Production Assembly & Test Processes
High-speed Assembly of Nylon Fuel Line Components
Objective / Challenge:
Design & build a semi-automated assembly machine that would increase production capacity by 33% with improved quality while reducing production costs & operator labor by 80%.
The customer needed to increase his production volume to 480,000 parts per year to supply his customer’s projected needs. The project goals were further defined to include the need to improve quality by reducing contamination and reduce production costs by eliminating direct labor where possible.
Additional batch oven space was rejected due to the capital cost and direct Labor needed to operate another batch oven as well as floor space constraints.
The Prior Process:
Fuel line shaping and connector installation. In the original production process the fuel line was shaped in a form within a batch oven, cooled in a water bath and then connectors were installed on a dedicated flaring and installation machine.
The process was running at maximum capacity on a three shift seven-day schedule with a 360,000-unit capability per year; additionally, quality was impacted by contamination from the cooling process.
Manpower utilization was three batch oven operators and one connector assembly machine operator all on a three-shift schedule.
Puritan Automation designed and built a work cell consisting of a Connector Installation Station and a Dial Table Forming Machine. The assembly process was reconfigured such that the Connector Installation Station and the Forming Dial Table could be run by the same operator.
The Forming Dial Table has heated nests and tube guides to shape the tube, a cooling station cools the tube in station, and an air pressure decay test inspects the final tube integrity (including connectors).
Completed parts are then automatically unloaded to a good part chute for manual unload and packing; parts that fail the pressure decay test are passed to a separate reject location. Production capacity increased to the required target with a five-day three shift schedule.
The new process produces one tube every 35 to 40 secs’ depending on the operator.
Contamination from the cooling process was eliminated and every component is 100% pressure decay tested.
One operator is required to load and unload the two machines and batch oven space is freed for other uses.