Bespoke automation machine builder, Innomech, is using a TM Robotics supplied Toshiba Machine SCARA robot to automate production for security card manufacturer, ITW Imagedata.
ITW Imagedata (ITW), a global manufacturer of film ribbons and consumables for security and identity cards, knew two particularly labour-intensive – and repetitive – manufacturing tasks were compromising its overall process efficiency and affecting its bottom line. The tasks involved multiple operators with consistently high levels of manual dexterity, which also included adding injection molded drive gear and idle components to the correct ends of wound or empty spools, the spools paired, and the ribbon attached to the start of the take-up spool. Not an easy job.
TM Robotics Provides Flexible, Cost-effective Option
To help accomplish its goals, ITW knew it needed to bring in a company with experience in automating complex manufacturing tasks. Enter Innomech, a designer and developer of advanced automation systems that helps companies integrate solutions like TM Robotics’ Toshiba Machine robots into its assembly lines. Focused on helping ITW improve its manufacturing efficiency through automation, Innomech designed, built, and installed what it called the Spool Pairing Assembly Machine, using Toshiba Machine’s TH650 SCARA from TM Robotics.
Innomech chose the TH650 for its flexibility and cost-effectiveness, along with its 3D pick and place functionality. In addition, the TH650 seamlessly fits into ITW’s workflows; enabling wound spools to be picked from existing WIP trays/tote bins and paired spools that are output from the system to be passed downstream into the flow wrapper.
“The TH650’s low cost and high functionality wasn’t the only reason we selected TM Robotics,” said Tim Mead, managing director of Innomech. “Equally important to us was TM Robotics’ superior customer service. We were able to quickly gain access to very detailed technical support at a critical time in our system development process, and this made a huge difference in the success of this project’s implementation.”
The Results: Seamless Operation and Company-Wide Cost Cutting
ITW’s earlier manual assembly processes involved six people at different stages. With the new Spool Pairing Assembly Machine, the new system obtains the X, Y and Z positions of spools in 3D from a series of parallel laser lines projected across the tote using a vision system and camera and then directs the TH650 to pick spools from the bin. Another bonus? The new machine needs just one operator. Due to the high level of efficiency brought about by the inclusion of TM Robotics’ Toshiba Machine TH650 SCARA, to date ITW has only needed this one machine to fulfill its entire production needs.
“None of ITW’s upstream manufacturing processes had to be amended, there is no need for ‘work in progress’ trays, preloading of parts into special hoppers or double handling of any components,” said David Parmenter, operations manager at ITW.
Innomech’s Spool Pairing Assembly Machine – based on Toshiba Machine’s high functioning TH650 – fits perfectly into ITW’s existing workflows, and has enabled the company to achieve the goals it established on day one of this project: to cut its manufacturing costs, while improving overall production efficiency.
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