Success Story – Cleveland Systems
Automated assembly line for Multiple Product Variants
Cleveland Systems Engineering Limited is a systems integrator specialising in control systems and software for the manufacturing and process industries.
They are an approved SIEMENS and FANUC ROBOTICS Partner Company and they undertake a wide range of automation projects ranging from control system upgrades to Turnkey robot cells and Assembly Lines.
Cleveland Systems Engineering were contracted by the end-user to design, build and install a semi-automatic assembly line where multiple product variants could be assembled.
The line comprised a mixture of manual and robotic stations and the products were transferred through the system on bespoke palletised fixtures that were designed and manufactured by ALM Engineering Solutions.
Each pallet was fitted with an RFID tag that stores unique product and build data relating to the particular product variant residing on the pallet.
There are four product variants that the client wants to assemble on this line. To maintain minimal changeover times and additional cost, they had specifically requested that each workpiece pallet and work station accommodate these variants with little or no alterations.
Additionally, the workpiece must be rotated at different stages throughout the line to allow access to every face.
The assembled products progress through the line on workpiece pallets, integrated into the transfer system which must consistently position the assembly in a precise location at each station in order for the robot tooling to connect.
ALM Engineering Solutions were selected for this work as they had a proven track record in designing and building bespoke workpiece pallets/carriers.
After an initial design brief meeting, our engineers received CAD models of the product variants along with actual components. Cleveland Systems were able to provide the data for the workpiece pallet base, in this case Bosch Rexroth and we were able to download technical drawing from Bosch’s website.
To fit each assembly onto a single pallet involved some tricky CAD modelling, with all four variants being layered onto each other to identify non conflicting points of support.
The design work at this stage was critical to ensure all features of each product variant were identified, ensuring that they did not interfere with the mounting of the next product and so on, as anything missed at this stage might render the finished workpiece pallet unusable.
The work involved a standard Bosch Rexroth workpiece pallet being modified to accept a weight bearing turntable bearing, this provided the ability to rotate the fixture through 360 degrees. A rotational locking device to lock the fixture in the required positions.
The most impressive feature of the design was the fixture itself. To minimise the skill set required to change from one product to another, the fixture was designed in such a way that each support module could be unlocked and moved to the new position without the need to remove any part from the fixture, furthermore, no special tools were required to achieve this.
Once the design was completed, it was reviewed by the client and signed off in readiness for manufacture.
At this stage, we implement our standard fulfillment procedure which ensures every stage of manufacture is checked and tested to ensure the final product functions as it was designed to do.
All aspects of machining and manufacturing are carried out in-house by ALM Engineering Solutions, this provides the client with confidence that we are in charge of manufacturing lead times and that additional resources can be brought to the work as needs be to maintain client due dates.
Final assembly and testing is carried out prior to client approval.
The workpiece pallet was commissioned on the line and has proven to be a success, reducing line changeover times and positioning the assemblies precisely for the robot operations.
Following this installation, the client has commissioned Cleveland Systems to design and build several more semi-automated lines and ALM Engineering Solutions continue to partner with them on these projects.