ProDispense – Always accurate and Always Correct

Problem

An axle manufacturer has had ongoing issues with accurate filling of gear oils in axle hubs and center differentials due to the operator having to manually select the oil dispensed along with the quantity of oil being dispensed into a given axle. There would be issues with the operator selecting the incorrect oil or volume of oil which often resulted in quality issues of an axle or batch of axles. There was no way to confirm which oil and volume of oil was dispensed into a given axle, which operator did the dispensing on a given axle. All data was on the build sheet for the axle and it was the responsibility of multiple operators and quality technicians to ensure it was filled correctly. All build sheets would have to be read by operators on both sides of the line, then they would have to select the correct oil and volume of oil based on what they read or thought they had read. Quality tracing was extremely difficult using this method. Oil spills and drips were also extremely common, leading to waste and safety concerns

Air Power Solution

Multiple Graco ProDispense systems have been introduced to the facility to eliminate these issues by utilizing advanced technology and programming to ensure error free selecting and filling of fluids. The facilities engineering team will be integrating the ProDispense into their existing PLC’s with new HMI’s which will contain each axles information and location in real time on the line. This will allow each axle’s build sheet to be loaded into the system. By using the axle’s build sheets in the system each operator will touch each axle’s hub or center diff on the HMI which will automatically select the correct oil and oil fill volume for that particular component which will have been preloaded into the PLC and ProDispense by the engineering team. Once the location on the axle has been touched on the HMI the ProDispense will have the appropriate recipe selected via the PLC and the system will illuminate an LED light next to the correct hose reel which contains the appropriate oil. The operator will then unwind the hose reel and dispense valve and insert it into the appropriate oil fill port. Once that is done they will touch the start button on the HMI which will trigger the ProDispense to fill the appropriate volume into the axle. This information will be recorded in their network and will be easily traced back to the axle, oil used and operator performing the fill for traceability. The ProDispense will accurately dispense the correct oil every time within +/- 1%. This will reduce rework, defects and axle failures for the end user. We are utilizing no drip valves to ensure drip free operation to reduce waste and spills to improve safety at the line sides.

Prodispense

Effect

The ProDispense allows for accurate selecting, fill tracking, capturing data associated with each fill to prevent defects, failures, waste and improves safety and accuracy of the entire filling process. Repeatability of the process with operators both new to the line and veterans is much improved as each selection is now automated by the system.

Prodispense

 

Controlling Viscosity through Proper Temperature Control

Problem

Automotive manufacturer was having trouble controlling their paint viscosity with the change in temperature in their facility from morning to afternoon.  The customer was constantly changing fluid pressure to try and keep up.

Air Power Solution

Controlling Viscosity

With Air Power’s partnership with Saint Clair Systems we offered the customer a solution providing them with a Temperature Control Unit and heat exchanges for each color for each of their spray booths.

The Customer Experienced the following benefits:

  • Maintained constant viscosity at point of use to their automatic spray system.
  • Reduced re-works which reduced labor and paint costs.
  • Learned about other deficiencies by maintaining constant viscosity
  • Improved and kept a consistent appearance on all vehicles

Effect

The above benefits save the customer TIME and MONEY!

Controlling Viscosity Setup

 

Schmalz Vacuum Lifter Case Study

Problem

A local chemical supplier has to manually inspect and repack bags of their product which has been requiring manually lifting, inspecting and repacking of 60lb bags from one pallet to another. This has introduced an ergonomic liability for the manufacturer and has opened the door for multiple operators to injure themselves. The answer has been to station multiple operators (5-6) in the area to tackle this problem. They rotate lifting, repacking, and inspecting to limit the risk and keep everyone safe.

Air Power Solution

Schmalz Vacuum Lifter

A custom solution provided by Air Power consisting of Schmalz vacuum lifters, Gorbel jibs and Presto P3 spring lift/turntables. The one handed bag lifter allows the operators to effortlessly lift the bags after inspection to be repacked on the next pallet. The Gorbel jibs allow them to reach multiple pallets from a single vacuum lifting system. The P3 turntables allow the operator to maintain a very small footprint by bringing the bags to them via the turntable rotation. It also prevents bending, stretching and reaching for bags with the vacuum lifter which reduces operator injury risk and allows the vacuum lifter to maintain a vertical lift throughout the unpacking and repacking of pallets.

Effect

What formally took 5-6 operators to complete is now completed using 2 operators with a much reduced injury and fatigue risk for the operators. They are able to alternate inspection and repacking effortlessly between them throughout the day since they are no longer manually handling the bags. The takt time of each inspecting and repacking operation has been reduced as well due to the speed and ergonomics at which the single handed vacuum lifter operates.

Schmalz Lifter

Isolated Paint Control Panel Brings Consistency and Speedy Changeovers to the Production Line

Problem

A local gearbox manufacturer has had ongoing issues with multiple paint operators making changes to the paint system throughout the day. They rotate painters every couple of hours so the paint quality and consistency is all over the board throughout the day. We have isolated the spray gun controls and implemented electrostatic painting but they still have issues. All colors run through a manual color change manifold and fluid pressure regulator which limits the fluid pressure even when color changing. There are also issues when the colors aren’t changed on a long run that the other colors settle out in the lines.

Air Power Solution

Paint Control Panel

Air Power built a custom, lockable, control panel with a multitude of controls for the company and for the operators.

  1. Hi/Lo fluid pressure settings though independent air regulators controlling a single Graco air piloted fluid pressure regulator. These are set with supervision and management and are locked from the operators. They have 2 fluid pressures to select from and nothing else to minimize operator adjustments. Pressure selected is visible via included gauges.
  2. Select-able color valve stack via a rotary control to select the color being sprayed as well as the solvent flush.
  3. Graco back pressure regulators on each recirculating line for the 3 colors to allow paints to recirculate when not in use.
  4. Atomizing air pressure adjusted internally and locked out from the operators.
  5. Integrated inlet air filtration to ensure clean, dry air to feed the spray gun

Effect

This solution will eliminate the operators each making many adjustments throughout the day and tighten the quality and consistency of their paint process. It will also speed up color changes now that they are select-able via the color stack rotary control along with a flush setting that will allow full solvent pressure to clear the lines. When the flush cycle is selected the atomizing air will be cut off to eliminate the estat safety concern associated with a solvent flush. The re-circulation of the colors will improve the quality and consistency of each color when selected via the color stack. The integrated air filtration will extend the service life of the spray gun while improving the quality of the paint process also.

Ingersoll Rand – Makes it Easy

One of the main causes of injury in a manufacturing facility is due to lifting heavy objects. In this case study, Air Power helps a customer eliminate the risk of injury with an Ingersoll Rand custom monorail lifting system.

 

Challenge

 

A local machinery manufacturer has had issues finding a suitable solution to include as part of their OEM machinery builds. They had a history of using electrical hoists and I beam trolleys which have not been well received by their end-users. The previous offerings by others were hard to maneuver and difficult to position the load for final placement.

 

Air Power Solution

 

Air Power proposed an Ingersoll Rand Zimmerman rail system, which are easily adaptable, cost-effective and easy to use. We designed a system for them that included 4 individual monorails with rigid mount hanger kits to increase clearance and ZAW air balancers with pendant controls for load lifting and proper part positioning.  The solution allows each of the 4 sides of their machine to be covered from end to end.

 

Results

 

The proposed solution provided the necessary benefits including:

  1. The ZRA1 monorails utilized minimum push/pull forces, allowing ergonomics on the operator and ease of use.
  2. For future integrations, the individual monorails provide an easily adaptable solution, should the OEM design change over time.
  3. The aluminum profile ZRA1 provided a reduction in solution weight.
  4. The ZAW air balancers allow the end-user to position the load close to its final destination then use the “float” of the balancer for final (and exact) placement of the part; further enhancing the user experience.

Assemble Faster with IR DC Tools

The assembly process in manufacturing plants typically is the largest drain on human labor resources.  Anything that can be done to speed up that assembly process is critical.  Especially, if it creates a reduction of labor and increased throughput, and increased quality in the final product.

 

Customer

A Global supplier of compression molded plastic parts to tier 1 automotive, Heavy Truck and bus, Heavy equipment, marine, reactional vehicle manufacturers.

 

Challenge

This company has 3 work cells installing multiple fasteners into door panels for Tier 1 automotive.  They were using two tools per station (One DC, One pneumatic) and manually inserting and driving to torque 3 fasteners.  This resulted in 3, 8-hour shifts of assembly 5-6 days a week to meet production demands.  With this process, torque values were not being collected and there was no assurance of quality.  Resulting in inconsistent quality, frequent rework, and often rejected batches of parts.

 

Air Power’s Solution

Air Power, Inc. in Partnership with Design Tool Inc. (DTI) proposed a solution utilizing both Ingersoll Rand DC Tools and DTI screw feeders.  This would reduce Takt time thanks to the DTI screw feeders and assure consistent torque values and alert if there was an issue from bad fasteners,cross-threading, etc.

 

DC Tool System with Screw feeder

Result

Utilizing the DC tools along with the DTI Screw Feeders we were able to dramatically reduce takt time, increase quality, and dramatically reduce the amount of labor needed to meet production demands.

  • Labor was reduced from (3) 8-hour shifts running 5-6 days a week to (1) shift 4 days a week.
  • First Pass quality increased by 80%
  • Rework is almost non-existent because any defects in fasteners or torque are corrected or captured in the work cell instead of at the end-user or in the quality department.

 

 

 

From Obsolete to Upgrade

 

Many manufacturers struggle with finding new parts to maintain old equipment that is integral to their manufacturing process. In this case study, Air Power finds a solution to replace obsolete equipment and get this customer back in production.

Customer

A Manufacturer of foam-filled plastic parts

Challenge

The customer was having trouble with their old, worn-out mix valve on their dispense system. The old equipment needed repairs that required parts that had been discontinued by the manufacturer.  Every 45 minutes of runtime the customer would have to swap heads and do a cleaning on the used head. The customer was informed that a newer version of their system would become available, but they simply could not wait any longer and needed a solution today.

 

Air Power Solution

Air Power Account Manager Matt Graham proposed a Graco HFR with a Paradyne  Two-Component Dynamic Mix Valve to replace the existing equipment. The Graco Paradyne Dynamic Mix Valve is a rotary static valve that consistently mixes and dispenses materials requiring exceptional mixing energy. Engineered with rugged components and precision controls that eliminate dispensing inconsistencies, reduce maintenance downtime, and optimize material usage.

The Paradyne Valve Reliably mixes and dispenses difficult foaming polyurethanes, low viscosity silicones, and other hard to blend two component chemistries.

  • Easily integrates with Graco meter, mix, and dispense systems like the EFR, PR70, or HFR for a complete dispensing solution.
  • Control system delivers precision RPM control, and real time monitoring for dispensing process stability.
  • Built with durable check valves and disposable mixers that reduce maintenance and downtime.

This solution allowed the customer to be back in production quickly and allow them to continue to use their current process. With the help of our Dispense Specialist team; Jeff Pittman, Adam Kearns, and Neal Cutler, we were able to find a solution that integrated into their current system to minimize downtime and the cost of the upgrade.

 

Install_Graco Voltex Mix Valve

 

Results

 

This customer was extremely happy with the results. They are back in production with no hiccups. The Graco HFR and Paradyne mix valve integrated seamlessly with their current process.  Air Power’s solution saved them money in downtime and integrated with their current process to minimize costs.  The new system allowed the customer to run for four hours without any maintenance and at the end of four hours they just have to change the static mixer. They are happy to be back in production and planning to upgrade a few more systems with the help of Air Power Manufacturing Solutions! If you are interested in upgrading equipment in your manufacturing facility, Call Air Power today!

 

Dispense_Graco_VOltex

Spray Finishing Made Mobile

In this case study, Air Power Account Manager Austin Lambright helped this customer eliminate pain points in their finishing process, allowing them to save time and money in production costs.

 

CHALLENGE

The customer has a 90ft DOD aircraft that is coated with a very short pot life, a very expensive material. Because of the short pot life, several painters would have to mix an individual pressure pot and all spray the plane at the same time. This caused a lot of waste in material and was time-consuming.

 

AIR POWER SOLUTION

By using a mobile cart with a large Graco EnduraFlo 4:1 diaphragm pump, we are able to feed 4 painters with one central paint vessel. This not only cuts down on a lot of waste, but also simplifies the prep and clean up process, ultimately saving money both in material cost, maintenance, and production time. An all-around process improvement.

 

Graco Endura Flo Cart Solution

 

RESULTS

The customer drastically improved production process time, labor hours, and material savings in their paint process.

 

Graco Endura Flo Cart2

 

Graco Endura Flo Cart