Semi-automated Equipment Line Outfitted to Run Multiple Devices

Sarah SpeltzCase Study, Complex Assembly Equipment, Error Proofing, Machine Vision Systems, Test Systems

semi-automated equipment line

How Invotec helped one medical device manufacturer meet volume demands of two products with one line

A large medical device manufacturer was ready to invest in an equipment line to produce their newest surgical device. However, with fluctuating volume demands on an existing device, the customer was looking for a line that could potentially handle both devices. Additionally, the equipment would be installed in a China-based facility where the customer would need access to both remote and in-person support.

Invotec collaborated with sister company, HAHN Automation to develop a solution that would resolve each of these challenges. The overall line incorporates both semi-automated and manual stations based on build-to-print designs with modifications to accommodate multiple devices.

The final equipment consists of twelve stations that assist operators with handle and shaft assembly, laser marking, load testing, battery replication, lubricant application, and functional testing at a cycle time of 30 seconds per device. While each station has unique factors, three principles remained a priority throughout the entire line:

  • Flexibility: Stations were designed with custom tooling and nests that can easily be changed out depending on the device that is being run—this involves not only accommodating two devices but also various lengths of each device.
  • Error-proofing: Because the line will run multiple devices, the stations use a series of vision systems to ensure the operator does not mix sub-assemblies during manufacturing.
  • Accessibility: Due to customer requirements, a combination of Allen Bradley and Siemens technology was used. Invotec’s controls engineers made sure that all of these systems worked together. The team also programmed HMIs in English and Chinese so that they can be navigated by operators as well as supported by both Invotec (remotely) and Hahn Automation (locally).

The resulting system helped the customer meet volume demands of two products with a single line.


semi-automated equipment line

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