Out with the old – how a new product design resulted in a better manufacturing process
June 9, 2020

The scenario

A local manufacturing company had several high-speed production lines in their facility. After making changes to improve the design of one of their products, the existing system was unable to cure the new materials required by the company. In response, the company began sourcing a curing solution that would be able to bond the materials when they ran the new product.

 

Internal testing showed that UV LEDs provided the level of performance required. The LEDs generated UV Light that was exposed to the product as it passed below on a conveyor, bonding the materials together.

 

After selecting the technology and the devices, the company needed a trusted automation technology partner to design, build, and deliver the new system and incorporate it into their existing production environment.

 

The requirements

 

Throughout the project, JAE Automation followed their design process. By working closely with the manufacturer, several requirements were identified. These included:

 

  • An 8-week timeframe for initial delivery and installation of a proof-of-concept unit
  • Shields to prevent leakage of dangerous and damaging UV light
  • Safety systems that integrated with the existing machine’s control system
  • The ability to remove the UV LEDs when not in use
  • Ensuring the mechanical assembly was ergonomic to reduce strain on workers
  • Dispersing excess heat from the system to avoid damage to components

 

The engagement

 

JAE Automation had previously worked with the manufacturer and was very familiar with their product, production facility, and equipment. As a Trusted Partner, the company engaged JAE Automation for this project.

 

The project was split into two phases. The first included designing, testing, and installing a proof-of-concept in the facility within 8 weeks. Feedback and insights gathered from this unit were incorporated into phase 2, leading to several design changes that were implemented on the final system.

 

The client wanted to work with a local company with expertise in high-speed manufacturing, automation technology, and design. They valued JAE Automation’s understanding of their entire production process and the design-first approach that JAE Automation used to identify improvements and make recommendations.

 

The solution

 

JAE Automation designed and built the mechanical assembly that held the UV LED systems chosen by the manufacturer. The system was built to be easily removed from the machine when not in use, with ergonomic handles intended to make it easier for workers. Feedback from the proof-of-concept led to changes in the location of these handles, and fans were added to the system to cool the units more effectively.

 

In addition, JAE Automation built the control system and then integrated this with the existing machine. The UV LEDs could not turn on unless the machine was moving, and the output of the system would automatically align with the speed of the conveyor to cure the materials without damaging the product or the equipment.

 

Finally, safety systems were developed to automatically shut down the UV LEDs if the machine’s safety system was triggered or if the doors were opened by a worker. Additional shields were installed to prevent leakage and to direct the light toward the product, further reducing the risk for workers.

 

The results

 

The customer received the initial unit on schedule. JAE Automation tested the system at their facility before assisting with the installation at the customer’s site.

 

The UV LED system met the performance requirements of the manufacturer. It bonded the materials together at high speeds, improving the quality of the new products and reducing defect rates. With the system installed, the company could now produce this new product. By working closely with the manufacturer and following a design-first approach, JAE Automation delivered a UV LED system that allowed the company to make things better.

Eric Martin C.E.T.

Eric Martin C.E.T.

Electronic Engineering Technologist, is owner and President of JAE Automation. For over 23 years, Eric’s passion has been about making things, and how to make them better. Since founding JAE Automation in 2000, along with leading his team, Eric has been engaged in automation design for the automotive, consumer goods, food and beverage sectors and many more.