Today’s inline production in electronics manufacturing is well-rehearsed: Conveyors transport assemblies in line from one process to the next. But the whole thing is rather inflexible. So it’s time to think about new inline production concepts that enable series production as well as small batch production up to batch size 1.
A new line production concept is characterised by maximum flexibility, dynamics and sustainability. It offers forward-looking possibilities not only in the field of electronics manufacturing, but also in other industries and application areas. Transport units that seemingly chaotically move assemblies from one process cell to the next, adapting paths and speeds to achieve the highest possible degree of efficiency, while simultaneously producing the most diverse assemblies in one production line, are the solution to the manufacturing challenges of today and tomorrow.
Such a transport system makes it possible to flexibly transport each mover and thus each product separately and independently through individual process stations and cells and to position them with the utmost precision. This technology, which can completely take over the necessary axis and robot handling systems in many processes, can enable new manufacturing concepts through its functionality. Inline production can be reimagined.
In addition, both the acceleration of the movers and their general speeds are more than impressive in terms of dynamics and the resulting optimisation of cycle times. Thus, the solution resulting from a planar motor system for hovering 2D product transport and 6 degrees of freedom offers maximum flexibility and efficiency for the most diverse process steps. Furthermore, third-party systems and processes can also be easily integrated into an existing production line or automation, as a first project has shown. Here, processes such as palletising, assembling, testing, soldering and de-palletising were implemented in various production cells.
The floating 2D product transport thus combines the advantages of conventional transport and kinematic systems and supplements them with magnetic levitation technology. This opens up new options for product handling. This applies both to the areas inside and outside a machine as well as between the individual process steps. In inline production, this results in design options that cannot be achieved with conventional belt transport systems. For example, the individual freedom of movement of automated guided vehicles is available to the user on a small scale, as individual assemblies can be transported to any location via any route within the production concept.
Consequently, the system combines flexibility with the dynamics of a linear motor. This in turn allows the cycle-time-optimised linking of individual production steps and machines. Because it is also possible to raise or lower assemblies, individual production steps can be significantly supported and simplified. At the same time, the positioning of a product during machining becomes the task of the transport system for the first time. Since the levitation effect replaces any mechanical guide components, a new degree of flexibility is achieved.
As soon as the system is used on free travel paths with a repeat accuracy of 10 µm, it is possible to process different assemblies in a production line simultaneously and independently of sequence and station. The movers transport the assemblies intelligently and in a cycle-time-optimised manner from process station to process station. This massively increases the output and efficiency of the machines used for series production. The contactless transport also minimises the service, maintenance and wear part requirements, which is a step towards sustainability.
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Firma: EUTECT GmbH
Ihr Ansprechpartner: Matthias Fehrenbach