Case Studies

Upgrade Gantry Robot

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Goal

Update a production line gantry to deal with greater production complexity

Challenge

Increase capability of present equipment without capital expenditure

Solution

Reprogram the gantry to handle a wider range of components.

Results

Inherent in this assignment was adapting the gantry to handle a greater range of part types. To accomplish this, the gantry needed to be pre-programmed to provide greater part handling flexibility. With this in place, the plant could rely on the gantry to adapt quickly to production demands with the gantry a key tool in its ability to adapt to emerging trends and handle as wide a range of production components as possible.

Critical in the assignment was adding the desired flexibility without replacing the plant’s installed base of materials handling equipment. In other words, further capital investment was not an option. Rather the goal was to further capitalize on the investments made in existing machinery.

A complication in this project was that the new product family, for which the line was being adapted, brings with it more component variables, thus increasing the complexity of the entire line.

With its controls engineering expertise, DataRealm had the expertise to approach the assignment, from both ends - input and output. Its engineers knew a critical measure of their success would be ensuring robotic loaders could handle the wider range of variable components that came with the increase in the overall complexity of the manufacturing process.

An added complication was altering the materials handling equipment to be in perfect alignment with the rest of the equipment on the line, which was also being adapted to handle greater component variability.

DataRealm initiated the project with a detailed review of the situation and requirements. This is seen as critical to ensuring key goals are understood and an appropriate technical solution is designed, in this case, a plan to redeploy installed equipment. Underlying its ability to do this is the depth the company has in all aspects of production.

With this background, DataRealm’s controls engineers conducted a full review of the requirements, including the degree of accuracy required for the movement of the line’s components.

DataRealm then moved into programming mode. Its experience with a wide range of control devices played in its favour. Even facing what could be a daunting challenge. Although the programmable logic controllers housed in the gantry were not widely used, this proved to be no problem to DataRealm.

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