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Case Studies Industrial

RA Labone, a plastics injection moulding manufacturer, wanted to increase the efficiency and production output of its tyre pressure sensor manufacturing process in order to meet the demands of its blue chip customers.

September 2015

The challenge

A transformation was required for the whole end-to-end manufacturing process, including moulding, continuity testing, cooling, decay testing, and packaging.

The solution

RNA, a leading automation integrator, partnered with FANUC UK, the world’s largest robotics and automation solutions provider, to produce a fully automated system for manufacturing, testing and packaging. Two FANUC M10iA robots were integrated into the automated system, which includes the following steps:

  1. Two types of component parts (Insert and Antenna) are fed and orientated via two vibratory bowls and linear feed systems.
  2. The components are fed into two independent precession shuttle mechanisms so that the Insert and Antenna are always in a known repeatable and accurate positional location
  3. A FANUC M10iA robot is used with a double gripper mechanism to pick four inserts and four antenna from their locations
  4. The inserts and antennas are placed in the correct orientation within the four-cavity moulding tool
  5. An Arburg 1200T vertical moulding machine with a two position rotary index table is used to simultaneously load insert and antennas while the moulding process takes place
  6. On completion of moulding, the two position rotary index table actuates and presents an open mould tool to a second FANUC M10iA robot
  7. Mouldings are taken through a decay test cycle through a specially developed cooling system based on a rotary table and cooling fans
  8. The mouldings are placed on a leak decay test station
  9. Mouldings are fed into and out of an automated packing area with an escapement mechanism
  10. An empty box is filled with tested mouldings and is transferred to the out-feed conveyor system

Following the installation of the automated system at the RA Labone plant, FANUC and RNA deployed engineers to educate employees around how to programme the automated system.

Benefits

The automated solution provides a fully integrated and compact system increasing productivity, ensuring consistent product quality, reducing costs and minimising waste. The system also increases precision, speed and accuracy when placing the inserts and antennas into the moulding tool. Reliability of positioning components is also ensured by high precision and accuracy of the handling processes.

The automated cooling system improves the cooling time, guaranteeing integrity of moulding, continuity and leak decay test stations identifying good and bad mouldings.

Outcomes

Manufacturing efficiency and output have been increased as a result of the automated system, with the ability to deploy a 24 hour production cycle if required. A suite of new components can also be applied to develop the system to perform additional tasks.

Alan Edmonds, head of technical sales, RNA said: “We chose FANUC due to the speed and accuracy of the FANUC robot and as part of a recommendation from RA Labone who already use FANUC’s products and services. The automated system has completely transformed production capabilities for RA Labone and we have had further requests for future projects off the back of this success.”

Contact IFR Germany

Gudrun Litzenberger

IFR General Secretary
IFR Statistical Department

Lyoner Str. 18
60528 Frankfurt am Main
Phone: +49 69-6603-1502
Fax: +49 69-6603-2502
E-Mail: gl@ifr.org

Nina Kutzbach

Assistant IFR Statistical Department

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60528 Frankfurt am Main
Phone: +49 69-6603-1518
Fax: +49 69-6603-2518
E-Mail: nk@ifr.org

Silke Lampe

Assistant IFR Secretariat

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60528 Frankfurt am Main
Phone: +49 69-6603-1697
Fax: +49 69-6603-2697
E-Mail: sl@ifr.org