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.
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.