Inverted Assembly Line Conveyor

Inverted Assembly Line Conveyor

Overhead conveyors adapted for floor mounting help keep things moving smoothly at Shadwood Enterprise Limited. The company’s new production facility in North Bay, Ontario manufactures automatic portable battery charger units. From the beginning, Shadwood management knew what it wanted – a smooth, orderly production operation. After a floor layout was prepared, Pacline Corporation of Mississauga was asked to design and supply a conveyor system to handle the product through each stage of assembly. PACLINE’s conveyor systems are usually used as overhead conveyors, however, for this application a unique twist was required. In the North Bay facility, the Pacline Conveyor is inverted and floor mounted. Installing the overhead system in this manner allows Shadwood to convey trays fixed to the conveyor chain. Each 16 x 12 inch tray contains two compartments and is mounted on a 24-inch center. The floor stand frame supports the light banks and carpet faced assembly tables, which are 18 inches wide. According to plant manager Paul Stroz, “The assembly process makes use of one of four Pacline inverted assembly lines, each of which are approximately 100 feet long, and one Pacline overhead conveyor approximately 150 feet long. The four inverted conveyors handle our entire range of products. Sub-assemblies are brought together “kitted” and placed on the specially designed tray. The product moves through three different stages on the inverted line. Assembly operators remove a kit from the tray, assemble, and place it back on the conveyor.” “A particular advantage is that empty trays, and trays of “kitted” component groups are constantly circulating past the assembly operators. If they are not ready for the tray the first...
Overhead Conveyor Streamlines Instrument Panel Production

Overhead Conveyor Streamlines Instrument Panel Production

Nearly 1 mile of overhead, enclosed conveyor track at Guelph Products links sequential manufacturing steps and provides transport of parts to a just-in-time (JIT) staging area prior to shipment. The track is installed at Geulph Products’ 200,000 sq. ft. manufacturing plant in Guelph Products, Ontario, located 45 miles from Chrysler’s main assembly plant in Bramalea, Ontario. Guelph, a division of Chrysler, manufactures instrument panels, door panels and steering columns for the Chrysler Eagle Premier. To streamline the productions process, the plant partially assembles 350 instrument panels daily. The 25 lb. panels are maintained up to 1-1/2 days prior to final assembly and shipment to the main vehicle assembly line. Providing continuous flow The PAC-LINE™ conveyor system provides continuous flow of parts from a preliminary manufacturing area, through processing and subassembly stages, to the storage and accumulation area. Maximum conveyor travel speed is 24 feet per minute. The system consists of four individual conveyor lines for paint, wash storage accumulation, and storage and delivery. Each line performs an important function in the manufacturing process, explains Dick Carter, maintenance superintendent. The 700 sq. ft. long paint line transports panel components through a spray booth where a protective coating is applied to the parts. Special fixtures mounted on 24″ centers carry the vinyl instrument panel skins along the line. A separate 130 ft. long line processes smaller parts. The enclosed track design prevents the coating from reaching the conveyor chain or bearings. The 700 ft. long wash line conveys the panels through a ceiling mounted wash tunnel. The automated line keeps the parts clean by minimizing manual handling. The three-tier storage accumulation line provides temporary...
Two Jobs, One Conveyor

Two Jobs, One Conveyor

The Challenge When a leading automotive parts manufacturer needed to install a powder coating line for condenser coils, they had two issues to resolve: First, they needed to conserve both the floor space and oven size as much as possible. Secondly, they needed to have a quality control system that would allow them to identify and address paint and assembly issues without disrupting the curing process. The Pacline Conveyor Solution This company used a Pacline Power and Free Overhead Conveyor as a solution. The system was designed with two separate conveyor tracks. One track carried parts for paint processing on 24″ spacing. After processing, these parts moved onto a separate track where they were then rotated for “close pack” accumulation on 7″ spacing in the curing ovens. On the process line track a Quality Assurance system was integrated that allowed the parts manufacturer to view paint and assembly quality without disturbing the separate curing line track. Results Overall, the system length was reduced by two thirds on the curing line allowing for reduced floor space and more importantly, a 60% smaller oven. Pacline Power and Free Conveyor trolleys are over 20% smaller than most, which helped to further reduce accumulation space in the oven. In addition, the PACLINE trolley configuration allowed for accumulation around a tight 180 degree curve in the oven, without any bumping. An additional challenge with this system was establishing drive speed and pusher dog synchronization between the separate process and cure chains. However, PACLINE’s conveyor software addressed these issues with seamless integration resulting in a complete system that runs smoothly and efficiently. Learn more about our Power and Free overhead conveyor systems from our...
Length Matters

Length Matters

Moving long parts through multiple processes in manufacturing. Ever notice the size of those overhead highway signs that we all rely on to get ourselves to where we need to go?  As a manufacturer or material handling organization you may wonder how items such as these – up to 50 feet long – can be maneuvered through various assembly and finishing processes. ROCAL Inc. located in Frankfort, Ohio was facing this issue in the manufacturing of their large highway signs.  ROCAL produces a wide range of signage products including highway signs, regulatory and specialty signs. Part of the production process for ROCAL’s aluminum signs involves a wash and chemical treatment process of the individual panels that are bolted together to make the final sign.  When ROCAL came to PACLINE, this part of the process was being done outside of ROCAL’s facility and they wanted to find a way to handle this process in-house rather than outsource it. So the challenge was how could ROCAL carry panels up to 50 feet long within their existing manufacturing plant in a manner that would both be time and cost efficient. The PACLINE CONVEYOR Solution After consulting with PACLINE engineers, a compact layout was configured that both automated the feeding of panels through the washer and treatment process, while minimizing the overall footprint of the system.  To meet all the requirements of this application a Pacline Power and Free conveyor was selected.  This conveyor system offers the flexibility of using both manual and powered sections.  In addition, the powered portions can automatically buffer carriers by accumulating them in the same manner as cars accumulate...
How to Store 1,000 Parts in 100 Square Feet of Floor Space

How to Store 1,000 Parts in 100 Square Feet of Floor Space

In both manufacturing and warehousing, workers are constantly challenged with minimizing floor space requirements while maximizing storage capacity. Typical solutions may include installing in a few extra racks at the end of a busy aisleway, double-stacking skids on already-filled shelves or narrowing aisleways to place more product on the floor. In doing so, they must still safely maneuver and coordinate a multitude of forklifts around blind corners, and across pedestrian walkways, and track storage locations, which are constantly changing due to lack of space and shuffling of skids in small spaces. The Challenge This particular company was one of several located on Toyota’s supplier campus. They had been selected by Toyota to supply the foam seat cushions for the Tundra pickup truck. These foam seat cushions are produced through a molding process that involves a 90-minute cure time. During the cure time, the cushions must sit at room temperature with minimal handling to ensure a top quality product. The Toyota seat supplier needed a solution that would not only minimize handling during transport and curing but also store up to 2,600 parts during curing. In addition, since much of the floor space in the production facility was already allotted for other process machinery, there was very little space left for the curing and storage process. The PACLINE CONVEYOR Solution In many manufacturing environments, such as this one, the space below the ceiling trusses, light fixtures, piping and HVAC and above the floor machinery is unused. Since most operations are conducted on or close to the ground level, this vast amount of space is typically wasted. For this project, PACLINE...
Powered Over/Under Conveyor for Assembly Line

Powered Over/Under Conveyor for Assembly Line

Cardwell Westinghouse is a company whose history goes back over 100 years. The original Westinghouse Air Brake Company was founded by George Westinghouse in 1869. Westinghouse developed the first automatic air brake system that was installed on a Pennsylvania Railroad passenger train in 1872. The efficiency of this new system greatly improved the safety and popularity of rail transportation in North America. This tradition of improving safety and productivity is evident today in everything they do at Cardwell. Recently, John Olavarria, warranty and reliability engineer for Westinghouse, headed the productivity improvement process for the production line of their 2300 DJ self adjusting slack adjuster. The slack adjuster is an important part of the body mounted brake systems used on railroad cars. The slack adjuster helps ensure brake performance by accurately adjusting for brake shoe wear that occurs over time. At Cardwell the production of the slack adjuster from raw material to fully assembled, finished product takes place on one line. As Olavarria began to reconfigure the production line, it became obvious that major changes were required at the assembly stage. Manual conveyor system was inefficient and unsafe The existing conveyor system used for assembly of the slack adjuster was a manual free trolley conveyor. The existing carriers on the conveyor line were big, bulky, heavy and becoming damaged from the manual lifting of parts onto the carriers. Old Style Carrier Here’s how the old conveyor system worked: The operator would manually lift the parts into the holding basket on the carrier. The operator would then push the loaded carrier from workstation to workstation with a manual voice notification that...