue, and easier to clean. Advanced cam-over technology provides a completely smooth reset, reducing the risk of loosening or breaking fasteners. In addition, the patented secure-bit locking mechanism with one-touch release can only be activated by the user for applications that require greater flexibility and efficiency on the line. The unique design also eliminates axial load on the fastener incidentally applied by the operator, which can influence the application of torque and affect product quality. Models are available for torques ranging from 0.8 to 125 in-lbs.
Mountz Inc., www.mountztorque.com, 800-456-1828
Category #4: Robotics
Carbon Vacuum Grippers for Cobots
The CVGC series of carbon vacuum grippers feature a plug-and-play design that allows for seamless integration will all cobot models. Three grippers are available, with respective dimensions of 150 millimeters square, 240 by 120 millimeters and 320 by 160 millimeters. All of the grippers are lightweight—thanks to a carbon fiber construction that conserves the cobot’s lifting capacity—and allows for quick assembly and disassembly without special tools. The compact grippers feature a function block that houses the vacuum generator, control cartridge, vacuum switch and silencer. Flexible peripheral foam protects the operator during cobot tasks, like palletizing and gripping boxes or plastic parts.
Coval Vacuum Technology Inc., www.coval-inc.com, 919-233-4855
Economical and easy to install, the VT6L six-axis robot is ideal for a wide range of simple parts-transfer applications. These include machine-tool and injection molding loading and unloading, pick-and-place, dispensing and assembly projects. The robot’s built-in controller saves on valuable factory space, while its SlimLine design features a compact wrist pitch that enables access to hard-to-reach areas in confined spaces. In addition, the robot has a reach up to 900 millimeters, a payload up to 6 kilograms and a hollow end-of-arm for simplified cabling and versatile tooling. The robot works off 110- or 220-volt power, installs in minutes and its encoder requires no battery, reducing the overall cost of ownership. Integrated vision guidance is optional.
EPSON Robots, www.epsonrobots.com, 562-290-5930
Long Stroke Gripper for Collaboration
The Co-act EGL-C combines high gripping force with large strokes for human-robot collaboration. It can handle loads up to 8 kilograms with a maximum force of 450 newtons. Stroke length is up to 42.5 millimeters per gripper finger. Force-measuring jaws and incremental encoders integrated in the base jaws continuously monitor gripping force as well as the position of the gripper fingers. It has fully integrated control and power electronics with control via Profinet, EtherCAT, EtherNet/IP or Modbus/TCP. LED lights in traffic light colors indicate the current status of the module. It comes completely assembled and is available with corresponding interfaces for most cobot brands.
SCHUNK, www.schunk.com, 800-772-4865
Hands Free, Two-Jaw Gripper
The HRC-03 gripper is a collaborative, two-jaw parallel gripper. It has a maximum stroke of 10 millimeters per jaw. The free-drive button allows the gripping force to be adjusted manually from 50 to 190 newtons in four stages. The free-drive feature enables users to operate the gripper hands-free. It can be connected directly to the I/O connector on the robot. The gripper’s safety features include a rounded shape, self-locking jaws and lack of sharp edges. It is driven by a brushless DC motor.
Zimmer Group, www.zimmer-group.de/us, 828-855-9722
Category #5: Factory of the Future
Manufacturing Software Platform
Manufacturing Integrated Platform (MIP) software simplifies plant floor control, visibility and error proofing, making it easy for managers to digitize operations, configure and oversee processes, and standardize best practices. MIP offers significant cost savings to the traditional method of managing multiple layers of plant operation by reducing the need for PLCs, HMIs, SCADA, MES or MOM systems. The software is scalable, mobile and encompassing enough to help managers in key areas like andon, maintenance, kitting, OEE, track and trace, work instructions, business intelligence and quality management. It also lets users run applications locally or in the cloud—both are web based and give users direct access to data anywhere and anytime—and quickly make changes on-site or remotely.
eFlex Systems, www.eflexsystems.com, 833-463-3539
Augmented Reality Eases Plant Maintenance
Developed by engineering company OverIT Field Solutions, the SPACE1 extended field service platform uses augmented, mixed and virtual reality to help plant maintenance technicians work more efficiently. The platform provides workers with the resources they need to successfully execute even the most complex maintenance and repair tasks. Through an augmented reality-enabled device, such as a tablet or smart glasses, the platform lets workers access all essential digital information about an asset or machine. This information includes videos, user manuals, documentation and a set of preconfigured resolution procedures. A virtual collaboration feature also provides dedicated on-demand expert guidance in real time. The platform implements easily and quickly, and can be integrated with all other enterprise IT systems, including PLM, MES, ERP, CAD, GIS, field service management and those that enable the Industrial Internet of Things. The platform is available via the Cloud or on-premise, and works in both online and offline mode.
Engineering USA, www.engusa.com, 630-652-0045
Software Enforces Assembly Process
Enforcer Smart Manufacturing Software gives engineers all the tools needed to digitally transform a factory and realize the benefits of an organized, traceable and controlled process. Engineers can use the configurable software to inject their valuable process knowledge into a new digitally enforced production process. No programming is needed. Engineers configure a process with simple drag-and-drop tools. They define each manufacturing line, each operation on each line, and the workstations where those operations are executed. Additionally, they define the flow of operations and the pass-fail criteria at each step of each process. Once the process is defined, the software takes control to enforce that each operation is successfully completed in the correct order. Data with contextual information is collected, organized and recorded at each step of the process. This detailed data highlights process trends, identifies yield detractors, and presents opportunities for continuous improvement. The information generated by your process is easily shared between equipment, presented to production personnel, and analyzed by process engineers.
Innovar Systems Ltd., www.innovarsystems.com, 330-538-3942
Wearable Bar Code Scanners
MARK Basic and MARK Standard Range are work gloves equipped with matchbook-sized bar code scanners. Because workers don’t have to constantly pick up and put down handheld scanners, the gloves save up to 4 seconds per scan. MARK Basic has a scanning range of 5 feet. It can be quickly hooked up to a corporate network via Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) and comes with a “worker feedback” option. Through optic, acoustic and haptic alerts, workers know immediately if they have picked the right item. The device can scan 3,000 codes per charge. The MARK Standard Range lets users scan bar codes at a distance of up to 32 inches. It can scan 6,000 codes per charge. It is ideal for high-frequency scanning environments, such as assembly lines.
ProGlove, www.proglove.com, +49-151-4214633