Automation consultancy GB Innomech (Innomech) has developed a new high speed automated product packaging system that will help SG Technologies – a global leader in the production of high performance magnetic components – to more than double the production capacity for one of its highest volume products.
Innomech has designed the new system to automate a particularly labour-intensive and repetitive product packaging process for a series of components that are used within automotive fuel injectors. The new fully customised system gives SG Technologies the option to increase production throughput for this product line by 150%, while also improving its manufacturing process efficiency and reducing work in progress. It also means the company’s skilled operators can focus on more varied and challenging manufacturing tasks such as short production runs of highly specialised parts.
The automated system eliminates all manual handling of finished magnetic components as they are being transferred from work in progress trays into specially-designed packaging trays ready for shipment. It has also been configured to handle two distinct product families, each containing multiple variants and without requiring any manual adjustment. The system works by gently sweeping the components onto a conveyor belt, a high speed laser micrometer verifies the height of each part to within a few microns, and then a Codian ‘pick and place’ robot transfers five components at a time into a packaging tray.
“Innomech has developed the ideal system to automate a potentially rate-limiting product packaging process and to provide us with increased flexibility and capacity to meet fastgrowing and changing customer demands. The system also removes any risk of potential damage to products through manual handling which is critical in our drive towards zero defect manufacturing and even greater process efficiencies,” said Stuart Hutcheon, commercial director at SG Technologies.
Innomech was first appointed by SG Technologies to carry out an in-depth feasibility study and to recommend the most cost-effective way of automating the company’s existing manual packaging process. The consultancy’s automation specialists then built a working prototype to demonstrate key aspects of the system before proceeding with the design and development phase. The new system has been designed to operate 24/7 and took around 10 months to develop from initial concepts through to system build, test and integration into the client’s existing production line.