Flat Pack Actuator System
The objective was to concept, design, and build a machine to assemble actuators for automobile HVAC systems. In addition, design or technology enhancements were needed to increase throughput, efficiency, and performance over the previous machine design. The general system concept needed to provide not only a solution to the application at hand, but also to provide an automation platform with the functionality and flexibility to be the basis for future systems.
The resulting machine is divided into two sectors, the motor assembly portion of the system and the actuator assembly and test portion of the system. An indexing dial capable of running on a 2-second cycle is used for assembling the motor. Pucks with fixtures each transfer motors via a conveyor from the manual stations to the indexing dial. The fixture and puck index through all stations on the dial and are unloaded back onto the conveyor. From that point the pucks, with the finished motor, are transferred through a queue station to the manual motor insertion station on the actuator assembly line. Completed assemblies enter one of 12 sealed test chambers. Inside the sound resistant chamber, the part is actuated, and a functional test verifies performance, torque, speed, noise, and vibration.
outcomes and benefits
The uncoupling of the motor and actuator assembly allowed the motor assembly process to be run at a rate twice that of the actuator assembly system. Uncoupling improved efficiency by allowing independent sectors to function autonomously from the rest of the system. It also provided flexibility for production scheduling and preventative maintenance procedures. Also, the motor assembly sector produced motors for three different lines in the plant that have similar cycle rates.
New Process Flow Improves Efficiency and Flexibility