Flexible automation of testing stations: facilitating rapid conversion of a large variety of electronic switches through an intelligent control concept and new system layout. Quality assurance through batch conformity tracing.
Small batch sizes of operating switches with different variants of the basic switch caused long set-up times that repeatedly held up the production process. As a consequence, we were commissioned to provide rapid conversion to a different part type and ensure reliable traceability of batch conformity.
To avoid having to adjust each workstation for a different operating switch, we divided the various assembly stages into a number of adjacently organised workplaces. As such, the employee merely had to move to the commensurate workstation for a particular type of switch.
Workpiece carriers transport the parts to the four different manual workstations. Firstly, an automated screwdriving cell screws the various products together according to the information stored on the workpiece. At a manual inspection station, which is also menu-controlled, an operator then checks the haptic and optical characteristics. Next, an automated inspection station objectively checks the light colour and imprint on each switch with the aid of various cameras. Finally, the switches run through a labelling station that labels the OK parts and discharges the NOK parts.
The menu-controlled operation provides the employee with all the necessary information relating to a given switch type that is needed to assemble the respective variant being produced.
Application of a Beckhoff controller (TwinCat) with decentralised I/Os enables straightforward communication between all the system participants and connection to a centralised quality management system.
This well-conceived operation reduces the possibility of employee error and secures the quality of the end product. Timesaving as a result of omitting set-up times for small batch sizes per switch type has significantly increased line production productivity.