project scope Automatic Safety Module Assembly and Testing Cell

The customer requested a fully automated system to replace a labor intensive process. SDC designed and developed this custom system to automatically assemble and test a safety module that was previously performed manually.

sdc's solution

SDC designed and developed a system that successfully automated the assembly and testing of a safety module. The experts at SDC integrated a Fanuc robot, Cognex vision systems, and a print-and-apply labeling system into a custom cell with part-specific fixtures, grippers, conveyors, and pneumatic and servo-driven mechanisms to assembly and test the products. This assembly consisted of two printed circuit boards (PCBs), an outer housing, a lid, two electronic keys, and two labels.

First, the Fanuc robot picks two PCBs (one at a time) from a custom, manually loaded, part-holding cassette and then presents it to a barcode reader to verify the part number. Once verified, the custom pneumatic-driven press fixture accurately mates the two PCBs together.

While the boards are in the custom press, the robot picks the safety module’s outer housing from an infeed parts conveyor. Simultaneously, the press spins to present the opposite side of the PCBs to the robot for removal. A custom vacuum gripper system holds the housing open while the robot easily loads the pressed PCBs. Next, a pneumatic press presses the lid onto the outer housing assembly. The robot moves the assembly to a key insert station. To complete the assembly, two labels are then applied (one on each side) of the module using a print-and-apply labeling system that was integrated into the custom cell.

Once the assembly is complete, the robot presents the final assembly to a Cognex machine vision system to verify correctness. Following the inspection, the final assembly is loaded into a staging fixture. The robot repeats this process until there are four assemblies placed in the staging fixture. From there, a servo-driven gantry system picks all four parts up and places them into an electrical testing machine.

If the parts did not pass an inspection test, at any point in the assembly process, they were placed in a “failed part” bin for operator assessment. This includes parts that were not the correct part number for the sequence and/or parts that were damaged or otherwise incorrect.

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