ATC Automation Controls the Solution

ATC Automation was recently approached to provide a large, automated assembly and test solution with some unique challenges. The customer required an extensive data collection and traceability system that was free of human interaction and that maximized through put.

A palletized conveyor system was designed that transported the product from station to station. ATC's control engineers developed a system that alleviated any "bottle necks" by staging pallets at station pre-stops. This insured the system never "starved" for product or had any operator interaction. The pallets were designed "two-up" and accommodated different sizes and SKU's. As a result of planning and engineering, ATC was able to reduced expensive pallets while maximizing flexibility.

Meeting the required through put during the laser welding processes also posed a challenge. Laser welding was required at several stages of the assembly process. For accuracy, the parts were automatically removed from the pallet and located in separate tooling to provide a highly precision weld. By balancing the stations and utilizing a unique "time share" process, multiple lasers were able to deliver the precise laser power needed for the weld.

A RFID system was developed to automatically identify and track each part of the product's assembly processes. Once identified with the RFID system, a data collection system was designed that recorded the processes ensuring the customer had ready access to the variable data.

Innovation and experience with pallets, tooling, laser welding, and controls enabled ATC to build this system. The desired cycle time was met and all the necessary data was identified and recorded for traceability.