Automotive Parts Industry Accelerates Upgrade to Automation

Published At: 2022-12-19

1 Background

Today's case is about one of ELITE Robot's clients, which is an automotive manufacturer in East China. The company has been dedicated to the auto parts industry for nearly 30 years, and its business scope covers a wide range of categories such as automotive interior and exterior trim, seats, rubber, automotive electronics, and software systems. It mainly provides system solutions for international famous brand automobile manufacturers such as Changan Auto, GWM and Chery, and is committed to promoting the intelligent transformation of the global automotive industry.

2 Pain Point

The case is around the client's two injection molding workshops which mainly produce automotive interior injection molding products, including central control, door trim strips, and armrest boxes. The unloading of injection molding machines is generally handled by truss-type robots, and the assembly and bayonet installation of their armrest boxes are also basically done manually. With the production capacity and the order volume increasing exponentially, the issues such as increasing labor costs and difficulties of employment have also risen. Therefore, it is pressing for the client to improve the automation of the production line.

The customer had tried to use traditional industrial robots. However, traditional industrial robots are not suitable for the increasing small batch and multi-variety orders as they have a large footprint, require heavy modification of the original production line, and are not highly reusable. So the client considered using a cobot. After much understanding, the customer chose to work with ELITE Robot which has many real success stories.

3 Solution

This project is about applying the robot to the automatic installation of snap fasteners for door trim strips. A total of 20 white plastic snap fasteners were required to be installed for two sizes of door trim strips within 60 seconds. The workers were only responsible for loading and unloading the workpieces. It was necessary to ensure that the manual operation would not be affected by any issue with the machine. After inspection of the workshop site and in-depth communication, the customer chose the ELITE Robot EC66 cobot with 6kg load, 914mm working radius and ±0.03mm repeated positioning accuracy. Considering the short cycle time, the integrator added a pneumatic quick-change disc at the end of the robot and designed a clip-type snap chamber specifically. Because of its small size and lightweight, the ELITE Robot cobot was placed in the middle of the workbench, with two fixtures on either side of the robot to hold the workpiece in place. In this way, while one side of the robot snaps on, the other side fills the snap chamber, which are alternating between the two sides. The final project delivery met the customer's cycle time requirements and successfully saved labor costs in onefore work station, paving the way for future workshop transformation.

In addition, the cobot can also be competent for flexible production: for the small batch and multi-variety production mode that clients pay attention to, the program of the cobot can be preset. When the product batch is changed, new programs can be quickly called and the robots can be debugged to quickly put into new tasks, helping users to greatly shorten the production line change time. What's more, the cost-effective cobots provide users with improved line automation with an ROI period of only 8-12 months.

4 Outlook

The application of cobots in production lines on the workshop has significantly facilitated automation in the industry. ELITE Robot continues to leverage the advantages of cobots in terms of safety, ease of use, flexibility, and efficiency, and provides customers with more comprehensive and reliable application solutions based on practical experience in real cases.

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