project scope Medical Port Device Assembly Machine

The customer requested a method to manufacture CPAP assemblies at a rate that met the demand, maintained the pace of the connected mold, and required limited involvement. Each package of parts contained 32 assemblies, each consisting of a port and web connected to a sheet.

The SDC machine needed to be able to de-reel the tape, pull off the backing material, and feed it into the machine. Then, the machine needed to take the ports that were loaded into a hopper, feed them into the machine, and place them in the proper orientation on the tape. Sheets of four parts needed to be cut, stacked, and loaded into a box with an instruction pamphlet. Cycle time needed to be four parts/second.


The experts at SDC designed and built this automated system as a method to produce, inspect, and package CPAP assemblies. While the parts were being designed, SDC worked with the product designers and the individual component manufacturers to ensure that the final parts could be assembled and packaged in an SDC automation cell within the desired cycle time. The solution designed by SDC is mated to the manufacturer’s mold, where molded parts are automatically processed within the automated system.

Assembly starts with the web dispensing off a roll from a dereeler and utilizes a take-up roll to collect the cover sheet. The web then feeds into the automated cell, while the aligned tractor drive utilizes pins to accurately position the web in each step. The incoming web is inspected using a Cognex camera to review the web alignment and tag any parts with errors.

Next, molded plastic parts are brought into the cell using two separate vibratory bowl feeders, each feeding into specially designed nests that collect and position the parts into groups of eight. The molded parts are then gripped by custom grippers designed by SDC that accurately hold the parts and then transfer the parts across a Corona treatment machine prior to pressing the group of parts onto the web.

Once assembly is completed, a second Cognex camera is used to inspect the assemblies for accuracy and identify any errors. Following inspection, the web is slit and sheared into sheets of eight parts.

At this point, sheets are picked using a custom vacuum gripper and stacked methodically by an Epson SCARA robot in the custom packaging system. Within the packaging system, the boxes are folded, loaded, sealed, and labeled to produce a product that is ready to be sent to end users.

The resulting system produced by SDC is connected and controlled using a PLC. Additionally, the connected HMI is mounted on a swing arm, allowing operators flexibility in where the machine is controlled from. Finally, everything is guarded by hard guarding with ample access points for personnel to access the automated cell as needed. All the access points meet required safety standards to ensure the safety of all personal. The entire system is built on a heavy-duty steel frame that was specifically designed for this application by SDC.

MACHINE RATE: 6 parts/ second; 1 Package every 5 seconds

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