The requirement for strict specification and acceptance of all automotive parts and components has greatly increased in recent years. Thread inspection is no exception. Some of the common practices are eddy current probes, lasers, proximity sensors or vision systems that are only partly successful as they only inform you of the presence of a thread, not if it’s correct or within tolerance. Watch the video
The automated thread checking solution from SMAC enables a 100% detailed inspection and verification of all parts. It also identifies tooling wear sooner, and allows SPC data acquisition for process control and quality systems. All of this translates to higher quality and throughput, lower costs and increased customer confidence. This is typically an inline inspection operating at production rates.
Extend Valve’s Life. Valve Control for Liquid Filler or Nitrogen dosing.
Air Cylinders and cam driven filler valves are difficult to changeover and have little or no adjustability during the actual filling process. Spring return slamming of the valve reduces valve life.
Valves, whether liquid filler or nitrogen dosing, have spring return that closes the valve in case of air/power loss. This spring force is lighter on gas valves like nitrogen dosing where the forces to overcome them are more within range of SMAC actuators. Liquid valves springs can have higher forces, especially if they are used to fill high viscous material like syrups. These high viscous materials require much higher spring forces to close them. The downside to using a spring return is that the associated slamming of the valve close prematurely wears out the valve sealing surfaces and reduces the life expectancy of these expensive valves. SMAC actuators can gently control this closing and extend the valve’s life.
SMAC has developed a unique solution for what is believed to be the fastest and most precise three axis pick and place system in the world today.
A solution was needed for a multi-national Japanese manufacturer of luxury goods who were required to both significantly increase product output and improve the flexibility of the manufacturing process.
This highly innovative solution was custom designed by SMAC’s design engineering team in Carlsbad, California, USA. The customer was supplied with a completely pre-assembled, individual parts handling solution. It was designed to be quickly retrofitted into the existing production system within the customer’s factory. One of the key features of the SMAC Moving Coil Actuator solution is that by design it has inherent positioning and feedback capability, a closed loop system that ensures no external sensors or switches are required. This dramatically reduces the amount of external wiring required and facilitates both quick installation and 100% diagnostic feedback and data. The solution was rigorously tested in advance of delivery and ready to install as a turnkey unit. The pick and place system integrated two Multipole Moving Coil Actuators (MCA) one of which was a two axis rotary unit. The Y axis unit, part number MLA15-50 had a stroke of 50mm and the Z unit, part number MLRA15-30, has a stroke of 30mm and an in-built rotary axis of 180 degrees. Due to the exceptionally high speeds and high duty cycle air cooling was used to keep the temperature of the actuators constant. The electronic actuators achieve an exceptionally high degree of speed, accuracy and repeatability by the use of specially designed internal components and SMAC’s high performance electronics. C-sleeve linear guides deliver exceptionally high life expectancy, and a high resolution encoder is integrated into an optimized size footprint. The SMAC system is complemented by four high speed Galil electronic controllers which were incorporated into the solution.
The new system enables perfect quality and allows production times to be tripled. It also enabled the customer to increase manufacturing throughput and flexibility by rapidly switching to new parts for different products quickly. Previously, manual machine change over of parts was required. The SMAC solution reduced existing cycle times from 900 milliseconds to 300 milliseconds while being operated 24/7. It is now believed that the SMAC solution sets a new benchmark as the fastest and most accurate pick and place machine automation system in the world. Because it is SMAC proprietary technology, it can be freely used for other customers and other applications. It is ideally suited for the handling of any micro-components where fracturing and damage occurs during the production process when using conventional solutions such as pneumatic devices, ball screw and servo systems. It is particularly suited to SMT and chip placing applications.
The bore inside a fuel injector part is in a deep-drawn metal part inside of a plastic injection molded body. Sometimes during the injection molding process, the bore is crushed. Gauging, performed by LVDTs, load cells and air cylinders, left marks on the fuel injector plugs being measured, causing all of them to be rejected by the end customer, a major automobile company. The parts manufacturer turned to SMAC for a solution.
Gauging is now done with a plug gauge on the end of an LAL20-25 (with a maximum of 100 grams force) to detect if the hole is undersized, crushed or dented in, without marking the part during the process. The customer states that with the SMAC technology applied, that they are able to detect obstructions in the bore as small as five to 10 microns.
Delicate touch means that contact surfaces can still be measured even if they have different shapes, texture or compressibility.
SMAC electric actuators (Moving Coil Technology) are replacing conventional pneumatics in standard QC and Switch Test applications due to the high degree of precise force control and programmability.
Major global manufacturers of mobile phones are replacing their in-house pneumatic production and test systems with SMAC electric actuator systems. The major reason for the change is the precise force control which allows the testing of different parts of the phone key pad with different forces, extremely difficult and costly to do with old fashioned pneumatic devices. Also, highly accurate positioning control within 20 microns is possible, and the unique SMAC electric actuator solution also delivers a more compact and neater solution with lower installation, maintenance and running costs.
The SMAC electric actuator systems provide 100% feedback and data provision for the manufacturer’s QC checking, SPC and quality systems. This in-line testing significantly improved quality, reduced waste and increased efficiency during production.
A medical device manufacturer needed to test a heart valve material for long term fatigue. They wanted to duplicate the heart beat profile to simulate actual conditions.
Because SMAC actuators can be programmed to develop the heart beat motion profile, they were a perfect choice for the application. By measuring the force used to stretch the material to the prescribed length, the gradual degradation of the material could be continuously monitored.
Key Operational Details:
Each finger is driven by an independent linear actuator
Each finger is programmable in position and force
Independently operated fingers means that parts need not be precisely centered
Complicated motion profiles can be generated to accurately simulate heartbeats.
Force can be monitored, so as the material degrades the resulting change in force as the material is exercised can be used to indicate a failure mode without stopping the test.
The current method for leak detect has been tapping on the top of lid and sensing the pressure. This is difficult technique with low accuracy.
Sense side of bottle, push with specific force and determining the movement to determine pressure in bottle. This is primarily in bottles pressurized by nitrogen filled bottles (soda, etc.) where they are more solid. If there is a leak the spring back is greater. The cycle rate is 20 Hz.
Beyond Bottles: This same solution can be used for soft pouch packaging such as contact lenses or coffee “pods.”
This application rejects bottles or cans from a filling line.
The level of liquid in the bottle determines if it is accepted or rejected. This is sensed as the bottle passes through an inspection process upstream from the actuator station. If it fails this test a signal is given to the SMAC controller to perform a cycle. There is a delay between the bottle being sensed and the signal being given, which is controlled by a PLC on the line.
There are two routines programmed into the unit. The first (program “A”) is a two-stage move consisting of a slow move out to an interrupt position, followed by a fast out and retract move. The second (program “B”) is a simple out and retract, for high speed applications. There are three “A” profiles set in the controller and one “B” profile, along with an edit routine for each. The three different “A” profiles are selected using input channels, the program has to be stopped and MS240 typed to run profile “B.” There are a number of registers used to store the three positions (start, interrupt, final) and two accelerations (initial, final). Editing is done through an OMRON PLC using the RS232. All setup is by touch screen via RS232 to the controller. The operator sets the profile needed. The LAL90-50 actuator and LAC1 controller sit inside a stainless steel box. This is necessary as the unit will be in an environment that will be washed down regularly. The rod exits the box through a 10mm wiper seal. The cable from the actuator will have the 25-pin D-type connector replaced by a 15-pin connector and will plug directly into the controller.
The SMAC system improves upon the previous method because: – The previous system was pneumatic, and if the cylinder did not reject any bottles for several hours and then had to reject one, static friction in the seals would cause the first cycle to be slow and ejector could be hit by the next bottle in the line. – The profile can be changed for different bottle shapes. Slow approach then high speed means bottles do not fall over, an important factor for high-cost liquid bottling. This could not be done with the previous system. – Out and back movements in 50ms means the actuator is suitable for lines up to 1,200 bottles per minute, good for filling glass bottles. (Cans run about 2,200 per minute and are usually split into two inspection lines of 1,100 per minute each.)
Problem: Traditionally the pneumatic cylinder is used to control a valve for liquid nitrogen dosing. The pneumatic cylinder gave an impact on the valve when closing. The liquid nitrogen is cooling the valve seal to temperatures that metal seals are like glass and become brittle. Impact damages the closing seal so that they need replacement every half year. This shuts down the line for quite a long time.
Solution: SMAC actuators’ highly repeatable & positioning coupled with high speed allows the user to more precisely & repeatedly control the dosing amount. SMAC actuators also allow for easy change over for different dosing requirements. Another advantage is the life of the SMAC actuators as well as the extended life of the dosing valve, as SMAC’s unique Soft-Land function prevents damage to the valve when closing. This will result in increasing valve’s life time. These features will increase uptime and increase profitability for end user.
Better force control of liquid nitrogen dose for cost savings on the amount of liquid nitrogen used. (Soft-Land)
SMAC actuator is fully programmable in force, speed, and position.
SMAC actuator can be easily set-up and make quick change via GUI to run a different motion profile for the liquid nitrogen valve. No mechanical adjustments required.
Programmable motion profile dosing valve.
Dosing valve stroke verification.
SMAC actuator’s exceptional long-life over 100,000,000 cycles increasing uptime and lowering replacement cost.
SMAC electric actuators can reject or divert a single container only, at line speeds over 1200 containers/minute. Movement of container is smooth, fast, and gentle with unique Soft-Land™ feature. Container will not tip over because of force and velocity control. First the actuator must slowly make contact and start the bottle moving then do the high speed push after 10mm or so of movement. Total out and back is 50ms, 1200/min.
Multi-Lane Rejection and Sorting Systems
SMAC is capable of sorting and rejecting containers into different lanes. For example: Lane #1 is used for bottles with missing caps, Lane #2 is used for unlabeled bottles. The sorting capabilities of SMAC can be individually programmed and tailored to your application.