Industrial robots are daily in auto body shops and have facilitated substantial productivity improvements over the last 50 years. But, the reality is that robots are only as effective as the conveyance systems that move the vehicle’s chassis. Unfortunately, in many automobile plants today, poor conveyance systems pose the primary issue hindering performance improvement.
The issue with conventional conveyance Technology
Both flexibility and throughput are limited by the conveyance technology used in automotive manufacturing. Chain conveyors, roller beds, and even skillet conveyors typically run at fixed speeds and, in most cases, at fixed pitches. In an assembly plant for automobiles, the whole transfer system is constantly being powered and operating at the same rate. As a result, the transporters cannot accelerate, decelerate or precisely place a particular chassis upon completing a specific process step.
Although some systems are designed to permit a variation in “pitch” or the distance among the mover, in most instances, this distance cannot be easily adjusted to accommodate different models. Additionally, conventional conveyors are built on complicated mechanical designs comprising belts, chains and rollers, and gears. Often hundreds of worn components. These complex, large-scale designs are not just challenging to alter. However, they also are prone to unplanned downtime and maintenance.
The most significant thing is that conventional transfer systems that rely on friction rely on rotary motor technology. Rotary motors add inertia when used in linear applications. They introduce several mechanical components and limit the improvement of speed and acceleration.
How can Automakers Enhance Efficiency in Conveyance Systems?
The latest advancements in independent cart conveyor systems based on linear motor technology provide incredible performance gains. Linear motor technology permits conveyor modules to be designed from end to end, creating an electromagnetic force that propels carts much faster than conventional systems. Due to this, linear motors do not have contact or wear parts, which requires minimal maintenance. However, linear motors are only one aspect.
The ability to control motion is crucial for increased efficiency, flexibility, and long-term sustainability. By using embedded position sensors and control software, you can have independent control over every car in the course. Accelerations, decelerations and velocities, and positions can be controlled. Instead of moving with a set speed, the vehicle’s body parts can swiftly move through robot workstations once the process stages are finished.
The result is a “pitchless” system that is more efficient in energy and 30% more efficient than traditional friction-based transfer systems. In addition, because the speed increase allows using more industrial robots and other processing equipment and equipment, the overall system footprint is smaller than conventional systems. Furthermore, the highly adaptable system can deal with various model types and expand efficiently due to its modularity.